I have a cousin brother whose affinity for chocolate surpasses that of most people I know. No seriously, it’s quite unusual. While he loves desserts in general, if it’s not made with chocolate he’ll tell you it was missing chocolate. I think I realized his passion for chocolate during our childhood when he came to visit us in Sudan. My dad used to get us a regular stock of assorted chocolates from Dubai on every business trip. Of course, among four siblings the chocolate had to be rationed out so everyone got an equal share. Some of us didn’t regard this rule much.
At the time our cousin came to visit from Pakistan, I was 6 and he was 8. I remember the two of us making a plan to wake up early in the morning over the weekend (while everyone slept) to attack the chocolate stash. So promptly at 7 am, cousin H comes to wake me. We quietly tiptoed downstairs and invaded the pantry, indulging in more than our fair share. I did it one day out of the sheer thrill of it but couldn’t for the life of me manage the next (clearly I’m not a morning person), wondering why on earth we were torturing ourselves by waking up so early to eat chocolate, which quite honestly didn’t even taste that good at 7 am! He was really upset with me that day, because after all, what’s worse than sneaking chocolate at the crack of dawn without a partner in crime?
Now he has three kids and I believe he loves them as much he loves chocolate 😛 So a couple of weekends ago, everyone was over to watch the incredible Pak vs. Ind Asia Cup match (we won! yay!) I decided to make him his favorite dessert… brownies but with an extra dose of chocolate. So yes, these are the best brownies ever. I don’t like cake-y, egg-y brownies. In fact we all like them fudgey, and more on the bite into this and it melts in your mouth style. These were an all around win with the whole fam. What makes them so special is the few optional add on ingredients that just take it to the next level: Nutella, chocolate chips or chunks and walnuts. Who doesn’t love Nutella? In our house it’s a staple. Comes with each month’s grocery. Chocolate chips makes this double chocolate and walnuts just give brownies an extra oomph.
The result is an ooey gooey, soft on the inside, silky smooth chocolate decadence that is sure to please each of the five senses. Plus all this in very little time with on hand ingredients. You could take out the optional three ingredients and end up with my recipe for regular brownies which is also quite delectable.
1/2 cup soft unsalted white butter (or use salted and remove the salt)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup Nutella
1/2 cup – 1 cup chocolate chips or dark chocolate chunks (optional)
1/2 – 1 cup walnuts (optional)
1. Preheat your oven to 375F/150C and lightly grease a square brownie pan. If you line it with parchment paper before baking, life will be much easier and the brownies will be a breeze to take out and cut.
2. In a bowl combine the sugar and butter well. Add vanilla and eggs one by one.
3. In a separate bowl combine cocoa, flour, baking powder and salt.
4. Add the cocoa flour to the butter egg mixture. Mix well with a rubber spatula.
5. Mix in the Nutella, chocolate chips/chunks and walnuts.
6. Pour into the brownie pan, smoothing over to even out. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Make sure you don’t over bake. The top should be slightly cracked and a toothpick inserted in should come out a little wet, it will set as it cools. Over baking will not let them be chewy but dry.
7. Cool completely before cutting into squares.