On the morning of our Christmas open house, with somewhere around 70 people expected to arrive in a few hours, I took final inventory of my menu and realized why I’d been having a vague feeling that something was missing: there was no chocolate to be seen. While I did deliberately cut back on the amount of sweets I was serving, I just couldn’t see setting out a food table with not one single solitary bit of chocolate goodness on it.
So, I whipped out my trusty old yellow recipe box, filled with recipes that I had carefully copied out all those years ago when I was about to launch myself into adult life. There are several brownie recipes in that treasure trove, and I chose this one mostly because it didn’t involve melting chocolate (no time!) and I had all the ingredients on hand, including a good supply of walnuts.
These brownies are dense and chewy, with a rich chocolate flavour, and filled with coarsely chopped walnuts, with more sprinkled on top for good measure. While I prefer pecans in many baked goods, there’s something about the combination of walnuts and chocolate that I quite like.
These little delights went over well at our party, and at least one person asked for the recipe. I have no idea where the original came from, so I present it here with thanks and grateful attribution to whoever first created it.
Nut-Topped Cocoa Brownies
Preheat oven to 350º F. Butter a 9-inch baking pan, then line with two criss-crossing 9-inch wide lengths of parchment paper that extend higher than the sides of the pan. Butter the top sheet lightly. The number of servings? That depends on how big you cut the brownies! I make mine on the small side because it’s more fun when you eat two.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 cup very coarsely chopped walnuts
Cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the vanilla and eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Add the cocoa and blend in. Stir in the other dry ingredients, then 1/2 cup of the nuts.
Spread the batter in the prepared pan, taking care to get it relatively even. This takes a bit of work as it’s a stiff batter, but nothing too onerous. Scatter the remaining nuts stylishly over the top. Bake about 25 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
Cool in the pan, then cut into squares and serve.
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Actually, I’m still so amazed that you had an Open House with so many guests! My knees are shaking at the mere thought of it. I don’t think I’d know what to make and when to serve it, you make it all sound so natural and easy to do. You should write an entertaining cookbook, something called Open House so the rest of us can just open it up and make recipes based on the number of guests. How awesome would that be.. and I know I’d love all of your recipes, Mar!
Wow, Barb, your comment really blew me away! Really, the open house wasn’t the heights of elegance or sophistication, just easy food and an emphasis on everyone having fun. Your book suggestion has me thinking though … 😊
I have all the ingredients to make your brownies, I just need to crack the walnuts. I too prefer pecans in my baking but after seeing the photos of those delicious looking brownies I think I better get cracking.
Happy to have been of inspiration! Do let me know how your brownies turn out. I confess: I bought my walnuts already shelled. It would be fun to start with the cracker, though! Hmm, a good job for the Culinary Enthusiast, I think.