Truthfully, it was closer to 10:00 p.m. and baking was probably the last thing I should have been doing since I've no one to really share baked goods with these days and I certainly don't need to be eating a whole batch of anything myself. Thankfully, I have a neighbor upstairs that has stepped up and has very happily been playing the role of taste tester, so all is not lost.
It was nothing fancy that came out of the oven last night. Just a pan of brownies. Though these brownies did have a few ingredients tweaked, because if I don't tweak every now and again, I wouldn't be me. I opened the Italian Pantry the other day and almost had the bag of chestnut flour fall on my head. Yes, the Italian Pantry is living up to its name, still well-stocked. I took the falling bag of flour as a sign that I should do something with it. While I think about making Castagnaccio, last night I wanted to make something not too far out of the ordinary. I'm warming up to brownies. They're kind of comforting in their chewy, chocolatey richness.
I really really like chestnut flour. There's a smokey sweetness to it that I can't compare to anything else I've tasted. It lends itself fabulously to the dark chocolate I used here. I didn't use baking chocolate. You know those huge 1lb+ bars they sell at Trader Joe's? No? Well, that's what went in these brownies. It's a total bargain if you have a massive sweet tooth, are a chocoholic, or just want to make sure you've got chocolate around when it's late at night and you want to bake brownies. I'm also thinking of the Chestnut Cherry cookies I made last Christmas and bet that cherries in those brownies would take it just that right step beyond. Next time.
Chocolate Chestnut Brownies
(Adapted from a recipe in Martha Stewart's Cookies)
Makes 16 brownies
6 tbsp unsalted butter
6 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup chestnut flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 inch baking dish with parchment and grease parchment with a small amount of butter. In a small bowl, add the butter, chopped chocolate, and cocoa powder. Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir frequently to melt the chocolate and butter. When everything has melted, remove from heat and let it cool slightly. In a another bowl, add the sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Whisk until light and fluffy either by hand or with an electric mixer. Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a third bowl. Add the chocolate mixture to the eggs and sugar, mixing well until combined. Slowly add the flour, making sure to mix all the ingredients well.
Pour batter into baking pan, spreading out to corners. Bake until cake tester inserted in center comes out fairly clean, about 30-35 minutes. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing from pan and letting brownies finish cooling on rack.