Chewy Walnut Brownies

If I had to choose one dessert that I absolutely love, I would pick brownies. You know the foolproof box-mix brownie. It’s all about the gigantic Costco Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate Brownie mix, or the lovable Betty Crocker Turtle Brownie or Betty Crocker Original Supreme Brownie…I love them all. However, I started to make brownies from scratch, and I’ve never looked back at the box-mixes. But I do miss the chewy texture with a sparkling & crackly top from the box-mixes, you never get that from the homemade version. Until I came across this recipe from my latest issue of Cooks Illustrated and Erin from Dinner & Dessert had made them as well. She has them without my addition of walnuts – Chewy Brownies and they are just as wonderful. After one bite, you’ll taste the rich dark chocolate and velvety mix of chunks and buttery walnuts  – it’s perfection in a brownie. Enjoy!

Chewy Walnut Brownies
Adapted from: Cook’s Illustrated March/ April 2010 & seen on Dinner & Dessert
Ingredients: 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa

1 ½ teaspoons instant espresso (optional)

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 large eggs 2 large egg yolks 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 ½ cups sugar (17 ½ ounces) 1 3/4 cups (8 ¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour ¾ teaspoon salt

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into ½-inch pieces – aka semi-sweet –I used Chocolove dark chocolate

1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
Preparation: 1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Fit foil into length of 13×9-inch baking pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk cocoa, espresso powder (if using), and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled). Add eggs, yolk, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in bittersweet chocolate pieces.

3. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 1 ½ hours. 4. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.

Review: I brought these in my office for my bosses’ birthday and everyone fell in love with them. One of my coworkers told me that “It was the best brownie I’ve ever had in my life.” Wow, that’s a pretty awesome compliment, and it made my day. I’m going to test out a couple more recipes of brownies to make my final decision but these are a top candidate for my new go-to brownie recipe. This brownie is definitely a keeper!

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