Happy new year, everyone! How fast did 2014 zoom past?! I actually feel a bit like I accomplished nothing the past year because of the way I constantly lost track of time. I have a lot of high hopes for this year though, mostly in the way of personal productivity and improvement. And not to get all superstitious on you or anything, but they say the way you start the year is the mood you will set for the rest of it. And if any of that is true then I’m starting this year with a bang.
I’ve said before that I’m not exactly the biggest brownie fiend, but I have to say it’s been a pretty strange twist of events that has led me to this point today, wherein I finally say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I FREAKIN’ LOVE THESE BROWNIES. These are the best brownies I’ve ever eaten. Even better than Baked’s brownies I shared here some time ago, but that’s just my opinion.
If I hadn’t declared it “official” before then I am about to declare it right now: David Lebovitz is a genius. How can every single recipe of his I’ve ever tried come out not just good, but supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? (Isn’t the fact that I typed that whole word proof enough??!) You know how there are instances when you cook from the same chef’s cookbooks but there are still inconsistencies here and there? The decent recipes make up majority of the pages, but sometimes there are meh recipes and the brilliant ones are few and far between. That sort of roller coaster hasn’t happened to me with David so far. Every recipe of his I’ve made thus far I have loved with gusto. He’s my best buddy.
I mean, I wish.
He has the power to make me love brownies. I have to say, that’s something!
One of the things I love the most about these brownies is the way they look. I love it when brownies have that sheet of crunchy shell on top. They look so good with that, so appealing and inviting.
But the real test remains to be the experience of eating it. To sum up how I feel about these brownies, it’s kind of like being attracted to someone at first sight because of the way they look, but once you get to know them better you realize that you are actually falling in love with them. Guess that means I’ve fallen in love with brownies thanks to these?
To be completely honest, my only regret when I baked these was cutting the amount of walnuts I added in half. I thought since my brothers didn’t like walnuts so much that I should keep a light hand on them. But man the difference is alarming when you bite into this brownie and there are walnut bits inside. That’s another weird thing– I used to hate walnuts.
I guess it’s a testament to how time can bring about change– eventually the things you used to dislike become the things you actually enjoy. If you had asked me five years before, I wouldn’t have told you that I think walnuts in my brownies are essential. In fact, I would’ve probably said something like… ‘YUCK. Remove them walnuts!’ Now I eat walnuts fresh out of the bag. When I get the chance to make this recipe again I am loading it up with the proper amount of walnuts. You can use your favourite nuts or combination of nuts too if you like.
So these brownies: Totally amazing. Totally dense and chewy and just absolutely delicious. This is the first time I’m discovering my textural preference for brownies. I like them deeply chocolatey, not too sweet, and just slightly fudgy. I don’t like them too melt-in-the-mouth (that would make them too fudgy). I don’t like them cakey, rather they should have a certain “bite” or density that makes them chewy.
In my newly discovered brownie book chewy brownies are the way to go. And these were the bomb! Seriously.
Makes 12 to 16 brownies, depending on how you slice
- 115 grams (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 115 grams unsweetened chocolate, cut into small pieces
- 250 grams (1 1/4 cups) sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 70 grams (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 80 grams (1/2 cup) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
- 75 grams (3/4 cup) walnuts, toasted
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
- 2. Line an 8-inch (20-cm) square pan with a long sheet of aluminum foil. Make sure the foil covers the whole bottom of the pan and reaches all the way up the sides. Cross another sheet of foil over it with edges that overhang on the sides. (These will serve as handles when the brownies are unmolded.) Grease the foil with butter or nonstick spray.
- 3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the unsweetened chocolate pieces and stir constantly with a whisk over very low heat until the chocolate is melted.
- 4. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, then add the eggs one at a time. Add vanilla.
- 5. Stir in the flour and the salt, then beat the batter vigorously for about 30 seconds, until it begins to become a smooth thick paste that sort of balls up within the whisk as you stir. Stir in the chocolate chip and nuts.
- 6. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 30 minutes until the center feels just about set. Remove from the oven and let cool before slicing.
- Storage: Wrap the pan of brownies with foil and store at room temperature. These brownies will keep for up to 3 days.
- * You can also use hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, or a combination of your favourite nuts.
I’ll be posting that ice cream in a couple of days. Stay tuned, especially if you’re a milk chocolate-lover!