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Dolce Italiano Contest: Chestnut Brownies

29 Nov

Well, today is my big day to show off what I baked from Gina’s cookbook. If you haven’t been following along, check out my kickoff post here, and my interview with Gina here, here, and here.

Long story short, you can win a personalized, signed copy of Dolce Italiano just by commenting on today’s post, and any or all of the other 9 posts that will be part of our 2-week series.

Now, without further ado, let’s move on to the “death by chocolate” (not a bad way to go, really) part.

Let me preface this by saying that you should never underestimate the humble brownie. There are brownie possibilities that you may never have explored, and this recipe is certainly one of them. While I will admit that I decided to make this recipe not only because I live with one of the world’s great brownie lovers (see #3 and photographic evidence), but also because I figured the brownie was a surefire way to not blow it on my first attempt to bake something from this cookbook and make it come out halfway decent. I’m not going to lie to you… I definitely don’t feel as confident baking here in Italy as I did back in the States. Even the crappiest apartments I lived in back in the US had better ovens than my silly Italian version that seems more like the EZ-Bake contraption my best friend had when I was six. Plus there’s all that metric conversion… and seeking out the right ingredients… the mind boggles.

Well, I am happy to report success, but first allow me to share an adventure with you. Finding the chestnuts wasn’t much of a problem, given that it’s chestnut season here. It was the search for “unsweetened chocolate” that surprisingly posed the bigger challenge. I hadn’t recalled ever seeing anything that looked like an Italian equivalent of the standard Baker’s Chocolate I used to always use back in the States. So I took myself over to Castroni, haven of all obscure and gourmet food products, only to find that when I asked for “cioccolato amaro, senza zucchero,” the clerk kept handing me chocolate bars with artificial sweetener in them. Luckily I checked the labels (edulcorante–which for some reason I have a major mental block in pronouncing). After I insisted that I wanted a chocolate with absolutely no sugar, I was told “non esiste.” Right. As much as I love Castroni, I’ve lived in Rome long enough to know the code for “I don’t feel like working right now (or ever for that matter).” So I never take the first no as a definite answer. Thus, a few minutes of close inspection of every chocolate bar in the store produced Domori’s 100% cacao bar: “Cru Arriba.” (And without saying anything, the clerk tried to disreetly read the label when I was paying for it. She kept quiet though. Looks like “esiste” after all, eh?)

As far as Domori goes… people, this is not Hershey’s. And it has a price tag to match. But these are special brownies, so be it. Only… I discovered upon returning home that the recipe called for 4 oz. of chocolate and the Domori bar was only like 2.75 oz. Ooops. I remedied that by pulling out an 80% cacao bar that we picked up at the unbelievably indulgent Fassbender Rausch Chocolate Shop in Berlin. Yes, there were numerous chocolate architectural works of art. It was Willy Wonka’s German Chocolate Factory, basically.

So, with the problem of the dark chocolate resolved with these exotic and gorgeous chocolate bars,

let us now admire the result of “chestnuts roasting …… in a silly Italian electric oven…”

Not too bad, really. Seeing as how I was still manually impaired at the time of baking, Ale helped me cut the chestnuts before roasting. I have to say that as far as I’m concerned, the trick to getting that furry skin to peel off easily has to with cutting them crosswise and deep, rather than just a simple slice or an X. I hate that furry skin! Even though Gina says that it’s not a problem for baking, I can’t stand it, so just look at the results I got:

Ain’t she a beaut? Or is it a he? Boh.

I’m getting a little wordy here, and you’re probably thinking, just get to the recipe already! Ok, ok. Fine. But at least let me show you the grappa I used. Yes, people, I said grappa. FIREWATER in your brownies! Weren’t expecting that, were you? This, my friends, goes to show that we are not dealing with your standard-issue, Betty Crocker, box mix, elementary school bake sale brownies here. No, siree! These are sophisticated brownies. Grown-up brownies. I told you not to underestimate them.

So get that oven pre-heated, have your unsweetened chocolate handy, and most importantly, find some chestnuts while they’re still in season, and get baking! I took these to a Thanksgiving dinner held by someone you might know, and they were a big hit. They have a very cake-like consistency and aren’t really “sweet” like you might expect of a typical brownie. They paired perfectly with some vanilla gelato. The recipe below is the original, followed by my notes of things I had to slightly modify.

Chestnut Brownies (from Dolce Italiano by Gina DePalma)
Makes 16 brownies

Ingredients:

15-17 whole roasted chestnuts, shells and skins removed (instructions for roasting found in the book)
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks, 5 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chestnut flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grappa or cognac

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350Β°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter or line with parchment paper.

Using a sharp chef’s knife, coarsely chop the chestnuts; you should have 1 heaping cup.

