If I had to name a favorite brownie recipe, it would be Evelyn Raab’s chocolate hazelnut truffle squares, from her excellent cookbook The Clueless Baker. (Supernatural brownies, an accidental invention by pastry chef Nick Malgieri, would be a close second.)
Raab’s flourless brownies contain only five ingredients: chocolate, eggs, vanilla, butter, sugar, and finely ground hazelnuts. Since discovering this recipe a decade ago, I’ve prepared it dozens of times, for birthday parties, holiday parties, potlucks, picnics, and, most often, just because. They’re that good.
Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle Squares
From The Clueless Baker, by Evelyn Raab
6 tbsp butter*
2 oz chocolate (the original recipe calls for unsweetened chocolate, but I use dark chocolate with 70% cocoa content)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups finely ground hazelnuts
*feel free to substitute a neutral-flavored oil, like grapeseed or safflower; the brownies taste just as delicious!
1)Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
2)Melt butter and chocolate in a medium saucepan over low heat.
3)Remove from stove and mix in sugar, eggs, and vanilla, until thoroughly combined. Add in finely ground hazelnuts (I use toasted hazelnuts.)
4)Pour mixture into a greased or parchment-lined 8-inch square pan, and bake for 40-45 minutes, until a fork or toothpick inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean.
Maple Walnut Variation:
On a whim one day, I decided to mix things up and substitute maple syrup for sugar. The next logical step, I figured, would be to replace the hazelnuts with walnuts. I recommend lightly toasting the walnuts before grinding them in the food processor. For a healthier variation, substitute walnut oil for butter.
Coconut Cashew Variation:
I imagine these brownies would also be delicious with coconut oil substituted for butter and finely ground cashews in place of hazelnuts, perhaps with some shredded coconut thrown in for additional texture and flavor. If anyone experiments with this variation, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!
Liana’s Kitchen is a column by Astoria-based chef and foodie Liana Grey. Check out her food blog Bakerwithoutborders.