Chrysta 10 min. 15 min.

  

When it comes to brownies, I prefer the ones with nuts.  Walnuts added to brownies are nothing new, but this recipe brings the “nutty” punch in three ways:  toasted walnuts, toasted pecans, and brown butter.

Many people add chopped walnuts to chocolate brownies, but the secret to releasing the rich nutty flavor is by toasting the nuts.  To toast nuts, simply place nuts on cookie sheet and bake in a 375 degree oven for about 7 minutes.  Remove from oven and then cool before use.  When nuts are toasted, they release their essential oils where much of their flavor exists.  Toasting amplifies the nutty flavor of your favorite nuts.  This recipe calls for two nuts to give two nutty flavors and textural differences.  I finely chop the pecans, which are a softer nut, and add that into the batter.  Then, I like to coarsely chop the walnuts, which are firmer than pecans, and stir them into the batter and also sprinkle on top so folks know these are nut brownies (in case there is someone with an allergy). 

The 3rd and more complex ingredient is Brown Butter. Brown Butter is a special ingredient that works in savory and sweet applications. In French, the term is Beurre Noisette, getting its name from the hazelnut color and flavor that develops from browning the butter.  Just by cooking the butter on medium heat a little past the melting point causes the milk solids in the butter to brown, creating a wonderfully nutty aroma.  As the milk solids reach a toasty hazelnut color, the pan is removed from the heat, the butter is cooled, and then added to this batter.

These brownies are the perfect thing to bring to a party or give as a gift. They are easy to put together, they can be easily wrapped, and they keep for a week in an airtight container. 

The the brownies pictured, I topped half of them with walnuts and half of them with chocolate chips.  But, that was to appease a picky crowd 🙂  

 

Ingredients

5 ounces of unsalted butter

1 1/3 C granulated white sugar

1/3 cup all purpose flour

3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tbsp. water with 1 tsp. instant coffee dissolved in it.

2 large eggs

1/3 C of toasted pecans, finely chopped

3/4 C toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped 

Directions

1. Set Oven: Preheat to 350°F.

2.  Prepare Pan: Spray a square baking pan (8x8x2) with oil spray.  Using the “overhand technique”, line the pan with two strips of parchment paper forming a “cross” overlaying the parchment.  Finally, spray the parchment with oil spray. 

3.  Mix some of the dry ingredients:  In a bowl, sift cocoa, salt, and sugar.  Set aside.

4.  Brown the Butter:  Place butter into a saucepan over medium heat. The butter will start to melt, then it will start to foam.  Continue to cook butter until it starts to turn light brown.  As soon as you see the first stages of brown, remove from pan immediately.  This whole process takes about 5 minutes. 

5.  Add Brown Butter to Cocoa Mixture:  Add brown butter into the sugar and cocoa mixture.  Add the 1 tbsp. of water and 1 tsp. of instant coffee.  Stir.  Set aside for 10-15 minutes to cool.

6.  Add Eggs: Whisk 2 eggs together.  Once cocoa base is cool, add the eggs.  Mix well 

7.  Add Flour:  Once eggs are well incorporated, add the flour to the mixture.  1 minute. 

8.  Stir In Nuts:  Once nuts are cooled, stir pecans into the batter.  Next, stir 1/2 of the walnuts into the batter.  Sprinkle the remaining walnuts on top of the brownies batter.

9. Get to Bakin’:  Transfer batter to the pan.  Bake brownies about 20 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (A few moist crumbs attached is ok, but not wet batter).

10.  Cool Brownies:  Cool in pan on rack.

11.  Remove from Brownies from pan and cut:  Using the overhang technique learned in class, lift brownies from pan. Cut into 4 strips and then cut into squares.  For triangles, cut squares diagonally.

 

The Overhang Technique: