We all familiar with the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, how about ” a chocolate a day keeps the therapist at bay”?
Don’t worry, my mental health is doing fine. Somehow I couldn’t help to recite the latter saying in my mind whenever I bake something with chocolate. I mean how true is this? Chocolate is our fix whenever we feel a little blue or anxious.
I was neither blue or depressed when I made these brownies. But I was a bit anxious seeing my garden overruns by weeds which in turn provides a nice shady home for bugs. Eeeks! Moreover, the weather lately has worsen my weeds situation – it has been raining profusely in my area, in fact for most part of NSW to the extent that some places are flooded at the moment. Anyway I have no one to blame but myself as I have putting off gardening for a while now. Obviously gardening is not my favourite chore around the house in addition to ironing. Arrgh, in times like this, living in an apartment seems like a promising option.
Anyway, to get my mind off the unsightly weeds, I chose to concerntrate on baking these brownies with a christmassy touch of pecans and dried cranberries plus channelling my inner rock chick – white chocolate chips (studs).
Pecan and Cranberries Brownies with White Chocolate Studs
(tweaked slightly from Diner’s Journal from NY Times)
This is a nice easy batter which guarantees moist and fudgy brownies. Feel free to swap the pecans with whatever nuts that are available to you, albeit the original recipe is a nut-free recipe. I know the whole point of eating brownies is to enjoy the richness and decadence of chocolate but I thought it’s nice to cut the richness (once in a while) with the souriness from the dried cranberries. A much needed gesture especially when we are in the season of baking marathon where overdosing with butter, chocolate and cream is inevitable, don’t you agree?
Makes about 12 brownies
Ingredients for brownies batter:
85g (3 oz) dark chocolate
8 tbsps (1 stick / 113g) salted or unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt if unsalted butter is used
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1/4 roughly chopped pecans
1/4 roughly chopped dried cranberries (also known as craisins)
For decorations (optional):-
23 white chocolate chips (for decoration)
30 pecan halves (for decoration)
1. Preheat oven to 176 degree Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit). Line an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking pan with baking paper.
2. Combine chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over very low heat, stirring occasionally. When chocolate is just about melted, remove from heat and continue to stir until mixture is smooth.
3. Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add flour (and salt and vanilla if you are using them), and stir to incorporate. Stop stirring when no traces of flour remain.
4. Add chopped pecans and dried cranberries to the mixture and stir to combine.
5. Pour into pan. Then arrange white chocolate chips and pecan halves on top of the batter for decoration.
6. Bake the brownies for 20 to 30 minutes, or until set and barely firm in the middle. Cool on a rack before cutting.