Brownies for Dinner!

Well, I am very disappointed in myself…. I did not cook a single home-cooked meal this week (I guess my Father’s Day Lunch wore me out).  Shame on me!  Between Monday night kickball games, getting my car inspected, and my husband, Matt’s, late-night dinners for work, there was no opportunity for me to cook!

Tonight’s dinner was not special either…Matt went out to eat with his buddy while I squeezed in a 3 mile run after work.  Sooo, at this point, I was officially “deprived” of cooking/baking all week.  As a remedy, I decided to make Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts, Matt’s favorite. In addition, the weekends are Matt’s “cheat days”, meaning that he will drink Coke, eat whatever food or dessert he wants, and not feel bad about it at all!  Come Monday, he’s back to his “diet” of eating healthy again.

I must say, these are the BEST brownies in the world!  What makes them so good is the butter that is melted in a saucepan and then “browned” for 5 minutes to form little brown bits at the bottom of the pan.  It makes these brownies so rich, fudgy, and chocolatey.  The melted butter is something you could never pick out, but you will able to distinguish a distinctive and delightful additional flavor to these brownies.  Enjoy!

Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts
Ingredients
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
10 Tbsp. (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 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs, chilled
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup walnut pieces
Directions
1.  Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 325 degrees F.  Line a 8 x 8 x 2-inch metal baking pan lined 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 of water, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon (generous amount) of salt.  Stir to blend.  Let cool for 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.
Yield:  16 brownies
Bon Appetit, February 2011

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