I thought you might need this recipe for your picnic today, perhaps?
I’ve been told I make the best brownies. You can decide for yourself. These are easy and delicious, but it is always about the quality of the ingredients you use. And that goes for cooking anything! I try to use the BEST chocolate I can get my hands on, Mexican vanilla, which I adore, (I bought several bottles of it when we were on a family vacation there. People go there all the time, so ask your friends to bring you back a bottle if they’re going. It’s easy to find, they even sell it at the airport!), high quality unsalted butter and the freshest walnuts. (Keep your nuts well wrapped in ziplock bags in the freezer and they will never go rancid.)
It is important to melt your chocolate and butter together, but not completely. Remove from the microwave with still some chunks of chocolate and stir rapidly. They will finish melting on their own and you will not have hurt the chemical composition of the butter and chocolate by overheating. In my relatively new microwave, I do two rounds of 30 seconds on high heat and stir in between. But not all microwaves are the same. You may want to do two rounds at a lower power setting.
Two are two other important things to remember. Beat well after adding each egg. After adding the second egg, beat to achieve a shiny look and consistency and then beat in your salt thoroughly. The last thing you add is the flour, nuts and vanilla, and you don’t want to beat too much when mixing that in. The other important thing to remember is to not over bake them. 22 – 25 minutes is perfect in my oven. Baking them too long will not give you the soft, luscious, fudgey interior.
– makes 16
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate (I use Scharffen Berger), cut into chunks
8 tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus a little more for greasing pan, cut into tablespoons
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt (French grey salt is the best)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine chocolate and butter in a medium bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove and stir and decide whether to microwave for another 30 seconds or keep stirring until all of the chocolate is melted and the mixture is silky smooth. Meanwhile, butter an 8 1/2-inch-square baking pan.
Stir the sugar into the chocolate mixture. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add your pinch of salt and beat until shiny and smooth. Add flour, vanilla and walnuts and stir to incorporate – no traces of flour should remain, but do not over stir.
Pour batter mixture into pan, and smooth out evenly. Bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until set and barely firm in the middle. Cool on a rack before cutting into 16 squares.
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