This week was slated to be a chocolate week in anticipation of Valentine’s Day. But to be perfectly honest after Superbowl Sunday and all the nibbling, I was dreading a week of desserts. That explains my delay in getting the first post up this late in the week.
So let’s get to it.
I have tried scratch brownie recipes before. Their chocolate flavor is beyond anything you can get from a boxed mix. But often they resulted in a fudge-like brownie or simply fell short of satisfying that need for the perfect mix of chewy chocolate goodness. So when I ran into two similar recipes in two of my oldest cookbooks (from the 1970′s) – both called for mixing everything in the saucepan used to melt the butter and chocolate – I decided one of them was going into this week’s posts. Of course I had to pick the one with the unnecessary, but always welcomed, addition of chocolate chips.
Did you know the best way to cut a brownie is with a plastic knife? It makes the cleanest cut without any sticking, but with the addition of nuts there is the occasional crumbled edge. Try it!
As is usually the case, I perused the food sites (Foodgawker, Tastespotting and Tasteologie) beforehand to see what everyone was making and hoped that my choices would be different. Low and behold, I saw stacks of walnut-studded brownies all over the place. It couldn’t be a mere coincidence that I was on the same wave-length with numerous other bloggers. Sure enough my yet unopened February Bon Appetit magazine was the culprit, and who in their right mind wouldn’t be tempted by the lure of Alice Medrich’s Browned Butter Cocoa Walnut Brownies that graced the cover? Good grief…I never pass up anything with browned butter.
But what this showed was all three of the recipes before me were essentially the same, with slight adjustments here and there. Proof that the only change in nearly 40 years of brownie baking, is the person making them.
CHOCOLATE CHIP BROWNIES
Recipe adapted from California Heritage Continues
So here I go, tossing my hat into the ring with a chocolate brownie replete with chocolate chips and walnuts. Wow! If you’re a chocolate lover, this is the brownie for you. It’s a simple recipe that yields a small batch of decadent, melt-in-your mouth brownies. Don’t let the weight of the entire batch deceive you. These brownies are actually fairly light in texture. I tweaked the recipe slightly by cutting back on the amount of sugar and decreasing the number of eggs (because I use extra-large eggs and the recipe called for large eggs). Next time I make these, I will play around with the amount of butter. I’d like to see if the texture becomes a little more chewy with less butter. These are pretty darn good just as they are.
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 extra large eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 teaspoons vanilla (I used Mexican vanilla – my favorite)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup powdered sugar for topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the flour, salt, and vanilla. Add nuts and chocolate chips. Pour into a foil-lined and greased 9-inch square baking pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Do not over bake. Brownies should be very moist. Cool in the pan. Lift foil and brownies out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Carefully peel away foil. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired and cut into squares. Makes 9-16 brownies.
- Lining the pan with foil is not necessary, but I chose to do so to avoid the disaster that seems to result when serving the first brownie. It also makes for easy clean up. I used 2 pieces of foil and securely fitted one horizontally and the other vertically to insure total coverage of the sides and bottom and then sprayed with oil. You could butter the foil as well.
- I am not normally a nut-in-the-brownie kind of girl, but I used them this time for the purpose of the photographs. As a result, you will need to enlist the help of a serrated knife to cut these brownies. Following my plastic knife tip above still works but occasional crumbles from the nuts resulted.
- I used the toothpick test to check if the brownies were done and mine were done at 30 minutes.