Foodie Factoid: According to one story, brownies were first invented and eaten when a wealthy socialite asked for a dessert that could be packed into a box lunch for ladies to eat while attending an exposition that took place in 1893. The result was the Palmer house brownie, which is still served at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.
This is the brownie recipe I grew up with–sans the nuts (ok I may still be a little bit crazy haha) and I’ve made a few tweaks of my own since then. When my sisters and I were kids the rule for food in our house was the plainer the better. We were all weird and picky eaters. I have two younger sisters who I will refer to as ‘the middle one’ and ‘the little one’. The middle one refused to eat food that was touching anything else on her plate. Everything had to be separate, or it would lead to a meltdown. I’m pretty sure that for a while she would actually have to eat everything on a separate plate, which drove my parents insane. The little one would eat just about anything until she got a little bit older and the middle one started to influence her. For a while she would only eat what the middle one would eat and they were both crazy picky. Can you say marinara sauce without any chunks of tomato?
This is the part where I come in and say I was a perfect eater and would eat anything put in front of me without complaining right? Haha. That would be such a lie. For a while I had this weird and inexplicable vendetta against onions. I don’t know if it was the consistency or what, but whenever my dad would make burgers at home I would pick out the onions. It got to the point where my dad would just make me my own ‘onionless’ burger so I’d stop making such a mess again.
Speaking of burgers, I used to also have to eat everything with ketchup. Chicken, fries, fish, potatoes, just about everything savory went with ketchup in my mind. Not gonna lie I still eat a lot of things with ketchup, but I won’t throw a temper tantrum if I have to eat food without it ;). Anyway, seeing as all three of us must have been the direct cause of any stress felt by our parents, it makes sense that brownies could not have nuts in them. If marinara sauce wasn’t allowed to have chunks of tomato then brownies could not have nuts. Chocolate chips were acceptable, but nuts were anathema. However, now that I’m older and am capable of eating chicken without ketchup like a civilized adult, I thought I should try these out with the walnuts. They were the same reliable super fudgy and amazing brownies I grew up with, but with a little added texture from the walnuts.
(I kind of have to confess that I still like them better without the walnuts, but you’re welcome to try them either way!)
Fudgy Walnut Brownies
-4 oz baking chocolate
-1 1/2 sticks of butter
-1 3/4 c granulated sugar
-2 tsp vanilla
-1 c flour
-2/3 c chopped walnuts (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Melt butter and chocolate together in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in 30 second intervals and stir until the chocolate is dissolved.
3. Mix in the sugar and vanilla.
4. Stir in the flour until combined.
5. Fold in the chopped walnuts (optional)
6. Pour batter into a 9×13 pan. You should either grease the pan or cover it with aluminum foil.
7. Bake for 28-32 minutes or until a knife comes out mostly clean.