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water, whisking to combine them. Set the bowl aside in a warm spot. In a clean medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, chestnut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

Transfer the chocolate and butter mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugars and beat on medium speed to combine the ingreidnets thoroughly, about 30 seconds. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract and grappa, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. On low speed, beat in the dry ingredients, followed by the chestnuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly with an offset spatula. Bake the brownies until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the brownies have begun to pull away from the sides the pan, 20 to 25 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking.

Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting them into squares or rectangles. They are easiest to cut after being chilled several hours or overnight; after cutting the chilled brownies, allow them to come to room temperature before serving.

The brownies can be stored in an airtight containerept in a cool, dry place for up to 3 days.

My notes:

I didn’t really measure the chocolate, but used a 2.75 oz. 100% cacao chocolate bar and about half of another 2.75 oz bar of 80% cacao.

I don’t have a mixer with anything remotely resembling a fancy paddle attachment; I just gots me a really cheap hand mixer, but luckily it worked fine.

I think my baking pan might have been an 8-inch which could possibly explain why they were so incredibly tall. They also took much longer to bake than the recipe said, but that’s most likely my weird oven’s fault. Gina once told me that with recipes, when in doubt, “Bake it until it’s done” which is exactly what I did, but that ended up taking 40 or 50 minutes at a slightly lower temp. Despite this modification, they came out fine and weren’t burnt. I just waited until they were done.

I didn’t chill the brownies before cutting; I’m too impatient. Despite this, they cut just fine after cooling in the pan for only about an hour; they didn’t crumble or fall apart.

All in all, I’m proud of my first humble attempt at recreating one of Gina’s recipes. They disappeared pretty fast and are a very interesting twist on the classic brownie.

If you’ve made it this far, what are you waiting for? Comment and enter the contest! And don’t forget to stop by The Left Over Queen for tomorrow’s sweet surprise.

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87 Responses to “Dolce Italiano Contest: Chestnut Brownies”

  1. gillian November 29, 2007 at 10:59 am #

    am on my way out the door to get ingredients!!! the perfect project for a gray day

  2. Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy November 29, 2007 at 11:02 am #

    Yum….I can has more chestnut brownies, pls? πŸ™‚

  3. sognatrice November 29, 2007 at 11:29 am #

    Yeah! Finally something to actually *do* with roasted chestnuts…should I be able to keep myself from eating them πŸ˜‰

    Excellent work!

  4. Robert November 29, 2007 at 11:42 am #

    I maintain that there are some dishes that can only be made correctly by people who grew up in the culture it originated it. To me brownies (and choc-chip cookies) are in that league, and the province of Americans and Canadians only.

    I have never made brownies successfully (bar packet mixes) and much as I would love to try these I doubt I would be able to do them justice.

    They do look great though!

  5. Robert November 29, 2007 at 11:47 am #

    Oh, and like you some Italian words I have a mental block on pronounciation – my worst one is ricarice (top up for mobile/cell phones).

    I spent a whole week in Le Marche unable to top up my phone cos I could not work this word out and for some reason pointing just did not work in this instance…

  6. Barbara November 29, 2007 at 12:09 pm #

    Chestnuts are EVERYWHERE, but I don’t really care for them. Combining them with chocolate may be the answer!

  7. Rachel November 29, 2007 at 12:57 pm #

    I agree with Barbara about combining them with chocolate. Although it looks a little dark for my personal taste, I’m going to file that recipe away for a different kind of brownie next time I get a windfall of chestnuts. (Don’t know why, but people give them to me!) Thanks for the tip on deskinning them!

  8. Jenn DZ - Leftover Queen November 29, 2007 at 1:11 pm #

    Yum! I love roasted chestnuts – I just put them in stuffing for Thanksgiving as they are Roberto’s favorite! πŸ™‚
    Your brownies look amazingly beautiful! Great job Shelley!

  9. Karen November 29, 2007 at 1:14 pm #

    They look moist and delicious. I’ve been to Fassbender Rausch and it truly is amazing.

  10. my melange November 29, 2007 at 1:14 pm #

    Jumping thruugh the screen to eat those moist, chocolately, delicious brownies! And that chestnut is a beauty πŸ˜‰ Thanks!

