What I also like to do have treats that everyone can enjoy, if I know I'll be baking for a group of family or friends. Our family now includes Megan's Belle Mere Sylvia - isn't that much nicer than saying "almost mother-in-law"? And, because Sylvia is very belle and can only enjoy gluten-free treats, I tried these and hoped she'd enjoy them. As it turned out, everyone who tried them loved them - including my almost-son-in-law Duncan, who doesn't usually like brownies!
Image courtesy MarthaStewart.com
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces (plus more for pan or have cooking spray handy)
1/3 cup cornstarch (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
12 ounces (1.5 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup chopped nuts. The recipe calls for toasted pecans, but I used regular walnuts.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter or use cooking spray on an 8-inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Whisk together cornstarch, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter and chocolate in 30-second increments, stirring each time until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes. Rather than trying to whisk everything by hand, I used my stand mixer for the next steps. Mix sugar and vanilla; add in eggs one at a time until combined. Add chocolate and butter mixture, followed by cornstarch mixture and mix vigorously until mixture is smooth and begins to pull away from side of bowl, about 2 minutes. My mixture didn't exactly "pull away", but the result was still good. Stir in nuts.
Pour batter into pan and smooth top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Using paper overhang, lift cake out of pan and cut into 16 squares. It's very important to allow these brownies to be *completely* cool before you cut them and they'll still look quite wet when you do, but will then dry out further to a nice fudgy texture.
Megan actually liked them so much she asked for the recipe for her office United Way fundraiser. I hope they all enjoyed them too!