When I was young, I loved to bake. I had no idea what I was doing, nor did I have any recipes or the internet, so I mostly just baked from the box. My mom had a few cookbooks and lots of magazines, but I was a kid and didn't have the patience to sit down and flip through them all, I had forts to build and video games to play, and besides, making a recipe from a box was a pretty big novelty at that time. My specialties included but were not limited to brownies, vanilla cake, and blueberry and carrot muffins. I thought it was amazing. Not a lot of room for error with the packaged ingredients, so everything that I made practically turned out delicious. I think it really worked as a self-confidence boost.
Long gone are the days of quick and easy baking preparations. Now when I bake, it usually involves recipe testing multiple batches, a few trips to the grocery store, and a lot of time and money spent. I don't know why, but I always have the most difficulties trying to perfect cookie recipes. It's all part of the process though when you are a food blogger, you're always trying to come up with a new great recipe or perfect the one you already have. I imagine most food bloggers, including myself, are very type A.
Since the beginning of the year, I have had such a craving for brownies. This year, I have seen so many brownie recipes on my Instagram and Pinterest feed, it has really inspired me to come up with one that will satisfy what I am looking for in a brownie, without using a box mix, because boxed brownies are so dang delicious. There are two kinds of brownies, cakey and fudgy. I prefer the fudgy brownie, but I'll never say no to a cake brownie. I prefer mine with some sort of frosting/ganache, but I'm not opposed to eating it plain. Generally, I don't like nuts in my baked goods, but my taste preferences seem to be changing as I get older, and now I am all over the seedy/nutty baked goods. I think it's because in the back of my mind I'm saying - nuts have healthy fats and if I add them this dessert it will, therefore, be healthy.
These brownies are rich and chocolatey, slightly salty, very fudgy, with a slight crunch from the nuts. I ended up cutting the 9 slices into eighteen because they really are quite rich. It's worked out better in the long run because it just means that I'll have more brownies!
BROWNIES WITH A CHOCOLATE GANACHE
recipe adapted from
makes 9 brownies
prep time: 20 minutes
baking time: 20 minutes
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp light tasting oil
1 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
pinch of salt
4 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the butter, oil, and sugar with a whisk or hand mixer until well incorporated.
Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt into the bowl. Fold with a spatula until just combined.
Pour the batter into the pan and smooth with a spatula.
Place into the oven on the top shelf, and bake for 20 - 22 minutes. The batter should be set, but still a bit soft to touch. Remove from the oven and let cool.
In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and heavy cream. Set to the side to let cool.
Once the ganache and brownies have cooled, pour the ganache over the brownies and then top with hazelnuts. Cut brownies into squares. Once the ganache has fully cooled and set on the brownies, you should then be able to store them in a container without making a mess. At first, the ganache will appear very liquidy, but over time, it will set into a more solidified form.
Can be stored in the fridge for a week, or the freezer for 2 months.