Espresso Brownies

“Dark, rich, incredibly chocolaty. Bittersweet. The sour cream in these in most unusual in brownies; it makes the brownies divinely moist and fudgelike.
Variations of this recipe have been with me all my life. These are great
brownies either with or without the espresso.”

24 large brownies

2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) walnuts
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus additional for greasing pan
4 eggs graded “large”
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup sifted unbleached flour
1/3 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch process)
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 teaspoons instant espresso powder (I use Medaglia D’Oro)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup sour cream

Adjust an oven rack one-third up from the bottom and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Prepare a 10 1/2-by-15 1/2-by-1-inch jelly-roll pan as follows:

Place the pan upside down on a work surface/ Place a 19-inch length of
12-inch-wide aluminum foil shiny side down over the pan, centering it
carefully so the borders are all the same. Fold down the sides and corners
to shape the foil. Remove the foil.

Run cold tap water into the pan to wet it all over. Pour out the excess
water but do not shake or dry the pan.

Place the shaped foil in the wet pan (the wet pan holds the foil in place).

To butter the foil, place a piece of butter in the pan and place the pan in
the oven to melt the butter. Then spread the butter with a piece of crumpled
plastic wrap or wax paper to coat the foil all over. Set the prepared pan

To toast the nuts: Spread them in a single layer in a large shallow pan and
bake for 8 to 10 minutes in a 400-degree oven until the nuts are just about
too hot to touch. Cool. Break into large pieces and set aside.

Place the chocolate and the butter in the top of a double boiler over hot
water on moderate heat. Cover and let heat until the chocolate and butter
are almost melted. Then uncover and stir until smooth. Remove the top of the double boiler and set aside.

In the small bowl of an electric mixer beat the eggs to mix. On low speed
gradually add the sugar. Increase the speed to high and beat for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, and espresso and set aside.

In a small cup stir the vanilla into the sour cream. Add to the egg mixture
and mix only briefly.

Transfer the egg mixture to the large bowl of the electric mixer.

Then, all at once, add the warm chocolate mixture and the sifted dry
ingredients and beat together on low speed – scraping the bowl frequently
with a rubber spatula – only until just barely mixed, no longer.

Remove the bowl from the mixer, add the walnuts, and fold them in with a
rubber spatula.

Turn into the prepared pan and spread as smooth as possible.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes
out dry – do not overbake or underbake.

Remove the pan from the oven. Let stand for 5 minutes. Then cover the pan
with a large rack and turn the pan and the rack upside down. Remove the pan and the foil. Let the cake cool upside down.

When cool, chill the cake for about 45 minutes in the freezer or longer in
the refrigerator.

Cover the cold cake with a large rack or a flat-sided cookie sheet and turn
upside down, leaving the cake right side up.

Transfer the cake to a cutting board and, with a rule and toothpicks, mark
it into quarters.

With a long-bladed sharp knife or a serrated bread knife cut into quarters –
and then cut each quarter into 6 brownies.

Wrap individually in clear cellophane or wax paper

And, might I add, since I discovered “Maida Heatter's Brand-New Book of
Great Cookies ”and “Book of Great Chocolate Desserts”, I have considered
Maida Heatter the ultimate authority on cookies. Yes, I know these recipes
will look long to you. That is because they are "teaching" recipes. Mrs.
Heatter is kind enough to share with us many valuable tips derived from her
years of experience. Just trust me, okay? This lady definitely knows whereof
she speaks.