New Levels of Chocolate

New Levels of Chocolate

Will Torrent

When I did Alpha, I found eating together as a group such a powerful symbol, getting to know people, and making new friends

The Recipe

The humble brownie has escalated in years gone by into the must-have product in any and every café, pâtisserieor restaurant. I think we love it because it is just so versatile as a dessert – enjoy it hot with ice cream, chilled and fudgy from the fridge, topped with ganache or simply dusted with icing sugar or cocoa powder. And best of all there isn’t that much washing up at the end!


150 g hazelnuts
175 g maple syrup
225 g dark chocolate, chopped
150 g unsalted butter
150 g soft dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
a large pinch sea salt flakes
125 g plain flour
a 20 x 30-cm baking pan, greased and lined with buttered baking parchment


Makes 16–20 squares
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.
Tip the hazelnuts onto the prepared baking sheet. Toast the nuts on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 6–8 minutes until crisp and starting to become golden. Remove from the oven and set aside for 3–4 minutes to cool, then roughly chop.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan or pot of simmering water. Stir until smooth, remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly for 2–3 minutes.
Mix the sugar and maple syrup into the melted chocolate mixture and stir until silky smooth.

Add the eggs, vanilla and salt. Mix again to combine, taking care not to over beat the mixture.
Sift in the flour and fold in, using either a rubber spatula or large metal spoon.

Stir through half of the roasted hazelnuts, then pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan.

Scatter with the remaining roasted hazelnuts.
Bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 25 - 30 minutes, until the top has a light crust but the middle is still soft to the touch.Remove from the oven and set aside to cool before cutting into squares to serve.

The brownies will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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Decoding Alpha // Alex's Story

Decoding Alpha // Alex's Story

Hear from Alex Wood in Portsmouth about his journey from trying Alpha, invited by a housemate to using it as a key tool in church planting.

We wanted to talk to Alex about what his top tips and tricks are, debunking the myths of what is takes to run a successful Alpha.


Who is Alex?

Alex became a Christian on Alpha at HTB in 2007. He’d been living and working in London for a few years after graduating from university and a friend invited him to Try Alpha. He went along expecting to disprove christianity but experienced quite the opposite.



After being selected to train for ordination in the church of England, Alex moved to Brighton where he worked at St Peter’s, and studied at St Mellitus College in London. After five years at St Peter's he and his wife, Liz, relocated to Portsmouth with their two daughters to start a brand new church plant named Harbour Church.



Based in the heart of the city, Harbour Church is located in an old department store on the High Street. They run a social enterprise coffee shop on the ground level whilst the church is spread over the three floors above. 

Alina's Story

Alina's Story

Alina's experience of Alpha and how it played a part in her journey of faith.