My Romantically Delicious Fudge Brownies

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Wolfgang PuckI like to plan my Valentine’s Day presents ahead of time. And more often than not that means making something delicious with chocolate. What could be more romantic than sharing the taste of chocolate with the one you love? One of my favorite ways to prepare chocolate for my Valentine is to make rich, fudgy brownies. The recipe I share with you here is a perfect version, for a number of reasons. Click here for Wolfgang Puck's full introduction.

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Ingredients

  • 8 oz. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 3/4 lb. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp. instant espresso powder or crystals, diluted in 1 tablespoon hot water (optional)
  • 1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 C. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 C. coarsely chopped walnuts or other nuts

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Directions

Position the rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan, or coat it with nonstick spray; dust its bottom and sides with a little flour, tapping out excess flour into the sink. Set aside.

In the top of a double boiler or medium heatproof bowl set over but not touching simmering water, combine the butter pieces, chopped chocolate, and, if using, the diluted espresso. Stir until the chocolate has almost melted, but not quite completely. Turn off the heat, stir again, and leave to melt completely.

In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large heatproof mixing bowl set over but not touching simmering water, whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla until the sugar dissolves. Transfer the mixture to the large bowl of an electric mixer and, on high speed using paddle or beaters, beat until pale yellow. (Alternatively, leave the mixture in its bowl, away from the heat, and beat with a handheld electric mixer).

Scrape in the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula, reduce the mixer speed to medium, and continue beating until well mixed. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, continuing to beat just until combined. Add half of the walnuts and beat them in at low speed just until combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining nuts evenly over the top.

Bake until the brownies pull away from the side of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To serve, use a table knife to cut the brownies in the pan into 9 squares, removing them with a spatula. Serve as is or with softly whipped cream or ice cream of your choice.

Yield: 9 servings

(Chef Wolfgang Puck’s TV series, “Wolfgang Puck’s Cooking Class,” airs Sundays on the Food Network. Also, his latest cookbook, “Wolfgang Puck Makes It Easy,” is now available in bookstores. Write Wolfgang Puck in care of Tribune Media Services Inc., 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, N.Y. 14207.)

©2007 TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

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