This week found me in the mood for some chocolate and ice cream. While thumbing through a few cookbooks for ice cream recipes I found inspiration from photos in the Silver Palate Cookbook and decided I would make something chocolate from that particular book. Do you ever do that? Do you ever decide I’m going to make something from this book – just because? I settled on their recipe for “Brownies”, which happen to be a favorite around here.
I don’t use this book often but back in the 80’s when I worked part-time with a popular caterer in Dallas I distinctly remember the owner, Mike Hearn using this book quite often. Having it in my collection recalls those fun, inspiring, yet long days of working with Mike and his company Chow. Those experiences are clearly what helped mold me to enjoy being in the kitchen preparing delicious food as well as sharing it with others.
I worked in many capacities with Chow. In the beginning I worked as a prep chef, helped deliver, set up and break down parties. We went to some pretty amazing mansions in the Dallas area, took over their fabulous kitchens, passed appetizers, cocktails and served dinner. I learned how to pass appetizers, discreetly, without interrupting a conversation – yet totally interrupting it to offer our delicious foods. I also learned how to serve from the left and take away from the right at a formal sit down dinner party. At some point I was offered the job of bartender! I jumped on that as the pay was a bit higher, skills were necessary for pouring gin & tonic, glasses of straight whiskey, or stirring a Screwdriver. Not really, it was an easy job! I finally advanced to being one of the head chefs and had the pleasure of preparing and serving private dinner parties of a smaller scale with one helper in the kitchen. Oh! Those were the days.
Back to the Silver Palate Brownies. They are moist, fudgy and wonderful. Dark chocolate and chock full of walnuts, that’s the healthy part! My family demolished the platter of brownies in no time. Perfect with a big glass of ice-cold milk or yummy with a hot cup of joe.
Silver Palate Brownies
1/2 pound (2 sticks) sweet butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup shelled walnuts, coarsely chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 12 inch baking pan.
2. Melt butter and chocolate in the top part of a double boiler over boiling water. When melted, set aside to cool to room temperature.
3. Meanwhile, beat eggs and sugar until thick and lemon-colored; add vanilla. Fold chocolate mixture into eggs and sugar. Mix thoroughly.
4. Sift flour and fold gently into batter, mixing just until blended. Fold in walnuts.
5. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until center is just set. Do not overbake.
6. Allow brownies to cool in pan for 30 minutes before cutting into bars.
Makes 28 large brownies.
The Silver Palate Cookbook, Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins