Brownie Success Tips
Use the size pan specified in the recipe. To check the width
of a pan, measure across the top from inside edge to inside edge.
Cut the baked brownie recipe into bars, squares or other shapes when completely cool
unless the recipe specifies differently. This helps prevent the bars from
Store bar cookies or brownies in a tightly covered
container, or leave them in the pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
Pecan Fudge Brownies
(about 5-1/4 ounces) pecan halves or large pieces (see Note)
10 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, divided
3 ounces good-quality unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into thin slices
1/2 cup sifted unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. orange liqueur
2 tsp. vanilla
6 eggs, graded "large", beaten to combine, preferably at room temperature
3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
If the pecans are in large pieces, use as is; if they're in halves, break up the
halves into coarse chunks with your fingers. Adjust rack to center of oven;
preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place pecan pieces in single layer in shallow
pan. Toast in preheated oven for 9 to 12 minutes, or until very fragrant and a
very light golden color. Stir frequently and watch carefully; nuts can burn
easily. Remove to cooling rack and allow to cool completely before using. (This
can be done up to one day in advance).
While nuts cool (or, if you have toasted the nuts in advance, as preparation),
chop 8 ounces of the semisweet chocolate into small chunks (no larger than about
1/4 inch on each side) and place chunks into a medium bowl. Set aside at room
temperature. Finely chop remaining 2 ounces of semisweet chocolate; place into
heavy-bottomed, nonaluminum 3 quart pot along with finely chopped unsweetened
chocolate. Set aside at room temperature.
Line a 13 by 9 pan (at least 1-1/2 inches deep) with heavy-duty aluminum foil,
shiny side up, so there's some overhang on all edges; fold any overhang back
against the outer edges of the pan. Smooth out as many creases as possible
inside the pan. Set aside. Combine the cooled toasted pecans with the chocolate
chunks in the medium bowl.
Place butter slices into a 3-quart pot with chopped chocolates. Set pot over
very low heat and stir almost constantly until almost melted. Remove from heat;
stir until completely melted and smooth. Add cocoa powder; whisk in briskly
until most lumps are dissolved. Scrape pot sides and bottom with rubber spatula.
Cool mixture 15 minutes; while it cools, adjust rack to center of oven and
preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
When chocolate mixture has cooled 15 minutes, add granulated sugar, liqueur,
vanilla, and salt. With large spoon, stir thoroughly to mix well (mixture will
have the texture of wet sand). Add beaten eggs in 3 additions, carefully beating
in each addition until combined (when eggs have all been added, batter texture
should be smooth). Scrape pot bottom and sides with rubber spatula. Add flour;
stir in just until almost incorporated. Add chocolate chunks and pecans and stir
in until evenly distributed.
Turn into prepared pan. With back of large spoon, spread level; make certain
batter is pushed into corners of pan. Bake in preheated oven 26 to 31 minutes,
turning pan back-to-front once about halfway through baking time. When done, a
toothpick inserted near center of brownies will emerge with a number of moist
crumbs still clinging to it (be sure you don't stick your toothpick into a chunk
of melted chocolate--if you have doubts, use a clean toothpick and try again in
a different area). Do not overbake!
Remove brownies to cooling rack. Cool completely before covering airtight; allow
to age at room temperature overnight before cutting and serving. To cut, remove
block of brownies (still in foil) from pan; gently peel back foil from sides of
brownies. Use a large, sharp knife (try both a straight edge and a serrated edge
to see what works best for you). I like to trim about 1/4 inch off each edge
first. You'll have to rinse the knife blade under warm water, then shake it off
well (or dry it) frequently, as these brownies tend to stick to the knife blade.
Wrap each brownie individually in plastic wrap to prevent drying out. Serve
within a day or two, or freeze for longer storage.
YIELD: 36-42 Brownies