  11. SWT November 29, 2007 at 1:29 pm #

    Complimenti! they look great. As an avid brownie baker/fan with a family to match my suitcase used to be full of Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate coming back to Italy. After giving up with searching for it here (I commend your efforts at Castroni!) I finally found a good substitution–on the inside of the Baker’s box no less. 1 ounce bar of unsweetened chocolate = 3 tablespoons cocoa powder + 1 tablespoon shortening. I use vegetable oil or margarine for the shortening. The brownies have a richer texter with this substitution but are perfect when you need your brownie fix. πŸ™‚

  12. Erin November 29, 2007 at 1:58 pm #

    beautiful brownies! all that chocolate talk has made me want to go out and get some right now…or maybe even stop for the roasted chestnuts πŸ™‚ Yum. There’s a stand just down our street with these everyday

  13. anna l'americana November 29, 2007 at 2:02 pm #

    Very creative on finding the chocolate – good for you for not giving up. I’m still amazed that everyone seems to have vanilla! That said, after these 4 desserts I’m going to venture that Gina’s recipes are really Italian style American desserts – they all seem to have non-Italian ingredients (and no Italian has ever heard of a brownie). So, this is my dream come true! Someone has finally fixed Italian baked goods so that I would love it!!!! (Don’t get me wrong – the rest of the cuisine doesn’t need a thing, it was just the desserts that needed fixing!) PS: Where do you get vanilla gelato? I used to add a bit of very precious self imported vanilla to crema gelato…..

  14. nyc/caribbean ragazza November 29, 2007 at 2:03 pm #

    bellissima!!!

  15. Barbara November 29, 2007 at 2:20 pm #

    BTW (and yes, I realize I can’t enter the contest more than once!), I did want to tell you that Lindt makes a 99% chocolate bar, which is what I normally use here in Italy for unsweetened (Bakers) chocolate. You should be able to find it an any decent sized grocery store.

  16. Judy November 29, 2007 at 2:22 pm #

    oh, those look spectacular. No matter how, I think this book and I need to be better acquainted…

  17. Alice November 29, 2007 at 2:23 pm #

    Hi,
    Kristina from Romantales told us Italian knitters to take a look at your blog, so here I am.
    Hope I can join you sooner or later, although Monday is a tough day for me.
    I’m wondering if you tried the 99% Lindt chocolate bars. I have never read the label, but I’m sure it’s much cheaper than Domori chocolate.
    And I agree with Anna, brownies are definetely not an Italian dessert, but they’re sooo good.
    My only attempt has been a disaster. An American friend of mine gave me her recipe, but 400 grams of sugar are too much for me!!!
    Any good recipe here? (in metric measurement would be great, but I know it would be asking too much…)
    A presto!

  18. Carla November 29, 2007 at 2:24 pm #

    Yum- I will be making those!

  19. Jill November 29, 2007 at 2:28 pm #

    those look heavenly!

  20. alexmom November 29, 2007 at 2:30 pm #

    Mmmmmmmm……Chocolate AND chestnuts!!!Definitely a keeper!!!

  21. Rosa November 29, 2007 at 2:52 pm #

    They look irresistable! I think it will have to be Lindt chocolate for me too. And chestnut flour?Don’t know if I can find that in this neck of the woods.

  22. Stacy November 29, 2007 at 2:52 pm #

    Yum! moist and delicious – I bet this is one brownie my Italian would like.

  23. Wendy November 29, 2007 at 2:58 pm #

    These look absolutely sinful. I can not wait to try them out. We have a wonderful Italian Fresh Market and they have chestnuts in stock. I am going to go out and buy some and some grappa to make these as a special treat for us this weekend.

  24. ilva November 29, 2007 at 3:14 pm #

    Oh oh, I’m going to put a big X on these ones so I remember to make them. and soon! They look absolutely lovely, what a great cookbook Dolce Italiano is!

  25. Bellini Valli November 29, 2007 at 3:28 pm #

    Death by chocolate would be a great way to go…I’d be smiling from ear to ear if I were eating these Chestnut Brownies. The cookbook sounds very special and even if I don’t win it it will be added to ever growing collection!!!

  26. Giulia November 29, 2007 at 3:31 pm #

    Oh no, chocolate and chestnuts? That is a tummy BOMB in the making. They look delicious though!

  27. Paula November 29, 2007 at 3:37 pm #

    Those brownies look sinfully rich and delicious! Chestnuts are a bit difficult to come by here in the South, but I’d love to give these brownies a try!

  28. cbright67 November 29, 2007 at 3:39 pm #

    This is a very creative recipe in that it combines the American tradition of brownies with chestnuts which are popular in Italy but not so much in the U.S. The sweet, creaminess of the chestnuts in the moist brownie batter sounds too good to resist!

  29. SalemHouse November 29, 2007 at 3:48 pm #

    I don’t think chestnuts are available here in my small, midwestern grocery store, but they look and sound delicious.

  30. anna l'americana November 29, 2007 at 3:54 pm #

    Any suggestions for chestnut substitutions for those poor southern and midwestern deprived wonder-chefs? I know I can get the chestnuts in Maine, but where would one get chestnut flour? Any suggestions on substitutions there? We are going to need to get creative if we are going to attempt cross border recipe sharing! Or perhaps mail-order?

