Despite its simple seven-ingredient roster, this recipe is rich, complex and sinfully delicious. I bolstered Mark Bittman's classic version with some nutty additions: ground almonds were substituted for part of the flour, chopped almonds were folded into the batter, and I even sprinkled more on top before it went into the oven, just for good measure.
When it comes to baking, brownies live outside the “toothpick test” rule that signals the doneness of other baked goods (like cakes and quickbreads). Once a brownie releases a clean toothpick, it’s gone too far. The trick is to time the baking so that the top firms up just enough to seal the molten middle. A good brownie is fudgy and moist; a bad brownie is cakey and dry. When my batch emerged, still slightly gooey and studded with nuts, it was hard not to indulge straight from the pan. But if you have the patience to plate, you can’t go wrong with a slice a la mode.
[Adapted from How to Cook Everything: The Basics]
Time: 30 to 40 minutes
Makes: 9 to 12
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, plus a little more for greasing the pan
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup roasted almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a square baking pan with butter or line it by overlapping 2 pieces of parchment paper or aluminum foil crosswise and grease the lining.
2. Combine the stick of butter and the chocolate in a small saucepan over very low heat, stirring occasionally. (Or microwave them in a large microwave-safe bowl on medium for 10-second intervals, stirring after each.) When the chocolate is just about melted, remove the saucepan from the heat (or bowl from the microwave) and continue to stir until the mixture is smooth.
3. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl (or use the bowl you put in the microwave) and stir in the sugar. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Gently stir in the flour, ground almonds, salt, and the vanilla if you’re using it. Fold in chopped nuts.
4. Pour and scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle additional nuts (chopped and ground) over the top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until just barely set in the middle. Cool on a rack until set. If you used parchment, lift it out to remove the brownies. If not, cut them in squares right in the pan. Store, covered, at room temperature, for no more than a day.
Note: You can substitute 1/4 cup of any finely ground nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, or pecans -- use the food processor or blender to grind them), or take out the nuts entirely and use 1/2 cup flour instead.
See the original recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything: The Basics.