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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.

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