I’ve been using the same delicious brownie recipe for 20 years. I know that statement makes me sound like an old crone, so I should clarify that I started making homemade brownies as a pimply teenager, shedding tears over mean middle school boys while being hypnotized by the sensuous beauty of chocolate slowly melting into butter. Those brownies were rich, fudgy and decadent, and although I tried other recipes over the years, I never found one worthy of replacing our family brownie recipe, until this week, when I got the latest issue of Bon Appetit.
The brownies were right on the cover, in a mouth-watering tower. Only the chunky walnuts marred their perfection. I actually did a quick Twitter poll, asking how people feel about nuts in brownies. The answer was almost unanimous. Most people think adding nuts to brownies are a crime. I completely agree, crunchy nuts just take away from the chocolate.
|Caught this brownie thief red-handed.|
The recipe is easy to whip up. You can have a warm pan of brownies on the table in 35 minutes.
The brownies are rich and intensely fudgy, perfect to cut into tiny bites of chocolate bliss. Unlike my original brownie recipe, this one uses cocoa powder instead of melting chocolate as the base, but it still sends tendrils of chocolate smells up throughout the house, combined with the betwitching aroma of browned butter. This recipe makes a very small batch, and I had to make it twice to have enough to bring to my book club and have a few leftover for the kids and these pictures.
After making the recipe plain a few times, I had the urge to experiment by adding bits of Skor candy bars. They melted but gave the brownies a hint of toffee and sweet almonds. Seems like a nice compromise to put to bed that whole nuts in brownies debate.
Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Skor Chunks (Adapted from Bon Appetit Feb 2011)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 to 30 minutes
10 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups of sugar
3/4 cups of unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Scharffen Berger – this is worth experimenting with as each cocoa tastes so different)
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour
3 Skor Candy Bars, smashed into tiny chunks
2 teaspoons of water
1/4 teaspoons of salt
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line an 8x8x2 baking pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang. Spray the foil with a non-stick cooking spray or rub with butter. (This foil trick is so neat. No more messy looking brownies stuck in the pan. Revolutionary.)
- Melt the butter in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form on the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes. Watch it closely. You do not want the browned bits to burn. Use your nose and smell the butter. You want it to smell a little nutty, not burnt.
- Remove from heat and add sugar, water, cocoa, vanilla, and salt. Stir until blended then leave the mixture to cool for 5 minutes.
- Add eggs to mixture one at a time, stirring vigorously with a rubber spatula after each addition until shiny and smooth.
- Now add the flour and stir until blended.
- Stir in the Skor chunks.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Begin checking at 20 minutes. Note that the Skor candy chunks added 10 minutes of cooking time to these brownies. If you’re leaving them out, the brownies will be done pretty close to 20 minutes.
- Cool on rack then remove by pulling out the foil. Enjoy! These stay moist and delicious in an airtight container for up to a week.