Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lovey’s Brownies

This is not exactly a gardening topic, unless you want to consider chocolate a vegetable (it does come from beans, after all). But I wanted to share this recipe and put it out there for posterity. And the timing is right. Last weekend was the Bolton Fair, a two-day country fair. One of the features of fairs is always the pie and cake contests.Which reminded me, about ten years ago my wife submitted this recipe and won the blue ribbon. She not only won the blue ribbon, she destroyed the competition. It was enjoyable to read the judges’ comments on other entries, trying to console the losers: “this is very good and would be a contender, but this year the competition is unusually strong.” Yeah, right, you just had a taste of the world’s best brownie recipe, there is no competition.

This has been a favorite in our family since we discovered it in the March, 1990 issue of Food and Wine Magazine, a special edition on Chocolate. It was the cover story. And it could not be simpler to make. The brownies are mixed up in the sauce pan or bowl (if you microwave) used to melt the butter and chocolate. The only dishes dirtied are the pan (or bowl), a spatula, and the baking dish.

Be sure not to over bake the brownies. They are supposed to be very moist, not cake like. They develop a nice crust on top with a moist, fudgy center. An alternative serving suggestion is to use a large biscuit cutter to cut out rounds, which can then be topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and maybe a candied violet. Then you (or a young volunteer in the family) get to eat the little pieces in between. The nuts are optional but highly recommended, and I much prefer the pecans if you have them.

Lovey's Brownies
Makes about 2 dozen

2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans or ½ cup of each

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 13- by 9-inch metal baking pan.
2. Melt butter and chocolate in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth; remove from heat. Whisk in sugar and salt, beat in eggs one at a time until mixture is shiny, and then whisk in flour and vanilla. Stir in nuts. Scrape into prepared pan.
3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes in center of oven, until moist crumbs adhere to a cake tester inserted into center and brownies appear slightly crusted on top. Let cool completely in pan on a rack, and then cut into squares.

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