Chocolate chestnut brownies

Dan Lepard’s Chocolate Chestnut Brownies

I like the chocolate part very much, moussey and light in texture, just lovely in fact! However the freshly roasted chestnuts might have been the wrong thing to use, Dan Lepard specifies tinned ones in the recipe – I think I would leave them out altogether and just use the brownie part as a delectable chocolate dessert with lots of icecream. I think my taste buds don’t register chestnuts in desserts; they become strangely tasteless once they are combined with sugar. I am not too keen on them in bread either.

In my heart of hearts I really only like chestnuts straight from the shell, with some salt and black pepper and maybe a dab of butter. They’re good with sprouts and bacon at Christmas and I would like to try Azelia’s soup which has shitake mushrooms and lentils in it as well as chestnuts and sounds savoury and delicious.

20 thoughts on “Chocolate chestnut brownies

  1. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    My brownies were very moussey indeed – almost had to be spooned from the tin, although much better after they’d chilled completely in the fridge. I thought it might be that I boiled the chestnuts too long (I was using dried), or my eggs might have been too big. Having said that, I loved the flavour of chestnuts and rum and dark chocolate – scrumptious combo. I do love chestnuts, but don’t have a lot of takers here. I think they’d be lovely in soup too!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I think it’s my taste buds, seriously, I can’t pick out the taste of the chestnuts in the cake. I have the same with that Mont Blanc chestnut puree pudding, I just get a very mild sweet sort of taste – so I think it’s me :)

  2. Choclette

    Joanna, I’d like to say these look delicious, but I can only imagine what they might look like as I can see no picture! I’ve just had a look at Dan’s recipe and I think I’m going to have to make these, but if I do will try chestnut puree I think. I really like chestnut in cakes, but not sure I like the idea of lumps of them. On another tack, chestnut and mushroom pie is very nice indeed.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Oh dear, I started this post as a quick ‘aside’ and then I realised that the ‘aside’ category doesn’t seem to show photos, so I have changed it, did you click on a link in a subscription email, sometimes that goes to a phantom earlier page. If you reload my blog page can you see the picture then? It is there. I’ll add it here in case you can’t see it in the main post. Sorry Choclette! I like the sound of that pie, mushrooms and chestnuts sound so autumnal and ‘right’ as a combination :)
      that brownie again

    2. minadott

      Sorry to butt in, but based on my baking of these I do not think I would use puree…I think you might wind up with a soggy mess…I want to try walnuts next time…something about the chestnuts just seemed wrong…. but the brownie part was lovely

      1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

        It would take tweaking of the ingredient list wouldn’t it? Reduce butter and chocolate and replace with purée maybe? I rarely dabble with cake ingredients, have a hard enough time with them as they are! :)

        1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

          I had roast chestnuts tonight and closed my eyes and just tried to ‘taste’ them and I think they just taste sweet and soft and well… that’s it. I think I eat them because I like peeling them :)

  3. heidiannie

    I like the look of your brownies, but agree on the chestnuts.
    I add chestnuts to my Thanksgiving dressing/stuffing and love them- and in a soup- but I don’t like them in sweet cakes.
    They taste mealy when I’m looking for a crunch in sugar based recipes.

  4. azélias kitchen

    mmmm…chocolate! I made a sweet recipe must be now 20 years ago using chestnuts and never used them in sweets desserts again yet I love chestnuts.

    I find chestnuts loose their flavour as soon as you mixed them with other strong flavours, including in the soup I made, especially using such a small amount, but the soup does taste different without them. I saw Dan twitting that recipe which caught my attention but I am a die hard when it comes to mixing chocolate with other flavours especially in things like brownies – love my chocolate pure and wicked :)

    However having spoken of my dislike for chestnuts in sweet recipes I can’t wait to try the Portuguese chestnut cake my Portuguese blogger friend Moira is doing next week, I’ve wanted to make a chestnut cake since last winter. And I always thought I should come up with an idea for chestnut flour but haven’t yet!

    At this time of the day Joanna that piece you have there would be so welcome with a cup!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Well, I’m definitely going to try your soup. I haven’t got shitake mushrooms yet, only porcini in the cupboard which are stronger flavoured so bearing in mind your comments I will hold on till I get some shitake :)

  5. cityhippyfarmgirl

    I can’t think of any time I would have cooked with chestnuts, so no opinion from me on them…but the brownie does look delicious Joanna. “Moussey, light in texture and lots of icecream”…how could it go wrong.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Once upon a time I was in Edmonton, Canada in early May. The grass was brown, nothing was growing in the cold state of Alberta at that time. They have a conservatory there, the Muttart, four pyramids accessed from underground tunnels, each with different temperature zones. In one I found Europe and a chestnut tree in bloom, moist air, sweet scent, ah. And the point of this? I realised then that some trees really don’t grow everywhere. Chestnuts have a literary status in England, probably something to do with Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol, amongst others. You read the words roast chestnuts, and it’s nostalgia shorthand time; when I was a child my grandfather would buy us, in a very Victorian way, a small brown paper packet of roast chestnuts from the vendors on the corner at Leicester Square; impossible to eat, they were so charred, but they kept your hands warm on a cold December day.

  6. azélias kitchen

    Do you think so? Shiitake fresh are not as strongly flavoured as fresh porcini I think but dried shiitake mushrooms are strongly flavoured. The first batch I made I could taste the shiitake for sure coming through. The second batch I used mixed mushroom pack containing porcini, shiitake and oyster…..mmm…you’ve made me think now…this will get filed away in the back of my brain ’til some date later.

    Either way both porcini and shiitake are full umami, not sure with respect to porcini but I know from shiitake it’s in the dried form where you get the umami, it’s the drying process that allows a compound to form and create this.

    By the way every time I post on here I can see that naughty photo you have of the Pasteis de Nata, you have that burnt tops just right you know, most forget that.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I’ve had both fresh at some point, but a long long time ago and I have no idea about dried shitake vs dried porcini. In my taste memory porcini are much more intensely flavoured than shitake but you’re right I’m thinking about fresh ones!

      you have that burnt tops just right you know

      Azélia I think I love you ;)

  7. Suelle

    I too would hesitate to swap the chestnut pieces for purée, unless you really have a lot of experience with adjusting recipes. The brownies are barely solid as it is, so adding more liquid could really mess things up.

    My OH couldn’t taste any flavour in the chestnuts either – perhaps they are one of those odd foods which don’t taste the same to everyone.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      ‘perhaps they are one of those odd foods which don’t taste the same to everyone.’

      Like coriander? That was my thought too Suelle. I did like the brownies though and I am enjoying eating them as is my waistline :)

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