How to Make Double-Chocolate Brownies

3 of 5 in Series: The Essentials of Inexpensive Chocolate Gifts from Your Kitchen

These homemade double-chocolate brownies are an economical addition to holiday gift baskets. The two kinds of chocolate in this recipe make an intensely fudgy brownie. But because you really shouldn’t live by chocolate alone, you can add all sorts of ingredients to vary the experience, and make this brownie anything but basic.

Double-Chocolate Brownies

Special equipment: Parchment paper

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 26 to 28 minutes

Yield: Sixteen 2-inch squares

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

2 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup flour

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, sifted

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-x-8-inch pan with parchment or wax paper. Grease lightly. Set aside.

  2. Melt the butter and the chocolate over low heat in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Stir in the sugar.

  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring until incorporated. Add the vanilla; stir. Add the flour, cocoa, and salt. Stir until smooth. Add the nuts.

    Vary it! Replace the vanilla extract with another flavor: peppermint, almond, rum, orange, or coconut, for example.

  4. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 26 to 28 minutes. Test with a wooden toothpick. A moist, not wet, crumb should cling to the toothpick when removed.

  5. Remove from the oven. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into 16 squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

To vary the recipe, leave out the walnuts and put in any one of the following ingredients or a combination of the following ingredients to equal 3/4 cup: semisweet chocolate chips, chopped pecans, peanuts, pistachios, almonds, coconut, raisins, dried cherries, dried cranberries, dried apricots (chopped), dried pears (chopped), mini chocolate-covered candy pieces, or chocolate-covered raisins.

If you want to experiment even further, put 1/2 cup of the ingredients in the batter and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup on top of the batter for an attractive presentation.

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The Essentials of Inexpensive Chocolate Gifts from Your Kitchen

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