Brownies cockaigne

Notes: from The Joy of Cooking. Brownies bake for about 20 to 30 minutes more after being taken out of the oven, so don't skip the step about leaving them covered with a towel. If you bake them according to the recipe, they will not be done at the end of the baking time. That's okay - just make sure they sit under a towel.

I don't like nuts in brownies, so I always skip them. The double-boiler to melt the chocolate isn't really necessary as long as you're careful not to burn the chocolate. Keep the heat low and use a whisk to be sure.

Cockaigne is a mythical medieval land of plenty, where all the harshness of medieval peasant life does not exist.

Preheat oven to 350 F

1/2 cup butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
4 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup pecan meats

Melt the butter and chocolate in a double-broiler (or a pot over another pot of boiling water). Let this mixture cool, or the brownies will be heavy and dry. Beat the eggs and salt until light in color and foamy in texture. Add the sugar and vanilla gradually and continue beating until well creamed.

With a few swift strokes, combine the cooled chocolate mixture and the eggs and sugar. Do this by hand instead of using a hand mixer. Before it's well mixed, fold in the flour. Add the nuts if desired. Stir gently until mixed. Try not to beat the mixture too heavily. Bake in a greased 9 X 13 inch pan for about 25 minutes at 350 F. Cover the pan with a towel and leave it to sit between 30 and 45 minutes. Don't cut until the brownies are cool as the interiors are still moist when fresh from the oven.

11 June 2007