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March 22, 2007

Heaven & Hell Brownies

Yeah, this year Nick decided he's staying the same age. And in honor of his decision, I suggested that I make him brownies again, just like last year. The only difference is that this year I used pecans instead of macadamia nuts but that doesn't matter, right?
I'm not a huge fan of chocolate. In fact, I actually despise chocolate ice cream, but I like these brownies. In fact, I dare say they are the best brownie I've ever made. My friend, who's a brownie expert, says these brownies are both from heaven because they taste so amazing and hell because they are so fattening, so that's what I call them. My son even liked them and he usually shies away from anything that has nuts.

I used Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownie recipe which is from her book, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. However, I substituted three cups of chopped pecans for the walnuts (chopped macadamia nuts are a great substitution too).  semisweet chocolate chips, I decided to utilize some of my collection of rouge chips from previous recipes. This was pure genius! I used 4 oz of Toll House chips, 2 oz of mini-chocolate chips, also from Toll House, 4 oz of Callebaut chunks, and the kicker, 2 oz of big, fat Guittard chips. These chips didn't really melt and created little pockets of rich, chunky chocolate flavor. This variety of shapes, favors, and sizes of chocolate chips really makes these brownies special....just like Nick! Happy Birthday!

Heaven and Hell Brownies
Yield: A lot! It all depends on how big you want them, but it yields about 30-40 servings

1 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 pound high-quality semisweet chocolate chips
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (I recommend the following quantities/types of chocolate chips: 4 oz of Toll House regular sized chips, 2 oz of Toll House mini-chocolate chips, 4 oz of Callebaut chunks, 2 oz of big, fat Guittard chips
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (1 cup for batter and 1/4 cup in the chips and nuts)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups chopped pecans, macadamias, cashews, or walnuts - this is totally optional. The brownies will still come out great without the added nuts. Just decrease the cooking time to about 25 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 13 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.  (I use Pam with Flour) Be sure to get the corners and edges!

Melt together the butter, 1 pound chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly.
Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.

Stir together 1 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the nuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips with 1/4 cup flour to coat. (FYI - this helps the nuts and chips to be suspended in the batter and not sink to the bottom during cooking.) Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Also rotate the pan halfway to ensure even baking. Do not over-bake! Cool thoroughly before cutting into squares. Store in an air tight container.


    1. Nick is a classy guy who deserves a real quality brownie -- and daaaaaamn, that's what he got! These are delicious. I hope his birthday comes around more often.


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