Let me tell you little bit about myself. There are times in my life when I am a complete stressball. This week was one of those times. It’s absurd because the causes of my stress are good things: my science is really cool and I am spending the weekend in Washington. I hold high expectations of myself and what I can accomplish and when things are going well, the expectations get pushed higher and higher. Add a weekend out of town and the desire to tie up loose ends and the pressure mounts. Throw in an unexpected deadline for silly, but necessary, paperwork and that’s how I became a complete stressball.
I was like the cartoon tasmanian devil on Wednesday. Whirling around the lab and the office leaving a wake of destruction. I don’t hide my surface emotions well. I don’t even try. When I am excited you know about it. When I am frustrated you know about it. When I am stressed you know about it. And I was stressed out.
So, as thank-you to my labmates for allowing me to be me, stressball and all, I made a little something to brighten their Thursday. No wack-a-doodle flavor combination here – just straight up chocolate and hazelnut brownies. I had spied this recipe in a recent issue of Food and Wine and had tucked it away for just such an occasion. These brownies are decadent (as you can see by the amounts of butter, sugar and chocolate in them) and must be shared. It will make your friends and co-workers love you, faults and all.Chocolate Hazelnut Brown Butter Brownies adjusted for size from Food and Wine makes 16 LARGE brownies ********** 4.5 ounces toasted and peeled hazelnuts 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 5/8 teaspoon salt 470 g (~2 cups) granulated sugar 2 sticks + 6 tablespoons butter 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped 4 large eggs 1 tablespoon brewed coffee **********
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9 x 9 inch pan with alumininum foil.
Combine hazelnuts, cocoa powder, salt and 3/8 cup (6 tablespoons) granulated sugar in a food processer and pulse until finely ground. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, cook butter over medium heat until it is brown and smells wonderfully of nutty caramel, stirring occasionally (about 15 minutes). Take off heat and add chocolate. Let sit undisturbed for two minutes and then whisk until smooth. Let cool slightly.
Using a stand mixer, beat remaining sugar, eggs and coffee until very light, fluffy and tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Blend in chocolate butter mixture. Add hazelnut cocoa mixture and stir until combined.
Bake for about an hour, or until tester comes out clean.