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Christmas Brownies

I make this every year to hand out to teachers and sport coaches. It makes such a great big batch, and they are so delicious with such a lovely Christmas touch to them. Double the brandy and fruit if you want more punch to it. 
Recipe based from the Gourmet Traveller magazine.

Pictured: Christmas Brownies

15ml/ ½ fl oz brandy
50g/1 ¾  oz dried craisins or cranberries
300g/10½oz dark chocolate, broken into chunks
200g/7oz butter
4 eggs
300g/10½oz sugar – I like a mix of caster and brown
200g/7oz plain flour
1 tsp mixed spice
100g/3½oz nuts, roughly chopped – I mix this up too with pecans, almonds, hazelnuts 

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a 30x20cm/12x8in tin with baking paper.
Heat the brandy in a small saucepan, then add the craisins/cranberries and leave to soak.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water (or in the microwave). Stir until smooth then take off the heat and let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar for a few minutes until pale and fluffy.
Whisk the chocolate and butter mix into the eggs then very gently fold in the flour, mixed spice, pecans, fruit and brandy until fully incorporated. You do not want to overwork the flour.
Pour into the prepared tin, smooth into the corners and even the top,  then bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the brownie is just firm to the touch. Do not over-cook as it will dry out and lose the lovely squidginess we are looking for.
Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then place on a wire rack until cooled completely.
Once cool, cut into squares.
For Christmas decorating you can dust the tops with icing sugar, and for extra affect use a Christmas stencil over each square – e.g. mistletoe or a bell..

Makes 20 large squares
Pictured: Presents- Christmas Brownies