I’m always on the lookout for a good frosted brownie.  Always.  I love my fudgy brownies  and they are my “go to” brownies…but Rob loves and often asks for a frosted one.  I made these thinking they were frosted, but they were really glazed – so I’m actually still on the lookout for Rob.  But despite the glaze/frosting misunderstanding, these were delicious!  Our friend Rob (another Rob) liked them so very much.  He was impressed that with all the other desserts I offered – that a simple brownie stood out.  Waaay out.  I found these in Great Cookies by Carole Walter.  Carole’s write up was so compelling that I had to try them.  I didn’t change too much although I really loved the glaze in the espresso brownies so I put the two together.  I added some chocolate chips to the top – just to continue the chocolate overdose theme and wow, great.  These are a little bit crumbly – but if I can say so –  in a really good way.  I loved them as the base of a mini brownie sundae I ate Sunday night.  Super mini, but delicious with my coffee ice cream. I will however, continue to try and test for a true frosted brownie, and a cakey brownie as well as a cracked topped brownie…as that is half of the fun!  Enjoy-

glazed nutty brownies (adapted from Great Cookies by Carole Walter):
8 oz bittersweet chocolate – coarsely chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter – room temp for 15 m
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs (room temp)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (best if toasted first for 6-10 minutes in a 325 degree oven – until fragrant)

4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 teaspoon salt

chocolate chips – 1/2 cup to 1 cup depending on you (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line your pan with foil so that it comes over the edges of the pan.  You can do this with parchment too.  (That way, when cooked, you can pull the brownies from the pan – holding onto the foil – in one quick and easy effort.  Then smooth down the sides of the foil, and easily cut and serve.)  If you don’t care about appearance, then just butter the bottom of the pan – and you can dig them out later.  Up to you.

If you plan to toast the nuts now is a good time – in a preheated oven at 325 degrees and place nuts in a single layer on a foil lined sheet pan (less cleanup).  Cooking time varies based on the size of your nut so check these often – you want them to be fragrant and have a warmer color – but do not burn (obviously).  This can take from 6-10 minutes.

Melt the chocolate in a metal or heatproof bowl atop a small amount of simmering water.  (Or a double boiler.)  Slowly melt the chocolate and stir occasionally.  Remove when melted and set aside to cool a bit.

In your mixer – with paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth then add the brown sugar, espresso powder, vanilla, pepper, and salt.  Mix well.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix again.

Add the eggs one at a time (wait to add next egg until you can’t see the egg before).  Scrape down the bowl, and mix again – for another minute or two on medium speed.  The mixture will look curdled but don’t worry.

I like to do the rest by hand, but either way by hand or the mixer on low, lightly mix the melted chocolate into the batter.  Fold the flour in very gently and mix until almost  incorporated.  Add the cooled nuts and fold in as well incorporating the nuts and the rest of the flour.  Do not over mix.

Place in prepared pan and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes.  Mine took 33 – Carole’s took 35 so as usual check often and before…checking every 2 minutes or so towards the end.  These brownies should come out slightly wet with a toothpick.  You want them that way – and they will continue to cook a little bit more on the counter.  Let cool a bit maybe 15 minutes or so.

In the meantime, make the icing.  Bring the butter, milk, sugars, cocoa, vanilla and salt to a boil in a small saucepan.  Continue to stir and whisk as it comes to a boil.

Pour the  icing over the warm brownie (you may not need all of it – but save it!  Use it with something else).  I then scattered semisweet chocolate chips all over the glaze – for an extra extra chocolate explosion.  This is really optional!  I’m just crazy about texture.  Then let all set and harden for a few hours.

When cool and set, using the foil as an aid, pull the brownies from the pan and place on cutting board.  Smooth down the edges of the foil and there you go – no fighting to get them out of the pan.  All pretty and all neat (if you care!)

Feel free to freeze.


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