October Recipe of the Month-Brownies Cockaigne & Tahini Brownies
For many years, my go-to recipe for homemade brownies was Brownies Cockaigne from The Joy of Cooking. For me, no mix could hold a candle to that. But times change, mixes got better, and I got to a point where I just wasn’t able to spend as much time in the kitchen as I used to, so when I did, I focused on cooking dinner rather than desserts, although I’d still throw together a quick fruit crisp or galette when I could.
I still craved good brownies though, and eventually came across the highly-rated Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Brownie mix. They make other versions, but this is the one I like best. It straddles the line between cakey and fudgey just the way I like. It has little chocolate chips in it, and I usually add nuts, whatever kind I have on hand.
I’ve also had fun experimenting with other additions, caramels, little peanut butter cups, and the like.
So when tahini became all the rage, I was able to improvise my own version of tahini brownies. I don’t mix the tahini with anything, I just swirl about a half cup over the batter before sliding it into the oven. The first time, I also crumbled some halvah on top (the bottom two photos below), but the second time, I forgot. While I love the special tahini and halvah I ordered from Seed + Mill in New York (and wrote about for the Packet), for this I just used inexpensive tahini and halvah I’d previously ordered from Amazon.
If you’d like to make your own brownies, I still recommend Brownies Cockaigne, so that recipe is below. My mother used to frost them for us, but I rarely do that any more since I tend to use these other add-ins and that makes them plenty rich on their own.
Brownies Cockaigne* adapted from The Joy of Cooking (1961 edition)
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Melt in a double-boiler (or carefully on low burner, or in microwave on low):
1/4 cup butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
Beat until light in color and foamy in texture:
4 eggs at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
Add gradually and continue beating until well creamed:
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
With a few, swift strokes (by hand please), combine the cooled chocolate mixture and the eggs and sugar mixture. Before the mixture becomes uniformly colored, fold in, again by hand:
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
And, before the flour is uniformly colored, stir in gently (if you like):
1 cup pecan (or other nut) meats.
Turn into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan and bake about 25 minutes. Cut when cool.
*According to Wikipedia, “Cockaigne is a land of plenty in medieval myth, an imaginary place of extreme luxury and ease where physical comforts and pleasures are always immediately at hand and where the harshness of medieval peasant life does not exist.”