Fudgy Pudgy Brownies
Makes 16 brownies. This recipe is excerpted from “Rose’s Baking Basics.” “These dense, moist, and fudgy brownies stand up especially well to the slight crunch and assertive flavor of walnuts. The unsweetened chocolate and white chocolate add cocoa butter, which contributes to the brownies’ chewy texture and melt-in-the-mouth quality."
Oven temperature: 325 F for the walnuts; 350 F for the brownies
Baking time: 7 minutes for the walnuts; 30 to 40 minutes for the brownies
Baking equipment: One 8-by-2-inch square baking pan, encircled with a cake strip (see baking pearl), coated with shortening, lined with two pieces of crisscrossed parchment or heavy-duty aluminum foil (bottom and sides), extending a few inches past the edges of the pan, attached to each other by a thin coating of shortening, then lightly coated with baking spray with flour.
170 grams or 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
3 large eggs
100 grams or 1 cup walnut halves
142 grams or 5 ounces fine-quality unsweetened or 99 percent cacao chocolate
85 grams or 3 ounces white chocolate containing cocoa butter
16 grams or 3½ tablespoons (sifted before measuring) unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
267 grams or 1⅓ cups sugar
1½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) pure vanilla extract
91 grams or ¾ cup (lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off) all-purpose flour, either bleached or unbleached
A pinch fine sea salt
Preheat the oven: Twenty minutes or longer before toasting the walnuts, set an oven rack at the middle level. Set the oven at 325 F.
Mise en Place:
About 1 hour ahead, set the butter and eggs on the counter at room temperature (65 F to 75 F).
Into a 1 cup measure with a spout, weigh or measure the eggs and cover with plastic wrap.
Spread the walnuts evenly on a cookie sheet and bake for about 7 minutes. Stir once or twice to ensure even toasting and prevent overbrowning. Turn the walnuts onto a dish towel and roll and rub them around to loosen the skins. Discard any loose skins and let the nuts cool completely. Chop into coarse pieces.
Chop both chocolates into small pieces.
Preheat the oven: Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack at the middle level. Set the oven at 350 F.
Make the batter and bake:
1. In the top of a double boiler over hot, not simmering, water (do not let the bottom of the container touch the water), melt the butter and chocolates, stirring often with a silicone spatula. Scrape the melted chocolate mixture into a large bowl.
2. Whisk the cocoa into the melted chocolate mixture, and then the sugar, until incorporated.
3. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla until the mixture becomes thick and glossy.
4. Stir in the flour and salt, just until the flour is moistened.
5. Stir in the walnuts, reaching to the bottom of the bowl, until evenly incorporated.
6. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface evenly, but mound it slightly in the center, which tends to dip on baking.
7. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until set to 1 inch from the edges and a toothpick inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out almost clean. (An instant-read thermometer inserted in the center should read about 190 F.)
8. Let the brownie cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a small metal spatula between the pan and the foil to ensure that no batter has leaked through and stuck to the sides.
9. Invert the brownie onto a wire rack lined with plastic wrap and lift off the pan. Carefully peel off the foil and reinvert the brownie onto another wire rack. Cool completely.
10. Transfer the brownie to a cutting board. Use a long, serrated knife to cut the brownie into 2-inch squares.
Store Airtight: room temperature, 1 week; refrigerated, 1 month; frozen, 3 months.
Baking pearl: The cake strip keeps the outer edges from getting overbaked and dry.