Moosewood Fudge Brownies

Moosewood Fudge Brownies Recipe

It has been a while since I've written up any sweets, so I turned to my cookbook collection for a bit of inspiration. I thought it might be a day for a batch of cookies, but instead I ended up focusing on a classic fudge brownie recipe from Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook. These fudge brownies are packed with optional add-ins including freshly ground espresso beans, toasted walnuts, and mashed extra-ripe banana. Yum.

Let me back up for a minute. I know many of you are going to find this hard to believe, but I've never cooked anything from the Moosewood Cookbook. Mollie has over 6 million books in print, so it is quite possible I'm alone in this regard. Wayne's mom gave me a copy years and years ago, it is brimming with all the recipes that have become vegetarian staples - hummus, walnut pates, ratatouille, vegetable curries, enchiladas, vegetable egg rolls, cream of broccoli soup and the like. It is the book that millions of vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike have turned to over the past thirty years. This afternoon I took the plunge. Fudge brownies were the item of the day, but I have my eye on the Chilled Dill Soup for a hot day later this summer.

As far as brownies go, I wouldn't classify these brownies as dense, but they're certainly on the dense side of cakey, with a lovely, sophisticated crumb. The recipe calls for 5 eggs, so if you can imagine the way eggs impact the texture of your other baking endeavors (souffles or a quiche), you can imagine how using more or less eggs in a brownie recipe might impact its texture. This recipe seems to be on the upper end of the egg spectrum when it comes to brownies.

I love the crunch of the added walnuts, and recommend the banana-espresso addition for those of you who are looking to rid yourself of overripe bananas in something other than banana bread!

Update: 4/9/2008: If you're looking for an unimaginably dense, ultra-fudgy brownie recipe (much less cakey than these) I would encourage you to try this Amazing Black Bean Brownie recipe.

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Moosewood Fudge Brownie Recipe

Heidi notes: I used 71% Valrhona chocolate. White whole wheat flour works great if you would like to substitute. I also added espresso powder, half of a large ripe banana, and about a cup of toasted walnuts (per Mollie's suggestions at the tail end of the recipe). I topped them with a sprinkling of walnuts before going in the oven as well.

Let soften: 1/2 lb. butter (don't melt it)

Melt: 5 oz. bittersweet chocolate. Let cool.

Cream the butter with 1 3/4 cups (packed) light brown sugar and 5 eggs. Add 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract. Beat in the melted, cooled chocolate and 1 cup flour.

Spread into a buttered 9x13" baking pan. Bake 20-30 minutes (hs note: mine took 30) at 350 degrees.

Optional: chopped nuts, or 1 tablespoon instant coffee, or 1 teaspoon grated fresh orange or lemon rind, or 1/2 teaspoon allspice or cinnamon, or a mashed over-ripe banana, or none of the above.

Yet another option: instead of uniformly blending in the chocolate, you can marble it. Add chocolate last, after the flour is completely blended in and only partially blend in the chocolate. It looks real nice.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

Heidi, your brownies look fantastic - I've never heard of bananas in brownies and now I'm very curious!

I actually made these at christmas and i *hated* them!! I love Moosewood (the Carrot Ginger soup recipe is amazing) but these brownies were way too dense and way too cake-like for people who actually like the consistency of an actual brownie.

Erin

Just a quick note re: the chocolate. Yeah, I thought the phrasing in regards to the type of chocolate to use was a bit confusing - calling for unsweetened and then encouraging bittersweet over semi. I think this is a very old edition, and maybe this has been updated since. I'm going to go in and change the unsweetened to bittersweet (that is what she is emphasizing in the note.... -h

I'm another Moosewood fan--The Moosewood Cookbook and The ENchanted Broccoli Forest were the 1st cookbooks I bought to join the redoubtable Joy of Cooking (a wedding present). I wondered about the nuts in the brownies--did you sprinkle them on the batter in the pan? When I use nuts, I've always stirred them in, and they're invisible. But I like the way they look showing on top.

I've been looking for recipes that use a lot of eggs - my girls are back in the full swing of production now that spring is finally here. Definitely will give this one a try!

I've been a vegetarian for 30 years--so Mollie's books are a part of my life. I always thought it would be fun to try to take a year or so and work my way through one of her books. But I must say I've never made the brownies. Now, I must! Thanks, Heidi, for the inspiration.

There are too many people in this world (we far outnumber the cookbooks) for you to be the lone Katzen-less cooker...I too have never cooked from one of her books, and there it sits in my cookbook collection. I know firsthand that her recipe for moussaka is delicious, but only enjoyed the dish made by others. Katzen is an interesting person who found she must eat meat to cope with her low energy level, especially while travelling. She and the Dali Lama have this in common. I've recently discovered a perk of menopause - I can now eat chocolate...couldn't before due to fibrous cysts which coffee, black tea and chocolate fed. Now, I can enjoy the full sumptous depth of chocolate - even in brownie form! Thanks for the great photo.

