Thursday, November 23, 2006

Staff Motivation

When the Horse Doctor went for an interview a few months back to see if she might get on the company management fast-track training bollocks, she was asked, among other questions, how she motivated her staff. Over the years, she's tried several methods, though not yet the one employed by one of our former colleagues, who would hide under her desk and cry. The most successful motivational technique so far is bribery. And not just anything will do. In fact, there is only one unfailingly successful method and I outline it below.*

Line a suitable baking tray with greaseproof paper** and preheat the oven to gas mark 4. This is important.

In a large saucepan, melt together 375 grams of unsalted butter and 400 grams of the darkest, most evil chocolate you can find. If you're going to use something less than 70% cocoa solids, then forget it - this recipe's not for milky types. When the butter and chocolate have melted into a nice smooth mixture, take the pan off the heat and let it cool a little.

Weigh five hundred grams of light brown sugar into a bowl. Add a tablespoon of vanilla extract (not flavouring - see note above about using cheap chocolate. I'll know if you cheat, and I'll be round) and six large eggs. Stir until all is a crunchy, semi-dissolved mess.

In another bowl, measure out 220 grams of plain flour, and add to them a pinch of salt. Sift the flour if it's very lumpy, otherwise don't bother.

Pour the eggy, sugary mixture into the buttery, chocolately goodness (this is why you needed a large saucepan - if you didn't listen earlier on you're going to make a horrid mess here) and mix well, tipping the floury, salty stuff into the mess and stirring until all is smooth and lovely. Mmmm.

Pour into the lined baking tin*** and whack in the oven, near the top. Let it bake for half an hour or so, checking from time to time. It should rise up, then go dry and slightly lighter in colour on the top. If you prod it at this point, it may well wobble a bit underneath the crust, but that's OK - you want the middle to be gooey and it will carry on cooking as it cools down.

If you think it's done, remove from the oven and put on a rack to cool.

Once cooled, cut into as many or as few pieces as you see fit. I can get 40 out of my tin, and they may look small, but they pack a powerful punch.****

Put about half of the pieces in a greaseproof paper lined container and take to the office. Your staff will do almost anything you want for you if you bribe them with chocolate brownies.

* OK, so the Horse Doctor only does the last in this list of actions - I make the actual brownies. It still works.
** I do a weird origami folding thing which makes a single piece of baking parchment fit neatly into a square sided tin, coming up to the edges, but I'd be the first to admit to being a bit anally retentive in that respect.
**** At this point you can lick the mixing spoon and saucepan, but be aware there are uncooked eggs in the mixture. Also it's likely you'll feel a little sick if you eat it all.
**** You'll notice there are no nuts in these brownies.***** This is intentional. If you want to add them, you can. But you'll not get anything like the same response from your staff. Adding chocolate chips just before pouring the mixture, on the other hand, may have them doing just a little too much for you.
***** And I should acknowledge Nigella Lawson for this recipe, though I've played around with it a bit, as usual.


Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

Great. I've gone the whole day without chocolate...

November 24, 2006 2:15 am  
Blogger Vincent said...

Mmm, brains... err, I mean brownies.

November 24, 2006 8:31 am  

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