Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts/ Wholly-holy yum.

I'm not a picky eater. I'm not! Don't believe everything my friends tell you.

Some food, however, it's hard for me to eat if bad. Curd rice, coffee, biryani and the like.

Brownies come under that category. It's one of the first things I baked, at the ripe old age of 13. I used a boxed mix... Betty Crocker, I think. My parents gloated for days.

The uncool thing about baking/eating brownies so many times is that I can't eat a bad brownie any more. We've talked about this earlier.

Most brownies I eat are bad brownies. It's justifiable, spending 100 bucks on a decent brownie... it has to live up to every penny and every calorie, though. I'm sure the good people of Cake Walk still remember the emphatic speech I made about their terrible brownies.

Ooh. When you want to impress people, make brownies. That's the first of the many things I've baked for the W. You can go wrong with the baking and the mixing, but until you've eaten 100 brownies, you won't know the difference. These bad boys usually turn out good, in any way, shape or form. Even the burnt, biscuit-y bits are divine.

I use a basic fudge brownie recipe, usually. This time, I was lured by Bon Appetit's cover shoot of Alice Medrich's brownies. I decided to elevate the gourmet quotient by browning the butter and adding a healthy mix of plump American walnuts and flavourful little Kashmiri akhrots. And a couple of teaspoons of espresso don't hurt, either. And Toblerone chocolate chips.

I can't promise you that this will be my regular brownie recipe. But what I can promise you is that if you're on my A-list, you'll probably get a little parcel of these soon enough!

And fellow brownie-connoisseurs, don't turn your nose up at cocoa brownies... you might have to bite your words. Taste wholly/holy yum with a slice of brownie and glass of cold milk.

Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts


10 tablespoons (150 g) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups powdered white sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 teaspoons water/ brewed coffee
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs, chilled
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 cup walnut pieces, chopped


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C or 350 F.

Place aluminium foil over an 8 x 8" pan, leaving some over the edges so you can pull up the brownies with ease. Grease the pan, keep aside.

Browning butter:

Cut the butter into tablespoonfuls for the sole purpose of ease.

In a heavy bottomed pan, add the butter. Heat it over medium heat. The butter should bubble up, and you should keep stirring this.

When the froth clears up, check the bottom of the pan to see if brown bits have formed. If it has, STOP. It's better to under brown than burn. You'll know when this gorgeous smell permeates through every nook of the kitchen.

Take the butter off the heat. Immediately stir in the cocoa, sugar, water/coffee and salt. Beat until well-combined. It will be gritty, so don't panic. You can use a hand-mixer.

Let this cool for 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at time, stirring until well-combined. Fold in the flour with a spatula.

Stir in the nuts. Pour the batter out into the prepared pan. I added a handful of chocolate chips (fashioned out of Toblereone) and created a swirly pattern.

Bake for 20 minutes, and start checking. You don't want to over bake it... it needs to have a shiny shell on top, and pure fudge-y goodness underneath. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Pull it out of the pan with the foil overhang, and cool for two more minutes. Cut into 16 squares.

If you cut it too soon, it'll crumble and make an almighty delicious mess. Perks of being the cook.

You'll have to taste. As I did.

I put these brownies in a Ziploc bag when they were FULLY cool. And then hid them in the last place that people would look.

Apparently, it can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight box for about 48 hours. Apparently.


  1. The best brownie ever tasted....proof....the bag is empty !!!!!!!

  2. Thank you so much, Antony!! Hope Shiny got to taste some too!

  3. @ Everyone reading this: It's true, she's not a picky eater. She'll have two nibbles of everything impartially. And then starve for a week. :P

    Rab, you owe me them brownies. I got a 'coupon'. :)

  4. "A-list" literally???;) absolutely loved them!!! the best batch of brownies, ever!:)

  5. Yummmieeeeee!!!! Loved it ...:-)best brownie i hav ever tasted :-)

  6. Ya, shine got some too. Arch told me 100 times today to take some for her. And not just tat, my mom loved it !! And don t worry much abt making excellent sambar, we ll meet up soon and shine will tell u how to make the best sambar. She s a pro in sambar :-)

  7. Shiny & Antony: You guys are probably the coolest/sweetest friends Archana has (apart from me) ;) Happy anniversary! And yes, I need sambar lessons :)

  8. Archana: Except for you, in all obviousness.

    C: Coupon has limited validity. So get your skinny ass down to Madras soon, and we'll see what can be done. :)