This post is dedicated to a dear friend P (if you’re reading this, you know who you are).
This story dates back to the 1970’s. Back in the day, the TOI had started the ‘Pen a Friend’ innitiative. My uncle (one of my mother’s brothers while he was still in college) had registered for it. It turned out that the penfriend on the other side of a conversation was a Mexican girl. So these letters would come in from Mexico. His father would ask him to open it. He would then ask him to read out the letter in front of his entire family. My uncle would read it. Then he would write the reply to the letter under his father’s careful supervision and his father would even improvise on it. Once in the letter were pictures of some of the best tourist places of Mexico. This was the time when the word internet was hardly known and the means of such information was limited to books or a library. In this very letter she asked my uncle to send pictures of the places to visit in India… and he did. He probably sent her a pamphlet of Indian Tourism Guide. Once in the letter were stamps of her country and she had asked my uncle to send her Indian stamps. Another time there were some sample currency (not real currency) of small denominations and she had asked him to send our currency. Then one fine day, in another letter, was a picture of her. This was her introducing herself (her face) for the first time and she asked him to send his picture in his reply. And he did. A passport sized photograph. Eventually this communication link ended.
I too had a pen friend…. P is one of the most amazingly talented people i have come across in my life. P is an amature photographer, a travel enthusiast and coincidentally an ardent foodie as well. Hadn’t P expressed their obsession of various kinds of brownies and about their favourite one, I would’t have gone out of my shell and tried it out, nor even would i have perfected making it, forget even the recipe being shared on this blog.
I can fairly say that my recipe for brownies is not going to change for a very long time. If this brownie had a tag line, it would be ‘I bet you can’t have just one !’. If you are weight watching, make sure when you bake these, share them with neighbours, friends, relatives and family or else stop right there, rather go and have a piece of dark chocolate. But i insist, let the measurements be exactly the same.
The rule of the thumb: Brownies are not supposed to be cooked as cakes, but as a cookie. A crust on the top and molten (gooey) in the centre. So bake your brownies 95% and not all the way 100%.
Also the gooeyness of the brownies comes not from the butter or chocolate, but from the amount of sugar in the brownie.
Brownies taste best when eaten the next day after baking. You can always store them in the fridge or a freezer for longer time. Beware of little witches in the fridge that can make brownies shrink and disappear. 😉
Please make sure that you use unsalted butter only and not salted butter. This is very important since salted butter changes the flavour and the texture of the brownie. We will be using half a tsp of salt to bring out the flavour of the brownie.
I have used walnuts to top the brownie. Some popular topping options are other nuts of your choice (make sure not to use roasted ones since roasting them prior to baking will get them burnt) , nut paste, cookie dough, chocolate chips, nutella, marshmellows, gems, doulce de lyche, caramel you could be creative and the choices are endless. You could also add these in the batter and not just the top.
You could even spice up your brownies by using crushed cardamom seeds, mace or powdered cinnamon or star anise.
Another adventurous flavouring option is mint flavor.
Try using real chocolate and not chocolate compound. Chocolate compound is fake chocolate. Valrhona and Callibaut are popular brands of chocolate. You could even use Indian chocolate since it is more reasonable if you want but avoid using chocolate compound.
I used amul unsalted butter that comes in a blue packaging which i found at hypercity.
Weigh and gather all the equipments and ingredients prior to making the brownies.
(Double boiler / microwave)
Break the chocolate bar into bits. The safest way to melt chocolate is by using a double boiler. You could also use a microwave. For this, add the butter and chocolate in a bowl and keep the microwave setting on medium. Dont leave the chocolate in the microwave for more than 30 seconds and after every 30 seconds bring it out and whisk it. Do this till all the chocolate is melted.
Authentic brownies don’t have baking soda or baking powder in them.
Brownies taste best when had atleast a day after they are made.
Recipe for classic chocolate walnut brownies.
Things you will need:
An oven (Electric/Gas/Convection. This is not supposed to be made in a microwave)
A brownie tin. (Since I didn’t have one, I used my oven tray)
Butter paper / parchment paper
An electronic whisk with adjustable varying speeds
A silicone spatula
A mixing bowl (or any vessel large enough to hold the batter.)
A kitchen scale (To weigh all the ingredients. This is very important. Invest in a sturdy, digital, good quality one)
knife/ cake tester
Bittersweet dark chocolate 226 grams
Unsalted butter 113 grams
Castor sugar 300 grams
Pure vanilla extract or essence 1 tsp
Eggs (large) 4
Salt. 1/2 tsp
Refined Flour (Maida) 105 grams
Walnuts (coarsely chopped) 100 grams
Melt chocolate and butter using a double boiler or a microwave (carefully).
Add sugar and whisk till everything is mixed evenly.
Add vanilla and whisk again.
Add one egg and whisk till absorbed. Then add the next egg and whisk till absorbed. Do this with the remaining eggs.
Add flour and fold it in using a silicon spatula making sure that you scrape the bottom and the sides of your mixing bowl else you will be left with pockets of flour in some places.
Line a brownie tin with butter paper and pour the batter in.
Bake it in a preheated oven at 175℃ for 20-25 minutes or till a knife/ cake tester inserted in the batter sticks to the knife/ cake tester, but the batter stuck to it should look cooked.
When they are cooked, take them out and let it cool down.
Run a knife through the edges of the brownies so that they can be demoulded.
Carefully flip it into a tray and take off the mould and then flip it back from this tray into another tray so that the crust is on top.
Cut them into standard rectangular shapes. You could even cut them into any funky shapes using a cookie cutter.
On cutting them you will be able to see a horizontal line of fudge in the brownie. This is due to the amount of sugar in the brownie.
You could serve them as it is or even on a sizzler plate with ice cream topped with chocolate sauce.
You’re welcome. 😉