Sunday, March 20, 2011

Iced Walnut Brownies

Today has been a sweets and treats sort of day. This morning I went to the Fremantle Market where I discovered an Indian vendor selling all sorts of Indian sweets. Being curious, I pretty much bought one of all. I'd never even heard of half of these desserts before, but had so much fun trying them out. There was almond burfi, mango peda, jalebi, ladoo, and some others that I can't remember (note: I'm sure there are tons of spelling variations if you look any of these up). Some were great, some just different, and some not quite my ideal dessert. Regardless, it was exciting learning about some new foods and tasting new flavors. And it made me want to bake when I got home. I decided I'd make some walnut brownies since I had the ingredients at home (and the local shops are closed on Sunday). I found a recipe that sounded good, had almost all positive reviews and seemed pretty foolproof.

The results were a moist and chocolaty, took 15 minutes to prepare, and were completely fuss-free (I was in no mood for high maintenance baking). I didn't have the right size baking pan, so I used a casserole dish instead. This works out fine, but it added 15 minutes to the baking time. I'll post the original recipe's baking times since I'm assuming most of you have regular baking pans. If you're going to make these, don't get lazy and skip the icing, it makes these brownies stand out from the everyday brownie we've all eaten. If you really want to go into sweets overload mode, serve this with some vanilla ice cream when it's still warm.

Recipe from Diana Rattray
Makes about 9 brownies
Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 20-25 minutes (or longer if using a ceramic dish)

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used Nestle baking cocoa)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 serving of icing, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl, blend butter, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs and beat well with a spoon. In a small bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually blend into wet mixture. Stir in walnuts. Spread batter in lightly greased and floured 8- or 9-inch square pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until brownies just begin to pull away from sides of pan. Prepare icing and frost while brownies are still warm (but not directly out of the oven).

For the Icing:
1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons milk
1.4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Place powdered sugar in medium mixing bowl. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat; stir in 2 tablespoons of cocoa, blending until smooth. Add milk and stir constantly over low heat until mixture has thickened slightly. Pour hot mixture over the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts. Spread warm icing over still-warm brownies.

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