Friday, February 17, 2012

Delia Smith’s Four Nut Chocolate Brownies

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 blanched almonds
1 ounce pecans
1 ounce walnuts
2 ounces 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. Line a  7 x 11-inch baking dish with parchment paper, allowing the paper to come 1 inch above the sides.

Chop the nuts, not too small, then place them on a baking sheet. Toast them in the oven for 5-8 minutes. Use a timer so you don't burn the nuts.  While the nuts toast, put the chocolate and butter together in a large mixing bowl fitted over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Allow the chocolate to melt, then mix until smooth. Remove it from the heat and stir in all the ingredients until thoroughly blended.

Now spread the mixture evenly into the prepared baking dish.  Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until it’s slightly springy in the center. Remove from the oven and leave it to cool for 10 minutes before cutting into roughly 15 squares. Then transfer the squares onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

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  1. 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

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

  3. 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? ;)

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

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

  6. 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.

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

  8. Nice post! Your brownies look great!

  9. Always love a good brownie - thanks for highlighting this.

  10. 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

  11. My favorite favorite food to make is chocolate brownies. Pecans, walnuts, almonds, and peanuts are what I put in my brownies. Sometimes I put cake frosting over all of my brownies. The smell of chocolate brownies in the oven is heavenly. Suddenly I am in the mood for chocolate brownies. A trip to the grocery store is in order tomorrow. Thanks for your wonderful post.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it and hope your brownies were tasty!