What is life without a little sweet treat every now and then? I’m a firm believer when it comes to the saying “everything in moderation” and “balance is everything”. Here is my moto: If you’re going to have something dieters would consider a little “naughty” it might as well be worth it, but it doesn’t have to be a huge splurge. Have a small slice, and you won’t feel so guilty. These White Chocolate Cashew Brownies have that perfect balance, of sweet and salty. Make a batch, cut in small squares and store in the freezer to pull out when you’re feeling a little rebellious.

These cocoa brownies have the softest chewy center and the most delicious candy-like crust, because of the real butter and granulated sugar. Like I said above, if you’re going to splurge do it right. I love brownies because they freeze beautifully, so they’re one of those desserts that can be made and stored for later. Whenever I get that chocolate, salty-sweet craving, I simply just pull a small square right out of my freezer and let it defrost. Or I eat it frozen… depending on how bad that craving is. Admit it… we’ve all been there.

 

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Ingredients: 

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cold large eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 cup roasted and salted cashews, roughly chopped

 

Directions: 

  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
  2. Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.
  3. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
  4. Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.
  5. Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board.
  6. In a double broiler, melt the chocolate until smooth. Drizzle over brownies. Sprinkle with chopped cashews.

 

*Recipe adapted from “Best Cocoa Brownies” Alive Medrich, November 2003 BITTERSWEET