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 of 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. I’ve prepared the recipe dozens of times since coming across it nearly a decade ago, for birthday parties, holiday parties, potlucks, picnics, and (most often) just because. They’re that good. 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 imagine these brownies would also be incredible with coconut oil substituted for butter and finely ground cashews in place of hazelnuts. See below for the original recipe and notes on my variations.
Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle Squares
From The Clueless Baker, by Evelyn Raab
6 tbsp butter*
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
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:
Substitute hazelnuts for finely ground walnuts (I suggest lightly toasting the walnuts before you grind them in a food processor) and swap sugar for maple syrup. For a healthier variation, substitute walnut oil for butter.
Coconut Cashew Variation:
Try substituting coconut oil for butter and cashews for the hazelnuts. Throw in some shredded coconut for additional texture and flavor. If anyone experiments with this variation, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!
Liana Grey is a trained baker and educator based in New York City. She blogs about baked goods from around the globe at https://kitchenchem.com/.