I was seeking a relatively easy cookie or bar recipe that called for a lot of white chocolate, milk chocolate, or both. I came across this fabulous recipe in Janice Wald Henderson’s appropriately named cookbook White Chocolate. The recipe calls for 1 pound of white chocolate and 8 ounces of dark chocolate. Since I had over 5 pounds of white chocolate to use up, I baked up two batches — one batch with walnuts, one without.
Recipe source: White Chocolate by Janice Wald Henderson. Contemporary Books, 1987. p. 158. Wald credits this recipe to Mark Militello, who, at the time of publication, was “executive chef for Cafe Max in Pompano Beach, Maxaluna in Boca Raton, and Max’s Place in North Miami, Florida.”
Yield: About 32 bars
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 pound coarsely chopped white chocolate (I used Guittard High Sierra.)
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups flour
- 2/3 cup chopped walnuts (not toasted)
- 8 ounces coarsely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (I used mostly Guittard L’Etoile du Nord 64 percent semisweet chocolate wafers, unchopped, for the most part.)
- Preheat oven to 350°F Position an oven rack in center of oven.
- Line a 15×11″ jelly roll pan with foil; butter the foil.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from heat and add half of the white chocolate. DO NOT STIR. (emphasis added). Cover and set aside.
- Using an electric mixer at medium speed (I used a hand mixer at high-ish speed), beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla and the salt.
- “Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold in the unstirred butter–white chocolate mixture. Carefully fold in the flour, then the walnuts. Fold in the remaining white and dark chocolate.
- “Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
- “Bake until the center of the brownies springs back when lightly touched, and they are golden brown, about 35 minutes; do not overbake. (Brownies should be moist.) Transfer the brownies in the pan to a wire rack and cool completely. Using a sharp knife, cut the brownies into 32 squares.
- The run-of-the-mill supermarket-issue pan I used was a cookie sheet measuring the specified dimensions. (My “jelly roll pan” as I knew it was too small. Go figure.) The specified pan size is perfect for the amount of batter, so it’s worthwhile to seek out such a pan if you don’t already have it. I don’t think the traditional brownie vessel — a 9×13 baking pan — would work well.
- The brownies stuck to the foil in some spots, despite a generous buttering of the foil.
- I’m not entirely sure why we’re instructed to not stir the butter and white chocolate mixture, and further instructed to carefully fold it into the flour mixture. My best guess is that, as in puff pastry, some chunks of fat (here, the cocoa butter in the white chocolate) dispersed throughout the batter (or dough) makes for a flakier pastry.
- In the recipe’s headnote, Ms. Henderson recommends eating these chilled or at room temperature, as opposed to straight from the oven. With this, I agree — even days after baking, the chilled bars were delightfully moist and chewy. But I disagree with her assertion that they “taste equally great in their frozen state,” for they were too hard to bite into and thoroughly enjoy at that point. They do freeze well, and I did freeze both of my batches before slicing and serving.
- The batch baked with walnuts was easily the winner — the walnuts added a dimension of flavor that the non-nutty version did not have. I don’t think they added much texture, though, since the chocolate chunks were generally larger than the walnut pieces.