Friday, February 17, 2012

Delia Smith’s Four Nut Chocolate Brownies

I was thrilled with this week’s selection from the GourmetLive 50 Women Game-Changers that I and a group of my fellow food bloggers post about each Friday.

Delia Smith is someone I’ve always heard of and wanted to know more about, especially since I love all things British! She is that country’s best selling cookbook author, with more than 21 million copies sold (according to Everything I’ve read describes her way of cookery teaching, both in her books and on television, as no-nonsense. And that was just what I experienced as I read some of her recipes.

I was intrigued by her Four Nut Chocolate Brownies recipe on her website. I loved her description of brownies, especially since everyone seems to wonder just how to tell when a batch is finished baking. She wrote, “If you’ve never made brownies before, you first need to get into the brownie mode, and to do this stop thinking ‘cakes.’ Brownies are slightly crisp on the outside but soft, damp and squidgy within. I’m always getting letters from people who think their brownies are not cooked, so once you’ve accepted the description above, try and forget all about cakes.”

Instead of the Brazil nuts and hazelnuts the recipe called for, I used almonds and walnuts along with the pecans and macadamia nuts listed in the ingredients. I also used bittersweet chocolate (60-percent cocoa solids) instead of the recipe’s dark chocolate (75-percent cocoa solids) since the darker variety wasn’t on my grocery store’s bakery aisle shelf and I didn’t want to go hunting around the store for it.

This recipe turned out wonderful. So good, in fact, that I couldn’t resist licking the batter from the spoon and bowl. (Confess, you still do that too, don’t you?) Even with the bittersweet chocolate, the brownies had a wonderfully rich chocolate flavor. Each bite was dense and chewy—almost like candy! And the mixture of nuts added a flavorful touch just a step above traditional brownies with only a single type of nut mixed in.

Four Nut Chocolate Brownies

1 ounce macadamia nuts
1 ounce Brazil nuts [I used blanched almonds]
1 ounce pecan nuts
1 ounce hazelnuts [I used walnuts]
2 ounces dark chocolate (75 percent cocoa solids) [I used bittersweet chocolate at 60 percent cocoa solids]
4 ounces salted butter
2 large eggs, beaten
8 ounces granulated sugar
2 ounces plain flour
1 level teaspoon baking powder
1/4 level teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. You will also need a well-greased oblong baking tin measuring 7 x 11 inches, lined with silicone paper (baking parchment0, allowing the paper to come 1 inch above the tin.

Begin by chopping the nuts roughly, not too small, then place them on a baking sheet and toast them in a preheated oven for 8 minutes exactly. [I only did them for 5 minutes.] Please use a timer here otherwise you’ll be throwing burned nuts away all day! While the nuts are cooking, put the chocolate and butter together in a large mixing bowl fitted over a saucepan to barely simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Allow the chocolate to melt, then beat it until smooth, remove it from the heat and simply stir in all the other ingredients until thoroughly blended.

Now spread the mixture evenly into the prepared tin and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 30 minutes or until it’s slightly springy in the centre. Remove the tin from the oven and leave it to cool for 10 minutes before cutting into roughly 15 squares. Then, using a palette knife, transfer the squares onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Also, be sure to check out my fellow food bloggers to see what they prepared to honor Delia Smith:

Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia -A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette - Healthy Living
April - Abby Sweets
Katie -Making Michael Pollan Proud
Mary - One Perfect Bite
Kathleen -Bake Away with Me
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Sue - The View from Great Island
Barbara - Movable Feasts
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds
Amy - Beloved Green
Jeanette - Healthy Living
Linda - Ciao Chow Linda
Nancy - Picadillo
Veronica - My Catholic Kitchen
Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits
Claudia – Journey of An Italian Cook
Alyce – More Time at the Table
Amrita – Beetle’s Kitchen Escapades


Amrita said...

I confess, I still lick batter from the bowl, something I've done since I was a kid (I'd wait for my mum to finish beating the batter and grab the bowl to lick clean). The brownies look delicious, I could eat them everyday and a couple at a time too! LOL

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

This is the time of year for thinking chocolate between Valentines Day and Easter. These brownies look decadent.

Sue/the view from great island said...

Wow, these do sound good. I never thought about loading brownies with lots of different kinds of nuts, but now that I read your post, it's a natural. I think you did right by omitting the Brazil nuts, though...who likes those? ;)

Anonymous said...

Lol, I like brazil nuts...and macadamia nuts, pine nuts, cashews, almonds, hazelnut, pecans—you name it. How could these be anything but delicious?

Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits said...

The last comment was mine. See, all those nuts have made me nutty.

Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits said...

I left a comment but it was deleted because I forgot my name. I was saying that these brownies cna be nothing other than delicious with all those nuts. I love any kind of nut...even Brazil nuts.

Mary Bergfeld said...

These really do sound wonderful. I'd love to join you for one. Have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

Kathy said...

Nice post! Your brownies look great!

Taryn said...

Always love a good brownie - thanks for highlighting this.

Julie said...

i make these brownies for my office colleagues and get nagged to make them again and again and. So nutty and squidgy and delicious. Julie