This brownie recipe has been a favorite in my kitchen for over ten years and is the best one I have tasted that’s made from scratch. There are lots of great recipes for brownies, don’t get me wrong. But with the altitude up here, it is hard to find baking recipes that come out consistently every time. These brownies are full-on chocolate with a cake-like texture, but still moist and rich like a brownie should be. I decided they needed a little extra szoosh so chocolate chips are added to the warm brownies; the chips melt and then get spread over the top to make an instant frosting. The brownies rank up there with my chocolate chip cookie recipe (click here to read blog post) and make me just as happy.
For me, the kind of cocoa (and chocolate) I use makes a flavor difference. I recently discovered black onyx cocoa (left side of picture) at my favorite local spice store, Savory Spice, and love the richness and intense flavor it adds. The flavor is strong so I still use regular cocoa to balance it out. It’s also great in my chocolate layer cake and chocolate mousse. To learn more about the cocoa making process, I went to Cook’s Illustrated website: “Chocolate and cocoa come from chocolate liquor, a paste made from beans scooped from the pods of the tropical cacao tree. The beans are fermented, roasted, shelled, and ground into a paste. Half fat (cocoa butter) and half cocoa solids, the paste is hardened in molds. Some is sold as unsweetened baking chocolate. The rest is fed into hydraulic presses to remove up to three-quarters of its fat, then pulverized and called cocoa powder.
Beans destined for life as Dutched cocoa have one extra stop between shelling and grinding. The shelled beans (or nibs) are soaked in an alkaline (low-acid) solution, usually potassium carbonate. They’re pressed, pulverized, and dried–and Dutch-processed cocoa powder is born.” Check out the links below for more reading on cocoa nibs and the cocoa manufacturing process.
Baking a whole pan of brownies is tempting and would be easy for me to do a number on, but in favor of my waistline I reduced the recipe to an 8” x 8” baking dish. The original recipe makes a 9” x 13” pan and is perfect for parties; just double the recipe below (except the eggs, use 3 large). I also like to get a visual of what my taste buds can expect so half of the walnuts are added to the batter and the rest are sprinkled on top. With the added melted chocolate chips for a frosting, they are absolutely divine.
Eat well and share the love!
More reading on the cocoa making process:
Cooks Illustrated – Cocoa basics and natural versus Dutch cocoa
Ghiradelli – Cocoa Bean
Ghiradelli – Cocoa Manufacturing
Double Chocolate Walnut Brownies
Recipe: Melissa Schenker/Foodie for Two
(Adapted from recipe “Best All American Brownies”)
Serves two foodies – makes 16 to 18 small brownies
325 degree F oven Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 25-30 mins
¼ pound unsalted butter (1/2 stick, or 4 tablespoons)
½ cup plus 6 teaspoons flour, sifted
¼ cup Dutch cocoa, sifted
6 teaspoons black onyx cocoa, sifted
3/8 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 small eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup chocolate chips (mixture of semi-sweet & 60% cacao)
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
Heat oven to 325 degrees F and butter an 8” x 8” baking pan. Combine the sifted flour and cocoa, baking powder and salt.
To a large bowl, add the eggs and vanilla and beat with a hand-mixer on low until foamy – about 2 minutes. While beaters are still on, slowly pour in the sugar and beat until blended; pour in the melted butter and continue beating until well blended. Add the flour mixture and beat on low until well mixed. Stir in the walnuts with a rubber spatula. Pour into prepared pan and scrape the sides with rubber spatula to remove all the batter.
Bake & Enjoy
Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until brownies just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Let cool for 5 minutes and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top; let sit for 5 minutes to allow the chips to melt. Spread the chocolate around the top, sprinkle with the reserved walnuts and let brownies cool completely.
Cut into small squares or diamonds (make two cuts vertically and two cuts horizontally; starting in the middle of one corner, make a cut through the middle of the brownie and continue down – repeat for remaining brownie squares).
- Doubling the recipe: Double all ingredients except eggs; use 3 large eggs. Cook in greased 9” x 13” baking dish as listed above.