Sea-Salted Chocolate Walnut Brownies

June 8, 2011

There is a rule in our house: if I am going to make something decadent, there has to been people to share it with (preferably out of the house.) Sounds sensible, doesn’t it?  The problem is that from an early age I have learned to find the loophole in almost every rule.  And here is the loophole:  my brain is always inventing excuses to make decadent things and then share them.  My ear is cocked for someone celebrating a birthday, a friend with a new child, a neighbor in the middle of a remodel, an unexpected house guest, you get the picture.  So when a friend mentioned they needed a dessert for a moving party, I immediately jumped on the idea of making these brownies!

I adapted a recipe from Martha Stewart Living Desserts.  Her original recipe is excellent.  In fact it is so good that I have not been able  to bring myself to try a different recipe since I discovered hers years ago.  Martha’s recipe calls for baker’s chocolate but, I swapped that out for unsweetened ground cocoa because that is what I prefer to have on hand.  She also calls for a half cup of chocolate chips, which are a nice addition, but I feel they detract a bit from the phenomenal texture and taste of the brownie itself.  I left them out.  Taking a tip from Cook’s Illustrated, the walnuts are sprinkled on top of the brownie instead of mixed in the batter.  This prevents the top from cracking when you slice the brownies.  It also makes it clear that to anyone with allergies that the brownies contain nuts.  As a finishing touch, I sprinkle coarse sea salt over the top of the warm brownies.  This adds a nice salty contrasting crunch as well as gives a little sparkle to the brownies.

Sea Salted Chocolate Walnut Brownies definitely top the list of dreamily decadent desserts. Their fudgy interior contrasts beautifully with the nutty salty exterior.  These are the brownies I dream of when I am feeling very serious about chocolate. In short, yes you should make these brownies.  You should also share them with your friends.  They will thank you.

Sea-Salted Chocolate Walnut Brownies

adapted from Martha Stewart Living Desserts

makes 1 9×13 inch pan

1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see note)

1 cup cocoa powder

1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 eggs, room temperature

3 1/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup unsalted butter, melted (plus more for greasing the pan)

2 teaspoons coarse sea salt (to sprinkle on after baking)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, and salt.  Set aside.

Using a mixer, combine eggs and sugar.  Beat vigorously on high-speed for 5 minutes until the mixture is light yellow and light in texture.  Reduce speed to low and add the vanilla and melted butter.  Once thoroughly combined, add flour mixture and mix slowly until just combined.  Fold in the walnuts.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.  The edges should be slightly firm and the center barely set.  The brownies will continue to harden as they cool.

Remove pan from oven and sprinkle with sea salt.  Allow to cool completely before cutting.  Serve or store in an air-tight container.

Note: To toast walnuts, spread chopped walnuts out on a baking tray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes until they begin to look toasty and become fragrant.

Here is a printer-friendly version of the recipe:  sea salt chocolate brownies

You may also like:

Chocolate Birthday Cake

Chocolate Pudding


7 Responses to “Sea-Salted Chocolate Walnut Brownies”

  1. Sea salt always adds a little magic to chocolately baked desserts. Thanks for sharing this delicious looking recipe!

  2. Hannah Says:

    I have to bake for a bake sale today…these will be perfect and fulfill the rule to get them out of the house (after copious samples, of course!). Love the addition of salt, too.

  3. Lesley Says:

    I bet these would be great if you made them for a special friend who lives in Oklahoma. I’m sure they would hold up just fine in the mail :-)

  4. Sara Says:

    Wow what a great recipe. I will be sure to try this next time I bake.
    Below is a really nice simple brownie recipe which is good for cooking with kids.

    Thanks for sharing :)

  5. […] Sea-Salted Chocolate Walnut Brownies […]

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