All-American Brownies

[Printable Version]

(from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts)

      1/4 pound (1 stick) sweet butter, cut into pieces

      2 ounces (2 squares) unsweetened chocolate

      1 cup granulated sugar

      1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

      2 eggs (graded large or extra large)

      1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour

      Pinch of salt

      2 ounces (generous 1/2 cup) walnuts, broken into medium-size pieces

Adjust rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare an 8-inch square cake pan as follows:  Turn the pan upside down.  Tear off a 12-inch square of aluminium foil, center it over the inverted pan, fold down the sides and the corners, and then remove the foil and turn the pan right side up.  Place the foil in the pan.  In order not to tear the foil, use a pot holder or a folded towel and, pressing with the pot holder or towel,  smooth the foil into place.  Lightly butter the bottom and halfway up the sides, using soft or melted butter, and spreading it with a pastry brush or crumpled wax paper.  Set aside.

Place the butter and the chocolate in a heavy 2- or 3-quart saucepan over the lowest heat.  Stir occasionally with a rubber or wooden spatula until the butter and chocolate are melted and smooth.  Set aside to cool for about 3 minutes.  Then stir in the sugar and the vanilla, and then the eggs, one at a time, stirring until smooth after each addition.  Add the flour and salt and stir until smooth.  Mix in the nuts.

Turn into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick gently inserted into the center of the cake barely comes out clean but not dry.  Do not over bake.  These should be soft and moist.

Set aside to cool until the pan reaches room temperature.  Then cover with a rack, invert, and remove the ¨ pan and the aluminium foil.  The bottom of the cake should look slightly moist in the center.  Cover with another rack and  invert again, leaving the cake right side up.  (It will be about 3/4 inch thick.)

Transfer the cake to a cutting board.  With a long, thin, sharp knife, cut into squares or oblongs.  (If the cake doesn’t cut neatly, transfer it to the freezer or refrigerator until firm and then cut it.  I always chill it before cutting.)

Wrap the brownies individually in cellophane or wax paper (not plastic wrap--it is too hard to handle), or arrange them on a tray and cover with pastic wrap.  Either way, do not let them dry out.

They may be frozen, and may be served either at room temperature or frozen, directly from the freezer (delicious).

The above is verbatim from the book.  This recipe is simpler than it sounds and I like to keep a supply frozen as they are wonderful just out of the freezer or defrosted.