Palm Beach Brownies

These are dark, chewy, gooey, intense brownies. This is also without question the best brownie recipe ever. Don’t question it, just believe it.

Makes 24 or 32 brownies

8 ounces (8 squares) unsweetened chocolate

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter

5 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon almond extract

21/2 tablespoons dry instant espresso or powdered instant coffee

33/4 cups sugar

12/3 cups sifted flour

8 ounces (2 generous cups) walnut halves or large pieces

Adjust rack 1/3 up from the bottom of the oven and preheat to 425°. If you’re using a pan with a dark finish, such as “Baker’s Secret” lower the temperature to 400°. Place in bowl

8 ounces unsweetened chocolate

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter

Cover and heat in microwave long enough to melt and blend. This takes 2 or 3 minutes in our microwave, but stir once per minute so the butter doesn’t boil or spatter.

Place the following in the mixer bowl

5 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

21/2 tablespoons dry instant espresso or powdered instant coffee

33/4 cups sugar

Beat at high speed for 10 minutes. Scrape bowl once or twice during the 10 minutes.

Line a 9- by 13- by 2-inch pan with foil and butter it while the mixer’s running. (See end of recipe for tips on how to do this painlessly.) Set the prepared pan aside.

On low speed, add the chocolate mixture and beat just long enough to mix. Add just until mixed

12/3 cups sifted flour

Stir in by hand

8 ounces (2 generous cups) walnut halves or large pieces

Turn into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 35 minutes, reversing the pan front to back as necessary during baking to insure even baking. Cover loosely with foil for the last 15 minutes of the baking time to prevent overbaking. At the end of 35 minutes, the cake will have a crisp, thick crust on top but if you insert a toothpick it will come out wet and covered with chocolate. Nevertheless, it is done.

Remove cake from the oven and let stand at until cool, several hours or overnight. Then cover with a rack or cookie sheet and invert. Remove the pan and the foil lining. Cover with a cookie sheet and invert again, leaving the cake right side up. The cake will be 11/4 inches thick.

Don’t try to cut these unless they are thoroughly cooled. Use a large, very sharp chef’s knife. It will be necessary to wash and dry the blade several times while cutting. Don’t worry if the edges are dark and dry, this means you baked the brownies correctly. Just trim 1/4 inch from the edges. Hide the trimmed edges from your friends and family, as they’re even better than the brownies. First cut the cake in half, cutting through the long sides. Cut into 24 or 32 brownies.

Package them in an airtight container. They keep well in the freezer, but taste best served at room temperature.

To line pan with foil: Invert the pan, cover it with a long piece of foil and with your hands press down on the foil around the sides and the corners to shape it like the pan. Dampen the inside of the pan slightly. Without tearing, press the foil into place in the pan. Now butter the foil with soft or melted butter. The easiest way is to place a piece of butter in the pan, place the pan in the oven while it is warming up, and when the butter is melted use a pastry brush to spread it all over the sides and bottom of the foil.

Adapted from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts

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