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James Street South Cookery School: Baileys brownies and a tasty jelly with granita

Niall's Baileys Chocolate Brownies can be made with the seasonal favourite Irish cream liqueur – or without, if baking for kids

AFTER you've recovered from Christmas, it can always be a great idea to have dishes prepared for unexpected guests. The two dishes I have this week are fantastic to make with the kids or if you are hosting a dinner party for friends.

To use up the last of the Baileys at Christmas, our Baileys Chocolate Brownies are perfect as a treat for the whole family but also so delicious! I always make a batch for the kids and another for the adults. The Elderflower Jelly With Lime granita never fails to impress people as it looks very chic and professional. It is also an incredibly light dessert making sure no-one feels too full after dinner. This is a firm favourite for a party as it is a classic cocktail food.

BAILEYS BROWNIES

(Makes 6-8)

225g dark chocolate with at least 55 per cent cocoa, chopped up

200g butter, sliced at room temperature

4 eggs

130g caster sugar

125g plain flour

For the Baileys syrup:

1 vanilla pod, split lengthways

½ orange, zested

½ lemon, zested

¼ teasp ground nutmeg

¼ teasp ground cinnamon

50g caster sugar

50ml Baileys Original Irish Cream

You make these in the same way you would make ordinary brownies and if, like me, you have children at home you can double up the quantities and make a batch with the Baileys and a batch without.

Start by preheating the oven to 170C. Grease a baking tray with butter to ensure it removes well once baked. Place a saucepan of water on the hob and place a heatproof bowl on top. Bring to a gentle simmer and place the chocolate and butter in this together. Keep an eye on it as it can become claggy and unuseable. Stir occasionally and remove from the heat once melted.

In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and sugar for two minutes; sift in the plain flour and whisk again. Add in the chocolate mix and stir using a wooden spoon.

Spoon the mixture into a baking tray. Bake for approximately 25 minutes and remove once this time has lapsed.

To make the Baileys syrup to add to the brownies, split the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into a saucepan. Add in the orange and lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar, mixing with 50ml water. Set on the hob and leave to simmer once boiled for a couple of minutes. Add in the Baileys and stir.

Using a clean paintbrush (we tend to use paint brushes for pastry work in the kitchen), brush over the mixture until the brownie is nicely coated. Leave to cook and, once soaked through, cut into equal portions. This can be quite rich so small, bite-size portions are adequate.

ELDERFLOWER JELLY WITH LIME GRANITA

(Serves 6)

For the jelly:

4 leaves of gelatine

150ml elderflower cordial concentrate

450ml water (this can be changed to cava or prosecco)

For the granita:

100ml elderflower cordial concentrate

350ml water

3 limes zested and juiced

To dress:

Fresh mint leaves

Start by soaking the gelatine in a little cold water, just enough to soften the gelatine and no longer than 15 minutes. In a saucepan, place the elderflower cordial and heat gently. Add in the water and gelatine leaves once they have become soft and keep on a gentle heat until the gelatine has dissolved. At this point you can taste and add a little more cordial if you prefer a stronger taste.

Pour this mixture into the serving glass – at the restaurant we use small water glasses which are easy to eat out of with a teaspoon. Place the glasses in the fridge for the jelly to set.

To make the granita, place all the ingredients into a plastic container suitable for the freezer. Once all ingredients are in, stir well and place in freezer. Stir periodically – you do not want the mix to freeze like ice but to be like slightly crushed ice. After approximately two hours it should be set enough to use.

Remove the jelly from the fridge, place the granita on top and garnish with a mint leaf to serve.

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