Still in thrall to the national chocolate obsession, Gourmet decided to investigate gianduia in 1998. “In the early nineteenth century,” wrote author Carole Bloom, “naval blockades imposed by the English against Napoleon sharply curtailed the cacao supplies arriving to continental Europe from the Americas. To avoid using too much of the now-scarce ingredient, the confectioners of Piedmont (then under French occupation) added finely ground hazelnuts to their chocolate.” The result was gianduia (zhahn-doo-yah), and the world has been a better place ever since. These are the best brownies you will ever taste.–The Editors of Gourmet
LC That's a Bold Statement Note
“These are the best brownies you will ever taste.” say the editors of Gourmet magazine. Hmm. Talk about tossing down a gauntlet. So many very personal preferences play into one’s notion of “best” in terms of brownies. Cakey versus chewy. Nuts or no nuts. Crackly topped or smooth. Although suffice it to say, we can’t imagine anyone turning away one of these moist, nutty, fudgy brownies. Nope, not at all.
Gianduia Brownie Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 1 H, 15 M
- Makes 16
- 1 1/4 cup hazelnuts (about 6 1/4 ounces)
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
- 3 ounces milk chocolate
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
- 1/4 cup Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Butter a 9-inch square baking pan and line it with two crisscrossed sheets of aluminum foil, allowing the excess to hang out over the edges. Butter the foil and dust the pan with flour, tapping out any excess flour.
- 2. Toast the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the nuts are lightly colored and the skins are blistered. Wrap the nuts in a kitchen towel and steam for 1 minute; then rub them in the towel to remove the loose skins. Cool completely.
- 3. In a food processor, pulse the cooled hazelnuts until coarsely ground (the bits should be about 1/8 inch in diameter).
- 4. Chop the two different types of chocolate into small pieces. In a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate with the butter and Nutella, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from the heat.
- 5. While the chocolate is melting, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
- 6. Whisk the sugar into the chocolate mixture until well combined. Add the eggs, whisking until the mixture is glossy and smooth. Stir in the flour mixture and the hazelnuts until just combined.
- 7. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a tester comes out with moist crumbs adhering to it. Cool the brownies completely in the pan on a rack and cut into 16 squares. The brownies will keep, layered between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container at cool room temperature, for up to 5 days.
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Gianduia Brownie Recipe © 2010 The Editors of Gourmet. Photo © 2010 Romulo Yanes. All rights reserved.