Tag Archives: ghosts

Triple Chocolate Brownies with Marshmallow Ghosts

Marshmallow smores ghosts sat on top of rich dark chocolate brownies with milk and white chocolate chips

 

My friend’s recent virtual baby shower left me craving brownies after she received not one but two packs of Gower Kitchen Brownies. So obviously I had to make my own the next time I had the slightest excuse, cue these death by chocolate but very cute at the same time ghost brownies that the kids and I made for Halloween. They were a really easy Halloween bake with kids, but at the same time looked pretty cool on the table for a Halloween party.

Ingredients

185g butter

185g dark chocolate (I used 70% cocoa)

3 eggs

275g caster sugar

85g plain flour

40g cocoa powder

50g white chocolate

50g milk chocolate

White marshmallows

Edible pen/icing

Red food colouring

 

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to gas mark 4 and grease and line a brownie tin/rectangular baking tray
  2. Melt the dark chocolate and butter together over a very gentle heat (I used a double boiler method with a plastic mixing bowl and a saucepan of boiled water) you want it to melt but without getting it so hot that it burns, or retains it’s heat and knocks the air out of your egg mixture. Chop the white and milk chocolate while you wait.
  3. Cream together the eggs and sugar until they’ve fluffed up to double their original size, an electric whisk makes short work of this.
  4. When the eggs are fluffy and the chocolatey butter has cooled, fold these gently together until they have a uniform colour.
  5. Sieve and fold the plain flour and cocoa powder into the butter mixture, then stir through the chopped milk and white chocolate.
  6. Tip all of this in your cake tin and bake for 20-30 mins (depending on your tin size, keep checking until you’re happy that it’s cooked through) then allow to cool completely.
  7. When the brownies have cooked and cooled completely, remove them from the tin and cut into squares.
  8. Using the edible markers or icing pens, draw simple ghost faces on your marshmallows.
  9. Put two marshmallows and a quarter of a teaspoon of water in a microwavable bowl and cook on full power for twenty seconds, add a drop of red food colouring gel (or green, ectoplasm slime could be cool…)to this and whisk together to make a glue.
  10. Dip the marshmallow ghosts into the glue, then pop them on top of the brownies.

Her Fearful Symmetry- Audrey Niffenegger

Identical twins scare people. Think The Shining. Julia and Valentina Poole are even more disconcerting, because, far from being mere identical twins, they are mirror twins, each a perfect reflection of the other- even beneath their skin. At twenty years old they do everything together; watch television, go out, eat… even drop out of college. The desires of the individuals are sacrificed to meet the needs of the unit. The sisters couldn’t be closer.

However, when their mother’s mirror twin dies in London, a woman the twins have never heard of, let alone met, she leaves the sisters all her possessions in her will on the condition that their parents are never allowed to enter her flat.

Desperate for adventure, the sisters move to her flat, an antiquarian’s dream overlooking Highgate Cemetery, forces neither twin could imagine begin to drive a wedge between them. Throw in a crossword setter who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and a man more at ease with the dead than the living and you have another excellent novel from the best-selling author of The Time Traveller’s Wife.

As anyone who has read The Time Traveller’s Wife knows, Niffenegger is bringing Magic Realism into the main stream with breathtaking stories which focus as much on characters and their relationships than the exceptional circumstances in which they life. Her Fearful Symmetry doesn’t disappoint in this respect, as Niffenegger weaves a modern Gothic Fairytale; crafting her characters with care, exploring their humanity and building drama creating stock heroes and villains. These characters are beautiful and flawed. Sketched on the page in simple black and white words, they are you and me; they are exceptionally vivid.

Niffenegger creates a multi layered story, and though the snaking plot threads are complex enough to ensnare the reader, they never become tangled by the magnitude and otherness of the story. At times, elements of the plot did become predictable in a way that The Time Traveller’s Wife never did but make no mistake, this novel is a great work of fiction and stands alone from its famous older sibling.

If you have no inclination to pick up this brilliant novel, I would recommend reading it for the character of Martin and the Highgate Cemetery Setting alone. The prose is beautiful, the plot well constructed; it was Martin however who simultaneously seemed wholly absurd and wholly alive to me. I’ve actually started to learn to do cryptic crosswords because of his character.

In a similar way, I am already planning a trip to Highgate Cemetery. Niffenegger’s description made me feel like Highgate was a place that I had spent my childhood in, exploring in the brambles yet terrified of the gravestones and mausoleums. Perhaps that’s a sign of a great writer; the ability to make an unknown environment at once familiar and other.

One day I will also visit Highgate and explore the environment I read about with such interest. I wonder if I will see shadows of the characters moving around. I call it New Gothic or Magic Realism (because we all like to label things) but behind the fantasy I almost believe this story could be true.

Read while eating slightly stale digestive biscuits, in a battered only arm chair by the light of a dim and somewhat rusty lamp.