Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Recipe Found ~ Denver Brownies


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.

Denver Brownies
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!

Add:
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.)

White Icing

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.


Chocolate Icing

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.

Refrigerate.

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!



 

28 comments:

  1. Oh my GOODNESS,Susan. Those would be decadent for me but they sounds fabulous!

    Take care and thanks for sharing! Susan

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    1. I couldn't imagine what this recipe was when I read about it in some old interviews with Julia Child, but I figured if she raved about them, they must be something special. A simple addition of the "White Icing," but so good! I really do need to freeze the rest or I will be devouring them:-D

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  2. Oh, Julia and Maida--my gurus! And now you--I made your banana cake with chocolate buttercream over the weekend to rave reviews! And I just pulled a slightly modified version of your cherry vanilla bundt cake out of the oven to serve to some of my stamping friends tomorrow morning (obviously, fresh cherries aren't in season, so used frozen, but I think they'll be fine).

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    1. I wish I was coming by to stamp with everyone this morning...I miss that:-( I recommend this brownies and I'm sure I will be giving them out to friends here for Valentine's Day!!

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  3. YUM! Susan, my dear friend, you have outdone yourself with this one. Brownies are one of my hubby's favorites (okay, he has a large sweet tooth so has several favorites). I love them too, but they must contain nuts & must be frosted. :) I think you have a winner here. Love you and hope to see you soon. -mary

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    1. Mary, when you come back to Washington...these are on the menu!!

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  4. These Denver Brownies look so yummy! I wish I had a piece right now. I love sweets! Thanks for sharing the recipe. And perfect for Valentine's Day.
    The bookstore sounds like a lovely place to visit.
    Hugs,
    Donna

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    1. Donna, Powell's is amazing and I can only compare it to the Shakespeare Bookstore in Paris to give you a visual of its content. I love just getting lost in it, especially the baking section--what treasures I've found there, XOXO

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  5. Sometimes everything comes together in one rather magical moment. That's how I'd describe your finding the very recipe you had been thinking of. Oh my. These do look heavenly.

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    1. A friend informed me that my birthday this year is 11-12-13 and I keep thinking my planets have finally aligned and I have some good Karma coming my way! It has to be to find this cookbook, among thousands, with the very recipe that had intrigued me when reading old interviews with Julia. Wish you were near to share some with over tea...maybe the cold would be so bad:-D

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  6. This is definitely on my brownie list! Heavenly with the black and white layers ;-) Irresistible!

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    1. Just the simple addition of that white icing made a most lovely brownie...one I will make over and over again!

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  7. Reminds me of Canadian Nanaimo bars!
    Jane x

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    1. Jane, now you've intrigued me to find a recipe for Canadian Nanaimo bars!!

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  8. wow! that's a lot of chocolate...my husband and son would love it!
    stamping sue
    http://stampingsueinconnecticut.blogspot.com/

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    1. I know you're not my chocolate friend, but I think you'd find these delightful with the addition of the white icing...at least give it a try, XOXO

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  9. These look completely decadent and I want some! Thanks for the recipe and that book store sounds amazing.
    hugs, Linda

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    1. Just like Shakespeare & Company in Paris amazing!! I'm kicking myself for not taking photos, but like a "moth to a flame" I was drawn to start my wandering, XOXO

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  10. These look dangerous! I usually bake while the kids are at school and I'm afraid I might eat a few more than I should. Brownies are my biggest weakness. Have a fantastic rest of your day!

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  11. What a decadent and DELICIOUS recipe! Thanks for sharing!

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  12. Booze! I love these...My cup of coffee awaits!! Love the story of stumbling on the recipe, love Powell's bookstore and that whole Rose District area. :) I too have been lost in that section of Powell's. I'm making these next month, for sure! Lv, me

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  13. Oh wow--I must make these for my husband for Valentine's Day! Julia Child was a genius. I just loved her--so happy kismet met you in the bookstore. xoxo ♥
    Martha Ellen

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  14. I love going in old bookstores and browsing to my heart's content! I can always find something! These look so good...I can't bear to look at them! Makes me miss eating sugar! Sweet hugs!

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  15. Wow, these look so good–Im so glad you found this recipe and are sharing it! Next time I make brownies, I need to try these!

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  16. I make some brownies similar to this from a recipe that I got from a co-worker. That layer of frosting really makes them yummy and very rich! Like you, I can't stay out of them! Learned to make a smaller batch unless I am taking some to an event to share!
    DeniseB

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  17. Holy smokes! Now, THAT'S a sugar fix! Looks decadent!

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  18. These look AMAZING!!! I'm going to make Kathryn make them ;)

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  19. You have just become my "go to" blog for great recipes! You know, a lot of people call things like your finding this recipe a coincidence but I like to think of them as "God winks". Just heaven's little way of saying you are loved and thought of.

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