If one is going to take the trouble to make chocolate brownies, and incur the wrath of the Fat-god for eating them, one may as well make them right. Brownies from a box? No thank you.
I got this chocolate brownie recipe years ago from my dear friend Suzanne, who had adapted it from an Alice Medrich recipe from the book Bittersweet: Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate she found in Epicurious.
Suzanne uses the same method and proportions, but instead of using vanilla, she flavors the brownies strongly with almond extract. So good!
They are the kind of brownie that can’t make up their mind whether they would rather be cake or fudge. The almond extract gives these brownies a wonderful flavor, a perfect blend with the cocoa and pecans.
Recipe updated, first published 2005.
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks, 140 g) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups (250 g) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (85 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cold large eggs
- 1/2 cup (65 g) all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup (90 g) pecan pieces
1 Preheat oven and line baking pan: Preheat oven to 325°F (160°F), with a rack in the lower third of the oven.
Line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper in such a way as there is an overhang on two opposite sides to make it easy to lift the brownies out when they’re done.
2 Heat butter, cocoa, sugar, salt in a bowl over simmering water: Place the butter, cocoa, sugar, and salt in a medium-sized metal bowl. Fill a large skillet halfway with water and bring to a bare simmer. Set the bowl of the butter cocoa mixture in skillet of simmering water.
Stir the butter cocoa mixture until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth and hot to touch.
Remove the bowl from the skillet and let it cool down a bit, from hot to warm.
3 Stir in almond extract, eggs, flour, beat with spoon, add pecans: Stir in the almond extract. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, beating strongly after each addition.
Once the batter is well mixed and shiny and thick, stir in the flour. Beat for 40 strokes with a wooden spoon.
Mix in the pecans.
4 Pour batter into lined pan: Pour the batter into the prepared lined pan and smooth the surface evenly.
5 Bake: Bake 20 to 25 minutes at 325°F (160°C), until a bamboo skewer or toothpick inserted into the center comes still a little moist with the brownie batter. Cool completely on a rack.
6 Cut: When cooled, lift up the sides of the foil or parchment liner to remove the brownies from the pan. Place them on a cutting board and cut into 16 to 25 squares or rectangles.