Thursday, December 19, 2013

Hazelnut White Chocolate Brownies

Sometimes things fall apart...well duh...what I really mean is sometimes friendship fall apart. Sometimes it is because people move or there is a big falling out or sometimes its more subtle.  I have had this happen a few times in my life with super close friends and it never really gets easier.  I continue to always wonder how the other person is doing, whats new in their life and there are of course always things that remind of specific people.  Seriously it can be years...since college and even since high school.  But this is really just something that happens in life and in someways is part of growing up.  We all change, our priorities change as we grow up, in our 20's we really start to truly figure out who we are, and for some people its even significant others that get in the way.  I have to wonder though, does it ever get easier? Is there ever a point when you lose a friend, and your aren't really sure why, but you stop questioning it?

At this time of year, or well next Tuesday aka Christmas Eve, I always try to get my old friends together for brunch, and although not everyone can make it, its always a good gathering, a great time to catch up, and there is always plenty of food and drinks.  But its this time of year too that makes me think of those old friends, to send up a little prayer that all is well in their world and wish them happy holidays.  Baking brownies and cookies always reminds me of this as well...especially anything with hazelnuts like these brownies.  Long story short there was an attempt to make hazelnut macaroons in high school that did not turn out so delicious.

A little Christmas spirit...Thanks again James!

These brownies though are quite the opposite.  Moist, chewy with a good crunch and a rich chocolaty flavor.  Although they may not scream Happy Holidays they are a nice alternative to all of the peppermint, cinnamon and "fruit" desserts going around this holiday season.  So give them a try, they will not disappoint.

Brownies batter...although you may want to just stick a spoon in and have some.  Hold back...these are even better once baked.

And into the oven they go.

Hazelnut White Chocolate Brownies:
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 sticks unsalted butter (1cup)
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray an 8 x 8" baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2.  In a microwave safe dish, melt the butter.

3.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar and cocoa powder.  Then stir in the melted butter.

4.  Next add in the eggs and vanilla extract until completely combined.

5.  Then mix in the flour and salt just until smooth.  Do not over mix.  Then fold in the toasted hazelnuts and white chocolate chips.

6.  Scrape the mixture into prepared baking dish using a spatula and spread into an even layer.

7. Bake for 350 degrees just until brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, or tester comes out with no batter.  About 35-40 minutes.

8.  Let cool slightly before serving.  Enjoy!

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