Brownies with walnuts and browned butter

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I´m home on holiday – again! I know!!! That´s the advantage of having my exam after Christmas – getting an extra vacation! So, that´s pretty nice… I came home last weekend to Celebrate my boyfriend´s mother´s birthday, cause she was turning 60, and having a big celebration. And the plan was to fly back on Sunday for my exam the following monday. But, it turned out, that after my exam there weren´t any lectures until February! And as the exam was a home-exam, well, why not stay at home in Norway writing it? After all, that is my primary home! So I did! And now I have a good week at home to do – well – bake? It´s not like I have anything else scheduled! Well, other than seeing family and friends, of course. But those things are very well combined. Last night, I had a friend over while my boyfriend was at football practice. Our initial plan was meeting at a café and then going to the cinema, but poor as we are, we decided on a night at home instead.

I promised her some baked goods, and had my mind on brownies. She´s pretty much a chocoholic (yeah – blame her…) and, well, ok, I was having massive chocolate cravings, so brownies seemed just right. And easy enough to gobble on when you´re deep down in the sofa, under the blanket, watching tv. Important. So, the one thing I was going to do that day, was baking a batch of brownies before her arrival. But did I manage? Nooo. I spent too much time gazing out the window. Facebooking. Warming my hands above the oven. Staring out the window again. And searching for recipes – brownie recipes. I had borrowed the Hummingbird bakery cookbook from my mother, and was planning to make the basic brownie recipe from that book. But then I had some extra time on my hands, and starting searching online for recipes…

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And then I found these. They looked insanenly good. I was a little surprised to see that the brownies were made of cocoa, not chocolate, I mean, being a brownie, and all! And still – they looked so chocolatey! But, than again, I do recall a super-moist chocolate cake made from cocoa, so that didn´t put me off! I was a little afraid that the basic Hummingbird brownies weren´t gooey enough, or fudgy enough to my like, cause I couldn´t really judge by the photos. And to me, that´s what brownies are all about. Fudge and goo – yes please! I realized that the ingredients and measures in the cocoa brownies were the same as another Hummingbird-recipe, the frosted one, though without the frosting… So, I decided on that one, and got to use the book after all! I just tweaked the methods, to go with Alice Medrich´s approach. And also with her addition of browned butter…..mmm.

So, I never managed to bake the brownies before my friend arrived. But what´s good, is that these brownies come together in no time! Cause we were gonna have brownies, that was for sure! I just whipped them together in a hurry after dinner, and within an hour, they were served! And maybe it was just as good I didn´t bake them in advance, because what´s better than warm, fudgy brownies, straight from the oven?It was the perfect accompaniement to Bridesmades, a glass of milk and good company!

Verdict: Fudgy? Check! Chocolatey enough? Check! Good? Hell yeah!
So yes, the brownies lived up to their expectation, and to the photos – Luckily!

Bake away!

brownie

Cocoa Brownies
(Adapted from Alice Medrich)

Makes 16 larger or 25 smaller brownies

10 tablespoons (140 grams) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (65 grams, though some brands may weigh more) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (or a heaping 1/4 teaspoon flaky salt, as I used)
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (75 grams) walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 170°/ 325°F. Line the bottom and all 4 sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with foil and coat with nonstick vegetable spray

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and continue to cook, whisking gently, until it is golden brown and the milk particles suspended in it are reddish brown. Remove the pan from the heat and stop the cooking by immediately adding the sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Stir to blend. Let cool for 5 minutes; the mixture will still be fairly hot. (Well, I didn´t have time for that – instant chocolate cravings! And they still turned out beautifully!)

Add the eggs one at a time, beating vigorously with a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula after adding each one. When the mixture looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add all of the flour and stir until you no longer see streaks of flour, then beat vigorously for 50 to 60 strokes with the wooden spoon or the spatula. Stir in the nuts.

Spread the batter in the lined pan, swirling the surface if you like. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center emerges almost clean (the brownies will still be soft and gooey even if the toothpick looks clean). Cool in the pan on a rack.

Lift the edges of the foil liner and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Slide a metal spatula under the brownies to detach them from the foil (or invert the brownies and peel off the foil, then turn the brownies right side up again). Cut into 16 or 25 squares. The brownies keep stored airtight, for 2 to 3 days.

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Fudge Brownies – aka dry chocolate cake

brownie aka chocolate cake

I’ve got brownies on the brain. Needed to get it out of the system. Hence this post. Not that I need an excuse to make brownies, but that’s how it is. I do have a theory though, to this brownie obsession. I dyed my hair last week – from blonde to brown. So now, my boyfriend refers to me as brownie, instead of blondie. And hearing the word brownie a couple of times during the day, well, it gets to you one way or another! So unconciously this brownie-craving has been building up, and now it was about time to do something about it. And what better day than today to celebrate my new haircolour with brownies! I seriously needed to do something else than reading chemistry for a change, so I decided to take a day off reading and spend some quality time in the kitchen, followed by some quality time in front of the TV with baked goods, instead.

It’s with slight disappointment that I’m writing this, because I just took them out of the oven, and worst case scenario occured. I overbaked them! Arrgghhh! I hate when that happens, when all you want is gooey fudgy brownieness and what you get is simply chocolate cake. And it’s not the same when your mind is set on brownies. (Breathe in, breath out. It’s gonna be ok, it’s just overbaked brownies.) It was a good chocolate cake though. And with a little frosting it wasn’t so bad after all. I’m still posting about it and sharing the recipe, because I believe this was my mistake, and that these brownies can really be great. Just take a look here where I found the recipe! Now that’s what I call brownies. I have yet to make a truly succesful batch of brownies, but I will try this recipe again, closely watching the oven.. So give it a try and tell me how it turns out!

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups flour (4 dl)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb butter (225 g)
2 cups sugar (4,5 dl)
1/4 cup water (0,5 dl)
11 oz semisweet chocolate (300 g)
2 oz unsweetened chocolate (50 g)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup pecans (2,3 dl)

Preheat oven to 325 F (200 C) and line a 9″x13″ baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing the foil to overhang the ends of the pan by a couple inches. Grease the foil with nonstick spray.

In a large saucepan, bring the butter, sugar, and water just to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring.
Remove from the heat. Stir the chocolates into the sugar mixture until completely melted. Let cool to warm so that the eggs won’t curdle.

Stir the vanilla into the chocolate mixture. Then add the eggs, and mix thoroughly.
Stir the dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture just until the batter is evenly blended. Less mixing = more tender brownies. (Ooops, I didn’t read that until now… no wonder they came out the way they did. When will I learn to read through recipes before starting?)
Stir in the nuts.Turn out the batter into the pan, spreading it evenly to the edges.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the center is barely firm when tapped. (Keep an eye on them, as every oven is different! 25 minutes was way overdue for me)Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool to warm, about 20 minutes. Or not! Just dig in and get warm hopefully fudgy brownies all over!