Friday, May 6, 2011

When all else fails...

bake brownies.

and follow the recipe to a t.

(what does that mean anyway?).
Now that I'm blogging more often, I have been trying lots of new recipes.  I've also been trying to put a spin on recipes to make them my own.  Sometimes I get wonderful results and I'm happy I tried something new.  Other times, not so much.  Here are some examples of recent baking fails:
I did get a few good pavlovas out of this batch, but others just stuck to the tray and the tops popped off!
 This one, don't even ask.  Ok, ask.  No, they are not my attempt at making Mr. Hankey cookies.  I was actually trying to make chocolate churros.  Doesn't that sound good? Eh, not so much...

So when I woke up yesterday, I was determined to make something I knew I would love and that would be nearly impossible to screw up.  


Now normally I would go straight for the box mix (it's good stuff!) but there is also something magical about a delicious homemade brownie.  I remembered back to early in the year when Bon Appetit featured Browned Butter Walnut Brownies as the cover recipe and knew I wanted to try it.  Although these brownies got mixed reviews (people seemed to love 'em or hate 'em), it was love at first bite for me! 

Many of the reviews stated that the browned butter gave the brownies a distinctive "nutty" flavor.  I'm not sure if this was actually due to the browned butter or the fact that they do have a cup of walnuts in them.  That said, I will make it exactly the same in the future because I loved them.  However, they are packed with nuts so you can always cut back if you wish. 

Ok, all this talking is making me hungry.  Let's get to the recipe!
Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts
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

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. 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. 
Tip: I find that it is easier to see the butter changing colors if you use a pan with a light colored bottom.
Maybe I should have stopped here but I let it go a little bit longer...

...and ended up with this.  The brownies still tasted amazing but just be careful because once it goes, it goes fast!

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). 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.

Bake brownies until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached), about 25 minutes. (Mine seemed quite gooey after 25 minutes but I stuck with the recipe and they turned out fudgy and delicious) Cool in pan on rack. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Cut into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 4 brownies.  They are rich so you could also cut each brownie in half diagonally and have twice the brownies!
Delicious!  I ate four in a row and made Greg bring the rest to work to save me from myself!

Oh wait!  I forgot I saved one for you (hope you don't mind I already took a bite out of it!)

If you could only pick one food magazine to subscribe to, what would it be?

If you are recipe developer, how do you do it, especially when it comes to baking?  I do ok when I'm throwing ingredients together to make a soup or a dinner, but I've had a ton of baking disasters when I try to do my own thing!

Have a great weekend everybody!


  1. I adore Bon Appetit and actually bookmarked this very recipe! They look fabulous.

    I'm still so new at cooking, I haven't really starting developing recipes on my own. I do my own tweaking but that's about it!

  2. sorry about the failures..I have them weekly, lol ..i love these brownies, brown butter and chocolate..oh heaven! thanks for sharing, bookmarked!


  3. Lucy you have inspired me to make brownies again! I used to make them all the time especially during grad school, but they were from a box. Since we have changed our eating habits I make almost nothing from a box which means I haven't made brownies in a couple of years.

    I currently get Cooking Light. I think the magazine can get a bad rap from some people because some think it is a diet menu. But it is not at all, it's about great food but food that won't give you two chins, food that maintains a healthy lifestyle.

  4. I'm cracking up over the Mr. Hankey cookies- but I almost always think desserts taste pretty good, even when they are a fail!

  5. Cooking light! I am definitely going to make these brownies and promise to follow recipe to a T so they look just like yours! Gorgeous!

  6. Your brownies look very tempting. I am definitely going to give them a try.

  7. Lucy...I love this blog for your recipes and stories and for admitting (and showing your failures!). For everything I post there are probably 2-3 things that I didn't! Please stop by my site. Someone passed on an award to me which I would now like to pass on to you! : )

  8. Thanks for the browned butter tip. I have not gotten on the whole browned butter thing yet and I'm now glad to know how fast it can brown. Your brownies look amazing!

  9. Lucy, you can still join in the blogger bake sale! It's this coming Saturday, May 14th. If you can, and these brownies would make a fantastic addition to the sale, send Kimberly an email -

    Perhaps we'll see each other then!


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