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Walnut Squares

by Alice Medrich

Makes sixteen two inch squares

A San Francisco Food Critic once called these "brownies with a college education." It's no wonder since they are actually chocolate walnut torte squares. Take them on a picnic or serve them after dinner with a dollop of whipped cream.

6 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, cut into bits
6 ounces sweet butter, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons dark rum
4 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup finely ground walnuts
1/4 cup (1 ounce) flour
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Confectioners sugar and/or cocoa to dust the tops

Special Equipment:

8-inch square cake pan 1 1/2 -2 inches deep
a decorative stencil, if desired

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line the bottom of pan with parchment paper.

Melt chocolate and butter in a small bowl placed in a barely simmering waterbath, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Or microwave on MEDIUM (50%) power for about 2 minutes. Stir until smooth and completely melted. Stir in rum. Set aside.

In bowl, whisk egg yolks with 1/2 C of sugar until pale and thick. Stir in warm chocolate mixture; set aside.

In a clean, dry mixer bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar at medium speed until soft peaks are formed. Gradually sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, beating at high speed until stiff but not dry. Set aside just long enough to whisk flour and walnuts into chocolate batter. Fold about one-fourth of whites into the chocolate batter to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whites. Turn the batter into the prepared pan and bake 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick or wooden skewer plunged into the center of the torte shows moist crumbs. Cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Torte will have risen like a souffle during baking, then fall in the center as it cools, leaving a faintly crusty higher rim around the edges. Level the torte before removing it from the pan, as follows. Run a small metal spatula or knife between the edges of the torte and the sides of the pan to release it. Press the raised edges of the torte down with your fingers until it is level with the center. Cake may be prepared to this point, wrapped well and kept at room temperature up to three days, or frozen up to 3 months.

Invert pan onto a cutting board; remove pan and peel off paper liner. If the torte is still uneven or appears slightly sunken in the center, level it again by pressing the top firmly with the bottom of the empty cake pan. Cut cake into 2 inch squares. Use a fine strainer to dust with confectioners sugar and/or cocoa, if desired. Store and serve at room temperature.


Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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