Recipes by the Reel, Great Food from Films!

In installment two, Welcome back to another installment in my series, Recipes by the Reel.

The movie Notting Hill remains one of my favorite rom coms, as evidenced by the fact it’s still on my PVR, staying put, while other films (i.e. Passengers) get deleted to make room for new stuff. But Notting Hill has a place of honor. For one thing, I remember seeing it in the theater with other people. But mostly because Notting Hill still has a romance that rings true enough and also sparked me to invent another recipe by the reel.

My recipe for Notting Hill Brownies has been downloaded about 36,000 times or so on my website Betterbaking.com and is also in my cookbook (The Best of BetterBaking.com) where it is (in my own copy) stained and smudged with chocolate, butter and vanilla, a testament to how many times I’ve made the recipe. Where did the inspiration come from? There’s a dinner table scene in Notting Hill. Gathered around said dinner table, a last gourmet brownie for dessert is auctioned off to the most ‘deserving’ guest’s sob story. In the scene, the characters (Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant) compete to determine whose life is more miserable and needs the reward of last brownie. That prop brownie was not only luscious looking it was enormous! I just had to replicate the look and reproduce the implied fudgy decadence to go with it. I think I did it! My Notting Hill Brownies are high and dense, chewy but not like chocolate sludge or mud so that it sticks in your throat (hate those brownies — whoever said those are good?). These feature nice crackly tops and don’t need icing.


Marcy Goldman’s
Notting Hill Brownies

2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2 cups unsalted butter — melted and cooled
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cup cocoa
3/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 by 13 inch pan lightly with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment paper and place pan on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

In a mixer bowl, blend melted butter with white and brown sugars, then add vanilla and eggs. Blend well on slow speed two minutes. In a separate bowl, stir together cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt. Fold dry ingredients into batter and blend well, scraping bottom of mixing bowl to ensure ingredients are evenly combined about 2 minutes. Spoon into prepared pan.

Bake until done — 35–40 minutes; brownies will be set and slightly firm but not dry.

Cut into large blocks (about 2 1/2 by 3 inches). Wrap each in wax paper and keep frozen or refrigerated. To serve for a party, pile brownies on a platter and dust with confectioner’s sugar. Great served with a scoop of ice cream on top and chocolate syrup. Otherwise just slice off a hunk and enjoy. (Keep these covered in foil and refrigerated)

Makes 18–24, depending on how you cut them

Written by

Cookbook Author, Master Baker, Writer, contributer to Huffington, Washington Post, PBS Next Avenue. Find me and betterbaking.com.

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