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Browned Butter Brownies

My 20 year old nephew has decided he loves to cook. Which works out very well for us when he comes along to the family cabin in Tofino, BC, particularly on stormy nights when we’re all settled around the fire and he decides to make brownies. I decided to show him how to make browned butter – a revelation – and it worked very well indeed. These brownies are decidedly dense and fudgy, with a slightly crackled top. I pulled out some walnuts, but he left them out; I’d add a handful next time. In big chunks, and toasted first. These would do well with white or dark chocolate chunks, too – and a hot cup of coffee or cold glass of milk. Divine.

This is also the perfect brownie to use as a base for brownie sundaes – top with a scoop of the best vanilla (or coffee!) ice cream you can find, then drizzle with hot fudge sauce (or Nutella sauce!) and a dab of whipped cream.

Browned Butter Brownies

adapted from the February, 2011 issue of Bon Appétit

3/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Swirl often until the butter melts completely, then starts to turn a nutty brown, about 5 minutes. Pour into a bowl and add sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla, and salt. Stir well, then set aside to cool slightly; after about 10 minutes, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. When mixture looks thick and shiny, stir in the flour and nuts and pour into a buttered pan.

Bake brownies until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached), about 30 minutes. Eat warm, by the fire.

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