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There is nothing that beats just-warm brownies and a little glass of cold milk when it is snowing. The first snowfall of the season is exciting and everyone heads outdoors. By the second or third, snow starts looking like work, people get cold, and the kitchen beckons. A good way to keep family and friends busy and happy is to put them to work making brownies.
This is my adaptation for Switzerland of an old James Beard brownie recipe, which I consider one of the best. Susan Mosse in Ireland, a wonderful cook and baker, introduced me to it 30 years ago, and it wasn’t new then.
Notes: some ingredients have varying amounts as a matter of taste only. This recipe is from the bad old days of calories, sugar, fats, and it simply isn’t the same if you use substitutes, so don’t. Invite a crowd to avoid eating them all yourself if the calories worry you.
Swiss cooking chocolate has some sugar in it, so US recipes calling for unsweetened chocolate have to be adjusted, as has been done here.
1/2 cup (115 grams) softened butter – no substitutes!
180-200 grams Swiss baking chocolate (menage)
1-1/2 cup (340 grams) granulated sugar
2 eggs, 50-60 grams
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup (250 ml) white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 to 1 cup broken walnuts
Melt butter and chocolate over low heat. Remove from heat, stir well.
Stir in sugar.
Beat in eggs and vanila.
Quickly stir in flour, salt and nuts, just enough to lightly mix.
Spread into non-stick or buttered pan, 8 x 10 inches, or 9 x 12 inches (21 x 26 cm or the equivalent volume).
Bake at 180C or 170 in a fan oven, 35 minutes for the smaller pan size, 30 minutes for the larger, and five minutes less if you have a fan oven. Do not overbake!
To test for doneness: the top will not spring back like a cake when you touch it, but it should resist a bit. Use a sharp knife or baking tester stick, which should come out clean when put into the center.
IMPORTANT: Cut into squares with a lightly buttered or greased knife (I use a plastic salad knife) while still slightly warm, but let cool for two hours, to set, before eating.