Funeral brownies

I was talking to a colleague about food (imagine that!) and he mentioned that he had recently whipped up a batch of gluten-free brownies, using one of Pamela's mixes. I mentioned a treasured brownie recipe, wondering aloud whether it could be freed from the thralls of gluten, and shared its origin:

Mitch and I were at a memorial gathering for a neighbor who had passed away. The buffet table was laden with all manner of treats, including the best brownies we'd ever tasted. We introduced ourselves to the author of these delights, a personable gentleman, JR, who immediately ran out to his car to retrieve xeroxed copies of the recipe. (He'd obviously been hounded for his secrets before.)

Since then, I've made J.R.'s brownies many times and they're incredible. JR has sinced passed away. But as I mentioned to my colleague, if you can be remembered for something as sweet and pleasureable as a brownie recipe, that's OK. A brownie afficionado, my colleague asked for the recipe, which I passed along to him yesterday. Today, I share it with you. One of these days I might try to veganize it, but here it is in it original form:

JR's Double Fudge Brownies

1 1/2 cups unsifted flour (bread flour preferred)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 cup butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup water

One 12-oz. pkg (2 cups) chocolate chips (JR recommended Nestle's; I often used dark chocolate)

2 tsp vanilla

4 eggs

2 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, combine four, baking soda and salt, set aside. In small saucepan, combine butter, sugar and and water, bring just to a boil. Remove from heat. Add chocolate chips and vanilla. Stir until chips melt and mixture is smooth. Transfer to large bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually blend in flour miture with a spoon. Stir in nuts. Bake 45-50 minutes. Cool. Cut into squares.

Enjoy!

Brownie recipe

A recipe's provenance is sometimes as interesting as the recipe itself. No doubt your recipe box contains stories galore. I have the chili recipe my mother clipped from a magazine in the  1970s, my German grandmother's chicken fricassee instructions, a coffee cake Mammaw made for church functions, Roxanne's Chomboth, recipes from one of the Garlic Queen's mysteries and countless others.

The brownies, however, came from a funeral.

We were at a memorial party, munching on the food and chatting about the deceased when we happened upon this tray of brownies. They were phenomenal--moist, but dense and cakey, larded with nuts. Given the setting we were a bit unseemly in our enthusiasm for the above. A gentleman with whom we had been talking, indicated proudly that he was the author of the brownie recipe in question. "I have copies of the recipe out in my car."

We stood there nonplussed while he trotted out to his car. Herewith JR's Brownies, as amended by yours truly:

1 1/2 cups unsifted flour (bread flour,  if possible)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

2 cups chocolate chips

2 cups walnuts, chopped

2 tsp vanilla extract

4 eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In small saucepan, combine butter, sugar and water; bring just to a boil. Remove from heat. Add chocolate chips and vanilla; stir until morsels melt and mixture is smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg. Gradually blend in flour mixture with spoon. Stir in nuts. Spread into a greased 13" x 9" x 2" baking pan.

Bake for 45 minutes. (Test at 35-40 minutes to ensure you don't over cook.)

Eat with relish.