The only thing better than 2 kinds of chocolate in a brownie is 3 kinds of chocolate. And the only thing better than that is some gianduja added in. Gianduja is a creamy chocolate hazelnut mixture or spread. The one people are probably most familiar with is Nutella. Some folks use nutella like peanut butter and spread it on bread. I like to bake with it (naturally). The creamy texture in a fudgy brownie adds more flavor and texture to an otherwise plain brownie.
I took this basic brownie recipe and added a thin layer of the crema gianduja I bought from the little Italian grocery store on Lygon St in Melbourne's Little Italy. I layered half the brownie batter in the pan first, then the gianduja then the rest of the batter, covering the gianduja layer completely. I needed a quick recipe to bring on a trip this weekend and of the dozens/hundreds of brownie recipes I have, I figured this one would do. My palate is rather jaded when it comes to brownies. People always ask me what my favorite recipe is or which one is the best or fudgiest. I don't know that I have a favorite - that implies choosing one over another and I don't like to limit myself, haha. I like certain types of brownies (fudgy as opposed to cakey, chocolaty as opposed to sweet) but I also love playing around with different variations of them and adding ingredients I like such as dulce de leche, caramel, and/or gianduja. I'm on a gianduja kick at the moment so I'm looking for other desserts I could try that uses it.
One note on the directions - it says to cool the melted chocolates for 15 minutes then "whisk" in the softened butter. I don't think butter can be successfully whisked in anywhere, especially in a somewhat solid form. So I actually added the butter to the chocolates to be melted together. I didn't wait 15 minutes after melting them but added the rest of the ingredients immediately. Yes, living dangerously I am.
Overall, this was a decent brownie recipe. It has more of a dark chocolate taste and is nicely fudgy. The gianduja flavor didn't come out as much as I had hoped but it's still there. Next time I may add some directly to the batter and mix it in then be a little more generous with the gianduja layer itself. Some toasted chopped hazelnuts on top would also bring out more of the hazelnut flavor but I didn't have any on hand. Next time....
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
1. Heat oven to 350⁰F. Lightly grease an 8” square pan. Sprinkle bottom with cocoa powder, tapping out any excess.
2. Combine the bittersweet and unsweetened chocolates in a double boiler set over simmering water. Stir often, over low heat, until mixture is melted and smooth.
3. Remove top of double boiler from heat, carefully wipe bottom, and set mixture aside to cool for 15 minutes.
4. Whisk in the butter, sugar and vanilla until blended (note: I added the butter to be melted with the chocolates). Whisk in eggs, beating until smooth. Gently add in flour and salt just until mixture is combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted near the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Cool pan completely on a wire rack. Cut into squares.
Makes about 1 ½ dozen