No matter if we’re Eight to Eighty…haven’t we all wondered what to give our Mom’s for Mother’s Day? Well I have the perfect idea for you. Don’t sweat what to buy but instead make her some brownies. And not just any brownies, mind you. They have to be very special ones and these fit the bill. I’m always on the hunt for the ‘best’ of the best recipes but this one is tried and true and while I’ve fiddled with it over the years I can’t find anything better. Browned butter adds a wonderful warm note, the espresso doesn’t make them taste like coffee but just amplifies the chocolate and speaking of chocolate? For these I only use Valrhona chocolate. That tin of chocolate is kept under lock and key for only the occasional special use and The Best Brownies certainly qualify.
Now that both of my girls live out of town I guess I will have to be the one celebrating ME and these will be on the menu. They may be the only thing on the menu. They will also be chock full of lovely toasted nuts. My younger daughter Lauren has never liked nuts in baked goods so while she was growing up our cookies and brownies were always sans nuts. Heck, that girl thinks that any baked good I make should still be made in that fashion, you know, on the off chance she might show up! Now I’ll have some notice and we’ll both be happy.
While you can order the Valrhona chocolate online, it’s also available at Whole Foods. Just a heads up? My local Whole Foods had bars of Valrhona Chocolate on the shelves but none of the cocoa that I needed so I decided to ask for help and was glad I did. While not in tins with the rest of the baking chocolate products, the cocoa is what they use in the store when mixing coffee drinks so a very sweet young woman opened a bag and scooped some into a container for me. Even the color is amazing; such a deep rich brown, it evokes a bit of what can be expected from the finished baked good; deep, dark and delicious!
Why not make a batch of these for Mom; add a bar of chocolate and a container of cocoa and I just know she will be delighted. Some fabulous dessert port would be nice too, you know, if you really want to make it a super special gift. NOTHING makes a mom happier than a gift from the heart; I know this for a fact! And if you’re in Denver and need a mom to spoil next Sunday; I’m available. 🙂
Not Mother’s Day? No problem. Make them for any holiday, for a friend or more importantly for YOU!
The Best Brownies!
- 2 sticks (16 Tbsp) butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Valhrona but use any good cocoa powder)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tbsp instant/dried espresso
- 1 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9 X 13" baking pan with cooking spray, then line it with parchment paper so the parchment hangs over the sides (you can lift the brownies out of the pan). Spray the parchment paper.
- Heat the butter in a large skillet until it foams and continue to cook on medium, stirring constantly until it starts to brown. The butter will have foam on top so watch carefully to make sure the solid bits on the bottom do not burn; you should also notice a distinct scent as it starts to brown. An amazing one too!
- Let the butter cool before continuing.
- Combine the butter, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add cocoa powder to the bowl, mix on low speed until well blended.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and espresso in a bowl and whisk. Add them to the mixture in the mixing bowl and beat well.
- Stir in the toasted nuts and pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
- Bake 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do NOT overbake.
- Let cool and cut into squares.
- Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and fresh raspberries.
I was provided with a gift card to purchase products for this post from Whole Foods however all commentary is my own.