Guest chef

Natalie Seldon

Natalie is an award-winning food writer, author, cook, and food and prop stylist who's recently published her debut cookbook, The Goodness Of Nuts & Seeds (Kyle Books, £9.99). In her eyes, a home kitchen is a place of creative, enjoyable cooking, which should be simple, fresh and tasty!

Maple-bacon and pecan brownies

  • Makes 16 squares
  • Prep 20 mins
  • Total time 35 mins, plus cooling
4.7/5 rating (3 votes)
Maple-bacon and pecan brownies
Maple-bacon and pecan brownies

step by step

  • 1Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm square cake tin. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Toast the pecans in the oven for 8 minutes, then cool and roughly chop.Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm square cake tin. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Toast the pecans in the oven for 8 minutes, then cool and roughly chop.
  • 2Meanwhile, chop the bacon lardons into smaller pieces and fry them in a nonstick pan, stirring occasionally, until really crisp. Add the maple syrup, stir to coat the bacon, then tip into a bowl along with all the pan juices. Set aside until needed.
  • 3Sift the cocoa powder, flour and ground almonds into a bowl. In a medium-sized pan, melt the butter and sugar together over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the cocoa mixture and vanilla and stir together until combined. Add the eggs and stir again to mix.
  • 4Add the cooked bacon lardons plus their pan juices, reserving a few to decorate the top, plus the dark chocolate pieces and pecans. Carefully fold together until the mixture is smooth and equally distributed. Pour into your prepared tin, smoothing the surface with a palette knife or the back of a spoon. Scatter the surface with the reserved bacon lardons.
  • 5Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the top forms a crust and the middle is still slightly gooey (adjust the time depending on the desired consistency – remember the brownies will carry on cooking for a little once the cake tin leaves the oven, so remove when an inserted skewer comes out a little sticky). Cool in the tin for 30 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into squares to serve.
  • Photograph by Martin Poole

Get ahead

The brownies keep for 3-4 days in a sealed container in the fridge, or can be frozen.

You will need

  • 150g salted butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
  • 75g pecans
  • 160g smoked bacon lardons
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 75g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 125g plain flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 250g light brown soft sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 75g dark chocolate, about 75% cocoa solids, chopped into small pieces

+ Nutritional Information