Funny how things happen. I mean, what are the chances that just a month or so ago, I was reading an interview with Julia Child and in it was mentioned these delicious brownies she once tasted. They are called Denver Brownies and I had made a note to ask some friends, who happen to live in Colorado, if they had ever heard of them and could they get me the recipe? Something, I hadn't gotten around to doing.
Well, this past weekend, I met up with my hubby who had a business trip to Portland, Oregon, and like we always do, we wandered up to Couch Street to visit Powell's Bookstore. I should have taken some photos of the store because it is one of those bookstores that you can only imagine exists, but I was just so excited to wander through the Gold, Purple, Blue, Rose, etc....rooms and peruse the books that I wasn't thinking (I will try to get some photos the next time!) In the baking section, the Rose Room, which I spent my most time in, I came across a 1977 edition of Maida Heatter's Cookies book. As I turned the pages reading the stories she shared, there it was on page 124--Denver Brownies. Not only the recipe, but Maida tells her story about the time she was on tour with her chocolate book and had made fudge sauce on a television program. A receptionist tells her that when Julia Child was here, they made these brownies for her to taste and she loved them!
I think Maida and Julia would want me to share them with you. After all, Valentine's Day is literally around the corner and these double-iced brownies would be perfect for your loved ones. Maida does make mention that they do not ship well, but they certainly do freeze well. You can make them ahead of time or if it's just the two of you...like my hubby and I, it's better that they can freeze and not be tempted to eat them all.
Preheat oven to 325F-degrees. Line a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil, shaping to fit the corners and press into place. Brush the foil with melted butter. (I used my 9-inch square spring-form pan and did not use foil!)
In a sauce pan, measure:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, but into pieces, at room temperature
1/3 cup honey
6 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (or a bar, coarsely chopped)
2 T water or black coffee
Over moderately low heat, stir this mixture until the chocolate and butter have melted. Remove from the heat and stir in, with a wooden spoon, the following, first the extract, then the eggs:
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
2 large eggs
|Homemade Vanilla Extract is the best!|
3/4 cup King Arthur all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Whisk vigorously with a wire whisk until smooth and shiny. Add:
1 1/3 cups of chopped walnuts
Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 22 to 25 minutes until a toothpick, inserted in the center, comes out cleanly.
Remove from the oven and brush the top of the brownie with:
2 T. bourbon, brandy, or rum (I used brandy!)
Cool the brownies, then cover the top with a rack and remove the pan and the foil. Use another rack to turn the brownies right-side-up again. (The cake will be about 3/4-inch high.)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
In a small bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until soft. Add the vanilla and then, gradually add the confectioners' sugar. Continue to beat until fluffy. Spread the white icing over the top of the cake, using an off-set spatula, until smooth. Refrigerate.
6 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate
1 T vegetable shortening
1 T unsalted butter
Place all ingredients in the top of a small double boiler over hot water on moderate heat. Cover until partly melted, then, uncover and stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.
Pour in a thick ribbon over the white icing, working quickly before the chilled white icing sets the chocolate. With a long off-set spatula, smooth the top.
To cut: The chocolate might "cracked" when first removed from the refrigerator while cutting, so allow the brownies to stand at room temperature and use a serrated knife to cut into 1-inch squares...or if you're feeling generous, larger than an inch...which is what I did!
Surprises in life come at the most unexpected times--this one was a good one. Enjoy!