Brownies – Usborne Cakes & Cookies for Beginners

I made these brownies using one of the children’s cookbooks I’d picked up over the years to encourage my boys to cook – Cakes and Cookies for beginners (Usborne Cookbooks). It’s a slim little volume covering some very easy cakes and some more challenging options. I did use it at the time but I can’t remember what recipes I’ve tried with my boys. It is very well illustrated with pictures of every step beside the words and some excellent pages at the front explaining baking terms such as creaming, sift etc.

The brownies were good, chocolatey and chewy (although Jon feels they are not as good as his sister Rachel’s brownies). Surprisingly for a children’s recipe you need to melt the fat in a pan and you need to chop nuts. For young children I would avoid both, however this recipe is straightforward enough to be a good recipe for older children/teens to make.


  • 175g (6oz) margarine (I used Stork)
  • 350g (12oz) caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g (4oz) plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 75g (3oz) cocoa
  • 175g (6oz) walnuts or pecans


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/Gas Mark 4
  2. Grease and line a 9 x 12in traybake tin
  3. Melt the margarine in a pan on a low heat. Pour into a large mixing bowl, then add sugar and vanilla essence and mix well
  4. Break eggs into a small bowl and beat them, add them to the large bowl a little at a time and beat well
  5. Sift flour, baking powder and coca into the mixing bowl and mix well
  6. Chop nuts into small pieces, add them to brownie mixture and mix well
  7. Pour brownie mixture into the tray and smooth the top with a spoon (it is quite shallow don’t worry)
  8. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, the brownies are ready  when they have risen and have formed a crust on top. They should still be soft in the middle
  9. Leave the brownies in the tin for 5 minutes then cut into squares. leave on a wire rack to cool.

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