Friday, October 19, 2012

Best Brownies Ever!

Locally-grown walnuts are a special fall treat.  An early sign of the approaching holidays, they make me think of all the goodies I'll be cooking up in the months to come - cookies, cakes, pies, and of course, these brownies - all with some kind of nut to add toasty richness.

And speaking of toasty, I've never met a nut I didn't like better toasted; so do go to the trouble of toasting them in a 350 degree oven for about 12-16 minutes after you shell them.  Watch them carefully.  There's probably not more than a minute between well-toasted and burned.

All nuts get rancid pretty quickly at room temperature.  Keep unshelled walnuts in a cool, dark place for no more than three months.  Personally, I like to shell walnuts and freeze them raw.  If you wrap them well, they'll keep in the freezer for six months or longer.  I like to toast them as I need them for cookies and brownies.  If you make a little extra, you can toss them into salads.

I can't tell you how many times I've been asked for this brownie recipe.  Every time I serve them or bring them to a potluck, folks ask for the recipe.  The best part is this recipe is super easy.  What's important is the quality of the ingredients, especially the chocolate.  These brownies will taste like the chocolate you use, so use something you like to eat.

1 stick unsalted butter
3 oz dark chocolate
1 C sugar
1 t vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 C flour
pinch salt
1/3 C chopped, toasted walnuts

1.  Line the bottom of an 8x8-inch metal baking dish with parchment paper.  Butter the top of the parchment and the sides of the pan.  Set aside.

2.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

3.  Put 1 stick butter in a 1-1/2 qt heavy saucepan over very low heat.  When the butter is partially melted, add the chocolate and allow the chocolate and the butter to fully melt.  Stir gently to combine completely.  Remove from heat.

4.  Allow to cool slightly.  Add 1 C sugar and 1 t vanilla.  Stir well to combine completely.

5.  Mix in one egg at a time.  Stir to combine completely.

6.  Sift in 3/4 C flour.  Add pinch salt and nuts.  Stir to combine completely.

7.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 28-30 minutes at 350 degrees F.  Tester inserted into the center of the brownies should not come out completely clean, but not too gooey either.

8.  Allow brownies to cool in pan.  Turn out onto a cutting board.  Peel away the parchment and cut into desired sizes.

Makes 8 large brownies, 16 small brownies, or 32 bite-sized brownies.

Today's bounty included:

From Jaime Farms:  Green onions, cabbage, and red leaf lettuce;

From Jimenez Family Farm:  Strawberries, basil, cilantro, delicata squash, summer squash, chard, and tomatoes;

From K and K Ranch:  Walnuts, butternut squash, plums, and apples:

From Moua's Farm:  Long beans and Asian greens; and

From Silver Lake Farms:  Micro-greens.



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