Pictured here with Ginger Squares (see November 7 post)Truffle-Brownies-320x480                                     Photo credit:  Quentin Bacon

Today was brownie day when Mario Bosquez of Martha Stewart Living Radio featured these Truffle Brownies as his monthly Facebook baking challenge.  Members sent in great photos of their brownies including one decorated with a single squiggle of red and white ribbon candy for an extra holiday touch.  Seriously, though, brownies are not only easy to prepare, they're really practical for this last week of holiday madness.  Bake a batch today, wrap and freeze them, and thaw, cut and serve for Christmas.  Get ready:  everyone will ask for the recipe.

Makes twenty-four 2-inch square brownies 

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60% to 62% cocoa solids) cut into 1/4-inch  pieces

2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed

1 cup all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

One 9 x 13 x 2-inch pan lined with buttered parchment or foil 

  1. Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350˚F.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Let the butter get hot and start to sizzle after it’s melted. Off heat, add the chocolate all at once and gently shake the pan to submerge all the chocolate in the butter. Set aside.
  3. Combine the brown sugar, flour and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle. Beat on lowest speed until evenly mixed together.
  4. Add 2 eggs to the mixer and continue to beat just until they are absorbed. Stop and scrape the bowl and beater
  5. Repeat step 4.
  6. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the vanilla.
  7. Whisk the butter and chocolate smooth and scrape it into the bowl. Use a large rubber spatula to mix it in thoroughly.
  8. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  9. Bake the brownies until they are firm, but not dry, and the point of a paring knife inserted in the center of the pan emerges with moist crumbs clinging to it, about 30 minutes.
  10. Cool in the pan on a rack.
  11. Invert the brownies to a cutting board and remove the pan and paper. Cover with another board and invert the whole stack. Remove the top board and wrap the brownies on their board in a double thickness of plastic wrap. Keep the brownies at a cool room temperature or in the refrigerator overnight before cutting.
  12. Use a ruler to mark, then cut the brownies into 2-inch squares. 

WALNUT OR PECAN BROWNIES: Fold 2 cups (about 8 ounces) coarsely chopped walnut or pecan pieces into the batter right before scraping it into the pan.