Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cinnamon Walnut Fudge Brownies

I went a little overboard and I am so very glad I did. These decadent mounds of fudgey chocolate sure knocked my socks off as well as those of my family and friends. How good could these possible be, you ask? Well, I told my son that if you get all smiley faces at school, you can have this brownie when I pick you up today. No, I am not above blatant bribery. After two weeks of mixed reviews on behavior, an angel child emerged and the teachers at daycare practically fell over themselves to let me know that he was perfect at school today. He was so good that when another little boy hit him and tried to start a fight, my little guy walked away. Picture me doing my happy dance for this glorious news! Pathetic that my life is now dictated by smiley faces on a tiny little slip of paper everyday? Perhaps. But, through all of the hair loss, wrinkle inducing, maddening, exhausted beyond recognition moments that I experience as a single parent, I would not have it any other way. My little man is a gregarious, outgoing and spirited kid that may drive me nuts but his charm and sweet nature more than make up for it. He rocks and I am one lucky Mom!

So, about these brownies. I am very particular about brownies as I usually find them uneventful. Enter cinnamon. I am a cinnamon fanatic and I put it on everything from my coffee, to oatmeal, anything with curry and of course, chocolate. I have become a huge fan of Alexandra's Kitchen and her brownies looked sublime. That and it's the only recipe that I could find which included ingredients that were already in my kitchen and would not require a trip to the grocery store. The only issue was that I tend to get bored with just plain chocolate and I wanted to add a little something to punch up the flavor. I thought of chocolate chips, marshmallows, the left over Dulce de Leche in the fridge, chocolate syrup, chili powder, dried cranberries, let your imagination run wild here. In the end, I went with my two favorite ingredients, cinnamon and walnuts. I personally think the cinnamon carried the flavor over the top more so than coffee has been able to with other brownie recipes I have made. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did! AJ

Recipe adapted from Alexandra's Kitchen


8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter; plus more for the pan
15¼ oz. (2 cups) granulated sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2½ oz (¾ cup) unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
3 oz (2/3 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour; plus more for the pan
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. table salt
1/2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and position rack in the center of the oven. Cut 12-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length 8-inch baking pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhand pan edges. Cut another 12-inch length foil and, fit into width of baking pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the sugar and whisk until well combined. Add the beaten eggs and vanilla and whisk until well blended. In a large separate bowl whisk together the cocoa, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Transfer butter mixture to bowl with flour and stir with spatula or wooden spoon until batter is smooth. Add in walnuts and mix with spatula just until combined.

3. Spread into prepared pan and bake for approximately 37-40 minutes. Insert a pairing knife or steak knife straight into center. If it comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs, the brownies are done. Let cool completely in pan on rack.

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