Quite often said and blindly followed (by yours truly i.e.) is the crude saying – “Whatever you do on the first day of a year..most likely you would be doing it for the rest of it “. Sounds chancy ehh? Yeah most likely it doesn’t have any ground in reality..but well when things are in your control there’s hardly any harm in trying to set the right tone to begin a brand new year. So writing this post in this “new” part of the year, assures me that this is going to be an auspicious hint that I will continue to write my posts even though I foresee a very busy future..Amen!!
So my first post of 2013 is dedicated to this 2 x 2 chocolate-y square filled with nuts and yes, of course some more chocolate. It’s rich, decadent and mind my words- absolutely irresistible! And with the amounts I have eaten it seems I might have to do some serious damage control (read: some real exercise). Although it might already be implied by my numerous posts, this recipe further confirms the fact that yes I love-love-love desserts with any combination of chocolate and nuts 😉
Its evolution from my mind to the plate goes back a year and follows the usual trend of being inspired by a recipe on TV by one of my favorite chefs – Ina Garten. I got intensely drawn to this recipe owing to its simplicity and decadency, with the only glitch being the ingredients being in large proportions. So I thought, what better dessert for the holiday season to give as gifts when everyone is in a mood to celebrate and enjoy. Ever since I first baked these a year back, I cannot deny that these are the BEST brownies I had ever tasted.It literally blew my mind.Well that might sound vain but all thanks to Ina Garten for this amazing recipe. Now I wonder hard as to, why don’t all brownies have this moistness, flavorful chocolaty goodness..instead of being crumbly, dry and flour-y and I am NOT exaggerating when I say that its very very hard to resist a second bite or even the tenth if you go for even one.
While I really don’t claim to be a guru in baking, I still find that following some simple basic rules seem to go a long way for any novice like me. I can swear by how simple and effective these are always when everything else seems difficult. So here are these tiny nuggets of useful information.
- Always preheat the oven (5-10 mins). This is quite possibly the most important thing since the first 5 mins are very critical to any recipe. I usually turn it on as I start prepping up the ingredients.
- Use room temperature ingredients unless stated otherwise. This gives an even temperature for all ingredients to mix in.
- Use parchment paper. This is the best way to make sure that your baked good does not stick to the pan/sheet pan etc. Butter and flour the parchment paper like you would generally any pan.
- Measure the ingredients accurately. For measuring flour, fluff up the flour and then measure it else it will be densely packed.
- When melting chocolate, make sure the bowl is completely dry otherwise the chocolate freezes (becomes a unglazed mass) when it should be smooth and glazed.
Outrageously chocolate-y brownies
Over-the-top decadent and chocolate-y brownies interspersed with walnuts and more chocolate chips, is sure to leave you speechless with just a bite. Adapted from Ina Garten’s All star dessert recipe, very aptly named “Outrageous brownies“.
- Preheat oven to 350oF. Then spread out the walnuts on a sheet pan and roast for ~ 5 mins till fragrant. Take out and let it cool.
- Prepare a double boiler (see notes) for melting the butter, 1 lb of chocolate chips and baker’s chocolate. Stir in between. Once it has melted, take it off the stove and let it cool (~ 10 mins)
- In a separate bowl, stir in the eggs, sugar, vanilla and the coffee powder.
- Once the chocolate mixture has cooled slightly, mix it in with the egg mixture and let it cool to room temperature.
- Now, in another bowl, sift together 1 C flour, baking powder and salt. Then fold it into the chocolate mixture.
- Toss the cooled walnuts and remaining chocolate chips with 1/4th C of flour and fold it into the batter.
- Line the baking sheet (12 x 18 x 1-inch) with parchment paper and butter and flour the sheet.
- Pour the chocolate batter into the sheet and place it in the oven.
- Bake for ~35 minutes and take it out from the oven. Let it cool before cutting it out into squares. Imp: Do not overbake!
Some useful notes:
- Preparing the double boiler: Place a sauce pan half filled with water over the stove, bring it to a boil and then let it simmer over low flame. Place another bowl over it with the chocolate and butter and let it melt from the steam. Do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl on top.
- The walnuts and chocolate chips are tossed with flour so that they don’t sink to the bottom of the batter. A little trick does wonders you see.
- Ina Garten specifies that it’s essential to rap the sheet on the baking rack to make sure that you take out the air from that forms between the sheet and the brownie.
With all the notes in hand and my experience to fall back on, I hope these impress you as much as it has everyone who has had a bite. Frankly, I can no longer enjoy any brownie without wondering about these – such is its power. So as I prepped to bake these for a second year, I could not help but wonder, that how a chance trial had actually set out to become a holiday tradition I hope to maintain. With the amount of love and care I have added in this time, I hope it tastes all the more wonderful for my family back home 🙂
May all of you have an adventurous, wonderful and a wonderful new year!
Happy New year friends!
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