Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts

Cover recipe- Bon Appetit, Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter & Walnuts: February 2011

I can’t tell you how many people have told me they swooned upon receiving this issue of Bon Appetit magazine. I know I did. The Cocoa Brownies from the cover are completely droolworthy in every sense of the word. How I managed to have my copy for 16 whole hours before making them? One will never know.

Bon Appetit included these Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts in a round-up of delicious chocolate recipes, and most of them sounded cover-worthy. So why did these brownies beat out the others to make the front?

Read below to see what I thought of the results…

Print Print Recipe

Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts

Yield: 16 brownies

Prep Time: 20 min + chill time

Cook Time: 35 min

Ingredients:

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, chilled
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup walnut pieces

Directions:

1. Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 325°F. Line 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, pressing foil firmly against pan sides and leaving 2-inch overhang. Coat foil with nonstick spray.
2. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; immediately add sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt. Stir to blend. Let cool 5 minutes (mixture will still be hot).
3. Add eggs to hot mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. When mixture looks thick and shiny, add flour and stir until blended. Beat vigorously 60 strokes. Stir in nuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
4. Bake brownies until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached), about 25 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Cut into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 4 brownies. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Tips:

*I baked my brownies a bit longer than the stated recipe, by about 2 full minutes. I could have pushed it another minute, but didn’t want to take a chance in overbaking them. They turned out delightfully gooey but still set.
*Definitely use the tip of lining the pan with foil or parchment as an overhang. It makes removing the brownies from the pan a snap, and you are able to cut them into perfect square servings.
*Use the very best cocoa you can find. I used Scharffen Berger, but Ghirardelli would work as well. All you taste is the cocoa, and you’ll want to be using the good stuff.
*Because I was afraid they wouldn’t be chocolatey enough, I threw a small handful of milk chocolate chips into the mix with the walnut. They were a great addition.
*The mixing of the recipe by hand is a difficult task. I suggest using a mixer versus a regular whisk. My arms are still feeling the burn 3 days later.
*If you’ve never browned butter before, it is better to underbrown it versus burn it. Just keep an eye out, and your sense of smell. Once it starts emitting a nice nutty aroma, you’re on the right track. Stir continuously for the best results.
*Be sure to add the butter while it is still HOT to the sugar. It’s the only way to get that massive amount of sugar to become less gritty.
*These brownies are every bit as good the day after making, stored at room temperature in an air tight container. They would be perfect for Valentines Day, and take less time to make than running out to WalMart to purchase a box of chocolates.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1 brownie
Calories per serving: 199.7
Fat per serving: 12.7g
Saturated Fat per serving: 5.2g
Sodium per serving: ,span class="sodium">45.3g
Fiber per serving: 1.9g
Protein per serving: 3.7g
Cholesterol per serving: 45.3mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 20.8g

Source: Bon Appetit, February 2011

The results:

Perfect. In fact, I am so enamored with them that they have become my go-to brownie recipe. It’s easily adaptable and I am looking forward to making them again with little changes, like orange oil, peppermint, candy pieces…you name it!

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight? Yes, yes they do. They were simple to put together, required no effort at all, and I always have the ingredients on hand. Bon Appetit claimes them as the best brownies they’ve ever eaten, but I’m not sure I’d take it that far. They are GREAT, but the best part for me is the flavor/results based on the amount of effort involved. That’s what makes them so wonderful!

Lori is the founder of RecipeGirl.com. She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at RecipeBoy.com.


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11 Responses to “Pasta al Pomodoro”

  1. 1

    Jenny Flake — May 4, 2011 @ 8:54 am

    Love pasta and this one looks great!! Glad it stood up to the test! :)

  2. 2

    Cookin' Canuck — May 4, 2011 @ 10:06 am

    My reaction was the same when I saw the cover – boring. However, I also know that sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. You’ve inspired me to try this, Lori.

  3. 3

    Amanda — May 4, 2011 @ 11:02 am

    LOVE all these pasta tips, thanks for sharing them here, Lori! Bookmarking this :)

  4. 4

    Maria — May 4, 2011 @ 11:05 am

    Great pasta post! Can’t wait to try it!

  5. 5

    Tracey — May 4, 2011 @ 6:26 pm

    I’ve been wanting to try this one since my issue of BA arrived. Glad to hear it exceeded expectations!

  6. 6

    Tracy — May 5, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

    I haven’t tried this yet but it sounds delicious!

  7. 7

    mary (sisters running the kitchen) — May 5, 2011 @ 8:41 pm

    i am so glad that you featured this! i have this magazine and have yet to try out this recipe. looks so good though. sometimes the most simple dishes are the best.

  8. 8

    Mrs. L — May 6, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

    While it sounds like the dish is one to make, I still have a little trouble with it being on the cover. Covers to me are ideas I must get in the kitchen ‘right now’ to make, they are there to make me pick up the magazine to buy (I subscribe by the way). If it wasn’t for several bloggers like you making it and saying it was good, I’d probably pass it right by!

  9. 9

    Erin R — May 8, 2011 @ 8:28 am

    I made this dish for my fiance’s and my dinner last night. It was FABULOUS! Knowing that neither my fiance’s nor my knife cuts on our garlic and onion would ever be close to tiny enough for them to blend in with the texture of the pureed tomato, after we’d added the red pepper flakes and let it simmer for a smidge, we put the oil, garlic, onion portion in the food processor so it would puree too.
    Then, we just put that back in the pan with the tomato and it was smooth and wonderful.
    The sauce was waaaay better than any sauces we buy at the store, and since we just had to buy the can of tomatoes, it was super cheap too ($1.50).
    I truly feel that this is a restaurant-quality dinner.
    (also, we made this with linguini noodles, since that’s what we had, and I felt they held the sauce really well)

    I’m not sure if the photos capture the vibrant orange-red of the sauce, but this is totally a cover quality recipe.

  10. 10

    Nick — May 17, 2011 @ 9:14 am

    The dish looks delish! Reading through the 10 point guide, 2 of the points stand out to me. #3 You’re not using nearly enough salt and #4 Don’t dump the pasta water. Those are 2 things I have not been doing with my pasta and I really think they’ll make a big difference. I am going to try them today when I make spaghetti with clam sauce.

  11. 11

    Sue — June 18, 2011 @ 2:09 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this!!! I’ve made it three times now and I simply love it. Mine doesn’t turn out quite as smooth as it should, because chopping onions kills me so I tend to leave them a little chunkier than they should be for this particular recipe, but this is now my favorite pasta sauce.

    And while I’m not vegetarian, I absolutely love that I can cook something so delicious and satisfying that has no meat in it!!!!

    LOVE this blog!

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