Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Double Chocolate Nut Brownies


My mom made these brownies for the first time fourteen-some years ago, back when I was attending high school instead of teaching it. My older brother, Justin, was a freshman in college at the time and frequently got care packages from both Mom and Nanna. Dessert was pretty much always included.




These brownies were featured in one of those care packages, and, boy, did they make an impression. Not only because of their incredible fudge-y texture, but also because of their reception. See, Justin's roommate sampled the brownies while Justin was out and, as college roommates are apt to do, left a note on their whiteboard about it. The memorable part about all this: he described the brownies as "orgasmic."



When Justin told my mom what a hit the brownies were and read the note to her, my mom's embarrassed blush rivaled her pleased smile. For months after, this became a running joke in our family and a surefire way to get my mom to blush. After all this time, the nickname kind of stuck...


Names aside, these brownies are pretty awesome. They're dense and chewy and studded with morsels of chocolate and nuts. I think they're best after they've chilled in the fridge for a bit. They're somehow more fudge-like when cold. Anyway you like them though, these brownies are sure to please.


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Double Chocolate Nut Brownies
Adapted from Ghirardelli 

Yield: 15 2-inch squares

Prep Time: 10 minutes; Bake Time: 18-22 minutes

2 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon table salt or 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (or nut of choice) 
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (or 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 13x9 pan; set aside.  

Whisk together eggs with sugar and vanilla; add butter. In a separate bowl, sift cocoa with flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in egg mixture; fold in nuts and chocolate. 

Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 18-22 minutes; edges will be set and the top will be crackly, but the very center will still look slightly wet. Once cool, cut into squares. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Notes:
-For thicker and extra-chewy brownies, use an 8-inch square pan. 
-For more cake-like brownies, bake until a toothpick comes out cleanly, about 25-30 minutes. 

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