Saturday, March 12, 2011

Brown Butter Brownies

2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons water
2 large eggs, cold
1/3 cup plus 1 T all purpose flour
1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted

Preparing the brownies:
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Line an 8- by 8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Butter the foil.

Combine the sugar, cocoa and salt in a fairly heatproof bowl.

Melt and brown the butter over medium to medium-low heat. When the milk solids are browned, either pour or scoop out 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) of the butter into a heatproof cup, being careful to keep all the browned bits in the pan. Then dump the butter from the pan into the bowl with the cocoa mixture, including all the browned bits stuck to the pan (unless they're burnt). Add the vanilla and water, and stir to blend (it will come together like rough concrete). The mixture should be fairly hot; let cool for 5 minutes. [Keep the extra butter for other uses; store in fridge.]

Beat in the eggs, vigorously, one at a time. When your mixture looks shiny and uniform, add the flour and stir until blended. Then beat the mixture, vigorously, another 60 strokes. Stir in the nuts, and scrape the batter into the baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out not quite clean. Cool the pan on a rack.

Makes 16 brownies


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