Susan S

I love Mollie! When I started trying to lose weight, and looking for some different types of foods to make I picked up the Moosewood Cookbook, and then The Enchanted Broccoli Forrest. I think they're really great books for learning how to cook (TEBF has a great list in the back for cook to cook lots of different kinds of beans and grains--maybe that'd be a good guide for the reluctant cook that Heidi posted about recently?). I've found that I end up tweaking most of the recipes, but I think they're great staples, and some interesting ideas I hadn't thought of. I tend to think of these cookbooks as my fundamentals, and ones I use as standards that I can build on. My favorite recipe (I think it's in the New Moosewood Cookbook) of hers, I think, is the Mediterranean Lemon Soup. Really easy, and really fantastic!

Ehrrin

Interesting that you used 71% cocoa chocolate in place of the unsweetened chocolate. American unsweetened chocolate has no sugar at all in it, and it usually can't be bought in Europe. Did the recipe come out very sweet? Would you recommend reducing the amount of sugar when you use bittersweet chocolate?

Moosewood has been one of my favorite cookbooks ever, and I've got quite a few of the other books. Moosewood Lowfat Favorites is one that I use more than any others. These brownies look scrumptious. Thanks!

I think the Moosewood cookbooks were the first books I really learned how to cook out of--they're of the few I really trust as the recipe always just work exactly as promised. My only caveat with them is that any "ethnic" recipes usually need about double the spices they call for. Moosewood cookbooks also taught me to make a perfect pie crust, so I am forever indebted to them! These brownies look lovely, and I will definitely be adding some espresso to my own brownies in the future. What a great idea.

5 eggs!! you can say i have extra-eggophobia .... dunno why! i steadfastly avoid recipes that have 6 egg whites or 7 eggs ..... coz every single time i tried out one of these recipes ... they bombed :(. And I have had similar bad luck with brownies over the years .... but I love em' .. GOSh I love em', and this yum picture might just make me take the plunge again! Thnx!

Wow. I'd forgotten about these brownies. They used to be my go-to brownie recipe, but I shifted to the super-fast One-Pot Brownies in "Cook Something." I think it's time to rediscover the Moosewood Brownies; I loved the slightly cakey texture. And I love the idea of adding bananas and espresso powder.

thanks, heidi! lookin' good! some brownie recipes call for creaming the butter with sugar, and some just tell you to melt the chocolate with the butter and add everything else. i am lazy. i'd go for the simpler version. what's the difference anyway?

The Moosewood Cookbook remains one of the mainstays of my kitchen library. I've moved from the original to the revised original, but still appreciate the classic recipes and Molly Katzen's approach. The Enchanted Broccoli Forest is another must-have, and her books for children are delightful. Glad you took the plunge!

Yeah, I'm with you. I never made any of Katzen's recipes. Having her cookbooks on my shelf does not make me vegetarian, so I finally got rid of them.

MAS

Perfect timing Heidi! I had some overripe bananas sitting in the fridge and I am tired of baking banana bread all the time. I am invited to a dinner party tomorrow and now I know what I will be baking for them! Thanks! (By the way, I ordered your book from Amazon and I am waiting impatiently for it to arrive - unfortunately it takes a long time to get to Turkey...)

Mollie was our introduction to vegetarianism. I still rely on dishes I cooked or adapted from the Enchanted Broccoli Forest and Sundays at Moosewood as well as the original well thumbed, sutiably stained tome. Lentil chili is a family favorite along with Yellowman's Banana Bread. But I find myself thinking "Heidi" more than "Mollie" these days!

Yummy~ The taste fo Brownies is always in my mind~ i want to catch a piece of it and run away^^

I grew up with the moosewood cookbook. A bible for many. I also have "The Enchanted Broccoli Forest", which is also good. Her books seemed to wane as time went on. I never found much out of her later books. I have had several of her recipes, but somehow I have only made a few recipes from Moosewood. She is big on dairy, as back when she wrote it, vegetarian alternatives were few, and beans and dairy were standard. Pre-vegan movement. I kind of recall the broccoli forest being lighter on the dairy. I Highly suggest the spinach ricotta pie. Filling, and quiche-y but not so much egg-y. There is ample spinach, cheese and just enough ricotta. The "icing" on the pie is a thin layer of sour cream schmeared on top which gets a sprinkle of paprika, and cooks far nicer than you would expect. It is a no fuss, very easily multiplied recipe. I used to whip out 20 if them when I worked in a retreat center kitchen with no problem. Try it, I promise it will delight even the kids at the table.

rachel sun

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