Chocolate Walnut Sensations
• 1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
• ½ tsp baking soda
• ½ tsp salt
• ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
• ½ cup (4 oz, or 1 stick) butter, softened
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 large egg
• 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided (or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped fine)
• 1 cup walnuts, chopped
• Walnut halves
1. Preheat your oven to 375° F. Spray a 9” square baking pan with nonstick spray.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt to combine. Set aside.
3. In a standing mixer, beat the brown sugar and butter on medium speed until creamy and thoroughly combined, 1-2 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract and the egg; beat to combine. Next, lower the speed of the mixer to medium-low and gradually add in the flour mixture. Stir until the mixture is just barely combined. Add in the chopped walnuts and heaping 1 ¼ cups (by volume) of the chocolate chips; stir again on medium until just combined and the chocolate and nuts are evenly distributed.
4. Spread the batter into the prepared baking pan. Pop it in the oven for approximately 25 minutes; rotate the pan halfway through baking and check for doneness starting at 23 minutes. It will look not unlike a chocolate chip cookie, browned, expanded, and just slightly gooey.
5. Remove from the oven to a trivet. Immediately sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over the top of the cookie, in a roughly even layer. Let the pan sit until the residual heat turns the chocolate morsels shiny and soft – time varies depending on the temperature of the cookie, but it won’t take long, just a few minutes. Once it’s pliable, spread the chocolate evenly across the top of the cookie, like a frosting.
6. Place the walnut halves split side down into the chocolate, forming four even rows of six walnuts each. Let the bars cool until the pan is cool to the touch. Pop the pan into the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes, to let the chocolate firm up.
7. Cut into squares, approximately 1 ½” by 2” – each square will have a walnut half in the center. Plate and serve; can be sealed in tins or wrapped tightly and kept at room temperature for up to a week.
This recipe is from the same family as a chocolate chip cookie, so many of the usual traits apply – combining the ingredients via the creaming method, pulling the pan out of the oven when the bars still look slightly undercooked in the center, etc…
If, after you’ve taken the bars out of the oven and poured the remaining chocolate chips on top, you find that they’re not melting properly – if perhaps the pan just wasn’t hot enough – go ahead and pop the pan back into the oven for 30 seconds or so. It should be just long enough to get the chocolate melting, but not so long that the cookie beneath starts to cook again. As far as storage goes, when working with chocolate, unless tempered, it can be slightly messy and won’t set properly if left at room temperature. But then, if not tempered, sometimes storing it in the fridge will create those whitish fat “blooms” on the surface. I don’t worry about it much with this recipe. For one thing, we’re not talking about a lot of chocolate here, and for another, chances are you’re using commercially available chocolate chips, which are usually much less finicky than an artisan chocolate. I store them at room temperature, because I think the cookie part goes stale less quickly than in the refrigerator, but either’s fine.
If you don’t mind the extra step, do what I do for easy de-panning: get two pieces of aluminum foil, both 9” wide and at least 16” long. Lay one piece of foil into the bottom of the baking pan, so that it completely covers the bottom and drapes up and over opposite sides. Then turn the pan 90° and do the same thing with the second piece of aluminum foil. Make sure to get the foil creased into the corners. Now spray the whole thing with nonstick spray. Continue with the recipe as normal. You’ve just made yourself a sling – when it comes time to de-pan, just grab the two ends of the bottom piece of foil and gently pull up. The whole block will slide out. Set it on a cutting board, gently peel the foil off the sides, and cut. This may be a little messier than if you’re cooking brownies, due to the chocolate topping, but this way you never need to worry about stuff sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Pairs Well With
I didn't make up the name. It most likely came from the marketing department of some chocolate company, which is most likely where this recipe came from - its origins are fuzzy. Doesn't matter - I don't care if it was thrown together by some ad guy that was just trying to sell a few more bags of chocolate chips. A good recipe is a good recipe. And this one's good - hearty and chewy, with big chocolate and nut flavor.