Updated Sep 3, 2015Chatelaine
- Preheat oven to 325F (160C). Spread nuts out on a baking sheet. Toast until lightly golden and fragrant, 8 to 12 min. Stir halfway through. Leave oven on. If using hazelnuts, wrap in a kitchen towel and let steam for 1 min. Then rub hazelnuts in towel to remove skins. When nuts are completely cool, coarsely chop.
- Meanwhile, coat or spray an 8-in. (2-L) square baking dish with oil. In a small bowl, using a fork, stir flour with cocoa and salt. Using a serrated knife, coarsely chop chocolate. Place in a medium-size bowl along with butter.
- Microwave chocolate and butter on medium until almost melted, about 3 min. Use a rubber spatula to stir chocolate halfway through microwaving. Then stir until smooth. Or place chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan and set over low heat. Stir constantly until melted. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk eggs, then sugar and vanilla. Using a spatula, scrape in cooled chocolate mixture, then stir until evenly mixed. Gradually stir in flour mixture, just until almost mixed. (Overmixing toughens brownies.) Stir in nuts until evenly distributed. Spread batter in baking dish. Smooth top.
- Bake until edges are firm and middle is set, 35 to 45 min. Don’t overbake. (A toothpick inserted in the centre may have chocolatey crumbs clinging to it.) Remove pan to a rack and cool. Cut into squares. Brownies will keep well, covered, at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer up to 1 month.
Love chocolate but don’t have a sweet tooth? Create a richer, less-sweet flavour by substituting bittersweet for semi-sweet chocolate.
Spice them up with generous pinches of cinnamon, nutmeg or cayenne. Stir into flour before adding to egg mixture.
Go all out by stirring 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped Skor bars, toffee bits or dried cranberries into batter along with nuts.
Make Ahead Tip:
Cover brownies and store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.