Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pecan Brownies

I haven't baked for weeks, so last night, to get rid of the baking bug(and also because I didn't have anything for the kids to bring to school in the morning), I baked some pecan brownies as well as batch of brownie cupcakes (I'll put those in the next post).

I love my Linda Collister book, simply entitled, "Brownies". The ingredients and methods used are simple and straight-forward, yet yield glorious results! Besides, yummy, dense, fudgy brownies are a sure hit with just about anybody!

I had a packet of pecans which had been sitting around for a while, so I decided to make the 'Old-fashioned brownies' and replace the walnuts with pecans instead. Unfortunately, when I toasted my pecans in the oven, I managed to burn them (one of the many hazards of multi-tasking). Luckily I had some extra left, but it was less than the required amount, so my brownies turned out a little too sweet, because there were not enough nuts to balance out the sweetness.

The overall texture however was simply divine. When baking brownies and checking for doneness, it's always better to err on the undercooked side. Under-baked 'fudgy'ness is much preferred to over-baked dryness.

So, anyway, this is the recipe below, with the walnuts being replaced by pecans in the right amount (i.e.: not the amount I used!) :)

Oh yes, they are called old-fashioned because they use only cocoa powder, instead of plain chocolate and cocoa powder. That is how is was done, traditionally; only cocoa powder was used, to balance out the large amount of sugar required to produce the fudgy texture.

Old-fashioned Brownies

100g pecan pieces
4 large free-range eggs
300g castor sugar
140g unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
140g plain flour
75g cocoa powder
a 20.5cm x 25.5cm brownie tin, greased and base-lined (I just used a 9"x9" shallow tin)

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C (325 degrees F).
Put the pecan pieces in tray and lightly toast in the oven for about 8-10 minutes. (I strongly recommend you keep and eye on them!)
Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Don't turn off the oven!

Meanwhile, break the eggs into a mixing bowl.
Whisk until frothy, then whisk in the sugar.
Whisk for a minute, then still whisking continuously, add the melted butter in a steady stream.
Whisk for another minute, then whisk in the vanilla.

Sieve the flour and cocoa into the bowl and stir in with a wooden spoon.
When thoroughly combined, stir in the nuts.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and spread evenly.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes until a skewer inserted halfway between the sides and the centre comes out just clean.
Remove the tin from the oven.

Leave to cool completely before removing from the tin and cutting into 16 pieces.
Store in an airtight container and eat within 5 days. (They won't last that long, trust me...)

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