Monday, March 28, 2011

Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts

Last month, the cover page of my bon appetit magazine read "Best-Ever Brownies.  Waring: You Will Eat the Entire Tray."  Last year, I found my go to brownie recipe and thought my search was over.  But that didn't mean I couldn't take a peek at the recipe, right?  So when I read the recipe, it reassured me to know that it sounded remarkably similar to David Lebovitz's recipe.  Especially the part about mixing the batter for a full minute or until you get a nice sheen.  I have to admit though I was mildly curious about the browned butter part so I had to see for myself.

Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and WalnutsBon Appetit

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, chilled
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup walnut pieces

Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 325°F. Line 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, pressing foil firmly against pan sides and leaving 2-inch overhang. Coat foil with nonstick spray. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat.

The butter will start to foam.

Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, about 5 minutes.

For me the brown spots started forming on the sides of the pan.  I guess that's good enough. I didn't want it to burn.  

Remove from heat; immediately add sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt.

Stir to blend.  Let cool 5 minutes (mixture will still be hot).

Add eggs to hot mixture one at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition.

When mixture looks thick and shiny, add flour and stir until blended.

Beat vigorously 60 strokes.  This is the shiny sheen you are looking for.

Stir in nuts.  I toasted mine in a dry pan over the burner for a few minutes before, but that's optional.

Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake brownies until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached), about 25 minutes.  I used my Le Creuset ceramic pan and it took me 35 mins.

Cool in pan on rack. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Cut into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 4 brownies.

According to the magazine, they are supposed to be fudgy in the middle, chewy on the outside with a shiny, crackly top.  They were right on the money.  They were very reminiscent of my other favorite brownie recipe, but the browned butter does add a nuttiness to the brownies that are sublime.  

I have since made several batches for friends.  I guess having two go to brownie recipes isn't necessarily a bad thing, right?  

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