If one is going to take the trouble to make chocolate brownies, and incur the wrath of the Fat-god for eating them, one may as well make them right. Brownies from a box? No thank you. This is my dear friend Suzanne’s recipe, which she originally got from Epicurious and modified to use almond extract in place of the vanilla (the original recipe calls for 1/2 tsp of vanilla). They are the kind of brownie that can’t make up their mind whether they would rather be cake or fudge. The almond extract gives these brownies a wonderful flavor, a perfect blend with the cocoa and pecans.
Suzanne’s Best Brownies Recipe
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 2 cold large eggs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup pecan pieces
1 Position a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil. Leave an overhang on the sides of the pan with the paper or foil to make it easier to lift out the brownies from the pan after they've cooked.
2 Place the butter, cocoa, sugar, and salt in a medium-sized metal bowl. Fill a large skillet halfway with water and bring to a bare simmer. Set the bowl of the butter cocoa mixture in skillet of simmering water. Stir the butter cocoa mixture until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth and hot to touch. Remove the bowl from the skillet and let it cool down a bit, from hot to warm.
3 Stir in the almond extract. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, beating briefly after each addition. Once the batter is well mixed and shiny and thick, stir in the flour. Beat for 40 strokes with a wooden spoon. Mix in the pecans. Pour the batter into the prepared lined pan and smooth the surface evenly.
4 Bake 20 to 25 minutes at 325°F, until a bamboo skewer or toothpick inserted into the center comes still a little moist with the brownie batter. Cool completely on a rack. When cooled, lift up the sides of the foil or parchment liner to remove the brownies from the pan. Place them on a cutting board and cut into 16 to 25 squares or rectangles.