Konditor and Cook. From their fantastic mince pies to their tangy Black Gingerbread, their shops shops really are a sight for work-weary eyes. I could write a post on pretty much any one of their cakes (yes I have tried most of them...) but I'm here to tell you about their amazing brownies.
Now, a good brownie is a welcome treat at any time but Konditor & Cook's brownies are quite simply in a league of their own: chewy with just the right amount of crispiness on the top and, most importantly, supremely chocolatey. The plain brownies would be good enough on their own but there's so much more on offer than that. The Boston Brownies are full of lovely cranberries that give a welcome tartness to cut through the chocolate; the Curly Wurly Brownies are based on the same concept as the bakery's famed Curly Wurly Cake, a delicious mixture of chocolate and cream cheese; but my real favourite is the unfortunate and somewhat inexplicably titled Fudgepacker Brownie (given the exact etymology of that particular piece of slang I'm assuming it may have lost something in translation for the German owner of the bakery). Name aside, these brownies are the business. Hidden pieces of fudge are scattered throughout the gooey chocolateyness (is that a real word? If it isn't it should be) and the top is slathered in the most delicious fudgey salted caramel which has to be tasted to be believed. The combination is completely heavenly.
Popping into Konditor and Cook for lunch each day is an act of willpower: fair enough they do lovely proper hot food and delicious soups - perfect for the freezing temperatures we're currently experiencing here in London - but getting out without purchasing some kind of sweet scrumptiousness is a feat I find myself incapable of living up to most days.
On those occasions I try and limit myself to a mince pie on the grounds that they're largely fruit (...) but when it's particularly cold and I know I've got a long difficult afternoon/evening of work ahead of me, a brownie is just what I need to see me through. Sitting alongside my sad polystyrene cup of rooibos it may not look like an afternoon tea break; but my goodness it certainly tastes like one.