Bake it to the limit

I was given a brownie recipe from our friend Nola; it’s great!  I’ve made it twice now.  I made it for relatively large groups of people so I doubled the recipe she gave me.  Use a nine inch by 13” pan or cut the recipe in half and use and use an eight inch by eight inch pan. 

I am a baking neophyte and Nola was patient in dealing with all my questions.  She also pointed out something I never bothered to think about; the importance of geometry in baking.  The recipe she gave me was intended for an eight inch by eight inch pan, so if I wanted to double the recipe, what size pan should I use so I don’t have to change the cooking time? 

Ok, I know it’s not rocket science, but since I am doubling the volume of the mix, and I want to keep the cooking time the same, it’s the thickness of the brownie I want to keep the same.  To do that I need a pan with double the area (8” x 8” = 64 x 2 = 128  A 9” x 14” would have been nice (126, but all I had was a 9”x13” and it worked just fine.  I had to extend the cooking time a bit, but I just checked the brownies with a knife to make sure it was done in the center. 

So, without further ado; the recipe:

  • 2/3 cup butter (sweet/unsalted)
  • 4 oz. Baker’s chocolate (I like unsweetened or semisweet)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup walnuts

Preheat the oven to 325F.  Add butter and chocolate to a sauce pan or double boiler.  I recommend the double-boiler to avoid burning the chocolate and butter.  Also, you may want to slice the butter into 0.5” thick squares to facilitate melting; break up the chocolate too for the same reason before adding to the saucepan/double-boiler.  While the butter and choc are melting, beat the eggs and set aside.  After the butter and choc have melted, and have been mixed well with a spatula, remove from the heat, and mix in the sugar, then the egg (about one egg at a time), then the flour, salt, and vanilla extract.  Fold the flour in a little at a time until the consistencey is nice, smooth, and homogenous; then add the walnuts and mix well.  Lastly pour in the pan and bake for 30 min.  No need to butter the pan, the brownies will come out after baking and cooling.  Before removing the brownies from the oven, test them by poking the middle with a toothpick or knife to make sure they are done, and if so, remove and let cool for at least 30 min (if you can wait).  Then cut into squares, remove with a thin spatula, and bust out the milk. 

Next time I make this I am going to substitute the walnuts with some toasted hazelnuts and call them Nutella brownies.  We’ll see how that turns out. 

Que aproveche!


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