Makes 16 large or 25 small brownies
- 10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup (2.4 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably natural
- Rounded 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. water
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 cold large eggs
- 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup walnut pieces
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and all 4 sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with foil and coat with nonstick vegetable spray (or use nonstick foil).
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, salt, water, and vanilla. Stir to blend. Let cool for 5 minutes; the mixture will still be fairly hot.
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.
Excerpted from Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by Alice Medrich (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2012.
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