The ideal brownie for student life

Image credit: ABC Open Riverland

P erhaps the best comfort food, these gooey squares of chocolate can be enjoyed at any time of year for any occasion. Everyone’s Grandma has a secret recipe for brownies, some melt chocolate into the mixture, others add walnuts and some choose chocolate chips of all kinds. Some like theirs gooey, others chewy, others more cakelike, but trust me, there is a brownie for everyone. Even the chocolate-haters amongst us (seriously, who are these people?) can find solace in a blondie.

When you need a chocolate hit, a brownie is the best choice, satisfyingly melting in your mouth and giving you a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Whilst the supermarkets do their best to replicate these beauties (shout out to M&S brownie bites), nothing beats a homemade brownie fresh from the oven and eaten straight from the tin with a spoon, still so warm that the chocolate chips burn your tongue. Homemade brownies are a challenge at university, especially in Cambridge where, if, God forbid you ever had a moment spare to bake, the chances of you having an oven are pretty slim. Nevertheless, for the lazier among you (myself included, don’t worry) I have a solution to your number one first-world problem. Mug brownies. Mug brownies are perhaps my favourite food ever. Thank God we don’t have a microwave at home or I swear I would be as big as a house by now.

These little babies can be cooked up in under five minutes, making them the perfect late night snack, or a much-needed sugar rush during that 4-o’clock slump. Flour, sugar, cocoa powder, butter and water, mixed in a mug. Two minutes rotating around inside every student cook’s best friend: the microwave. And there you are. A personal brownie just for you. Top with cream, ice cream, strawberries, caramel sauce, or even nothing – and I assure you, you will not be disappointed. The best thing about these brownies is the amount of diversity.

The original recipe can be changed to your tastes: add an egg for a more fluffy, cakey, result; cook for less or more time depending on how gooey you want it; and as for additional ingredients – the possibilities are endless! Oreos make a great addition for the vegans amongst us (only joking... but in all seriousness margarine instead of butter does make them vegan, and therefore healthy? Right?). Chocolate chips never go amiss, nor do nuts or even berries. M&Ms were the latest I tried, and I certainly would recommend, and go well with a swirl of peanut butter in the mixture too. In one desperate moment I shoved a Freddo whole into the middle, and as hasty as this decision was, I will never regret that beautiful day.

If you’re feeling more adventurous – and you do have an oven – properly baked brownies are just as fun to make. Cooking is great as a destressing activity, and you’ll be the most popular flatmate for weeks. If buying all the ingredients seems a bit unneccesary, make a Rocky Road instead! Crushed digestives, swirled with milk chocolate and raisins or marshmallows, then frozen, is just as indulgent. Leaving some time in the week for cooking can be therapeutic, and will get you your dessert fix too! Overall, my advice to you is; treat yourself. Everyone likes a brownie and now they are so easy to make at home that you won’t have to settle for those pale imitations on offer in the nearest supermarket.

Mug Brownie Recipe:


4 tablespoons plain flour

4 tablespoons caster sugar

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons water

Chocolate chips

Combine ingredients in a mug, and microwave on high for 60-90 seconds.

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