  31. Jenn November 29, 2007 at 4:05 pm #

    Can I say I have never had chestnuts before? To be honest I am not sure you can even get them in Texas?! When in NYC I have been tempted to stop and try some from a street vendor. I will have to see if I can find some (& chestnut flour) because these brownies look SO moist and decadent!

  32. Sophie November 29, 2007 at 4:11 pm #

    AAGGHH! I am so craving chocolate now!

    I took some chestnuts home in my suitcase on one of my trips to Europe. U.S. Customs made me hand them over to them. How would I know they were banned at the time (late 80’s). Unfortunately, I had thrown them in my suitcase, not in a bag but onesy here and onesy there. Now I am craving chestnuts, too!

  33. Sherry November 29, 2007 at 4:22 pm #

    I have never had chestnuts in my life despite my deep down desire to one day have a Christmas that resembles that which is enjoyed in “The Christmas Song” – maybe this recipe is my chance! And even if perhaps I wouldn’t like them alone, I am sure I will like them with the chocolate.

  34. softdrink November 29, 2007 at 4:25 pm #

    All of the recipes look soooooo good.

  35. Janie November 29, 2007 at 4:28 pm #

    I just saw fresh chestnuts in the store and wondered what I could do with them. Now I know! I also loved your description of your quest for unsweetened chocolate!

  36. Shelley, At Home in Rome November 29, 2007 at 4:29 pm #

    Thanks for the tips about the Lindt chocolate. Gina told me that unsweetened chocolate is always 99%, I guess it’s somehow impossible for it to be 100%, boh. That’s what the label said on the Domori chocolate 100% cacao paste or something like that, and that was the only ingredient.

    In Gina’s cookbook there is a very useful index FULL of addresses and reference information for where you can get ingredients that might be hard to find in your area. She suggests addresses and websites where you can get special ingredients like chestnut flour, if you don’t have it where you live. Although it’s fun to have these few recipes floating around during the contest, if you find yourself intrigued by the cookbook I think it would be a good investment to have in any cook’s collection, because it has hundreds and hundreds of recipes as well as stories and special tips for baking.

    I got the chestnut flour from Castoni. They have like 10 or 12 different types of flour.

  37. Jeni Hill Ertmer November 29, 2007 at 4:45 pm #

    Boy, do those brownies ever look good – REALLY GOOD!
    I’m wondering though on the ingredients – where in blazes does one find chestnut flour anyway? In this dinky area where I live -and yes it is in the States in Pennsylvania no less -I can’t even find rye flour here now to make the Swedish Rye bread I love! Wonder which store within a 50-100 mile radius of me might possibly carry chestnut flour -never even heard of that one before so it might prove to be interesting just to search for it.
    I feel a road trip coming on! LOL

  38. Lilian November 29, 2007 at 5:03 pm #

    Of the recipes selected so far from Gina’s book, this is the one I like most–but then I’m a chestnut fanatic! Chestnuts–and chestnut flour–aren’t that easy or inexpensive to come by on this side of the Atlantic–I’m in Massachusetts (Martha’s Vineyard, to be exact)–but there are a few places one can look (Trader Joe’s, for example, carries fresh Italian chestnuts, and vacuum-packed cooked French ones). For some reason, the locally-harvested “organic” chestnuts sold at the health food store here are going for $15.99/lb. Egad! …But I digress. Returning to the subject: I’m thrilled to see that the butter and sugar quantities in this recipe are a little more reasonable (considering that these are brownies, after all)–and the butter could be replaced by canola oil.
    Shelley, have you read Ria Loohuizen’s book on chestnuts? I recommend it. (It’s published by Prospect Books.)

  39. Jen November 29, 2007 at 5:05 pm #

    Mmmmmmm, super indulgent. (I’m also of the electric hand mixer school, with a concentration in wooden spoons.) Now, where to find the chestnut flour…?

  40. Cindy November 29, 2007 at 5:11 pm #

    The picture shows a very nice thin crust on top of a very moist and dark chocolate brownie. I’d say it looks perfect. I’m in Massachusetts also and glad to know that I can get the Italian chestnuts at Trader Joe’s. I wonder if they have the chestnut flour. What if you don’t use the chestnut flour? What would you replace it with?

  41. jck November 29, 2007 at 6:08 pm #

    looks absolutely divine…

  42. Beth November 29, 2007 at 6:42 pm #

    Sounds like americanized version of castagnaccio.
    Perugina makes a bitter chocolate. Chestnuts from Europe are contraband in the US because all the chestnut trees suffered from a blight about 100 years ago and were wiped out….they are just now being re-introduced. Barbara Kinsolver wrtoe about this in ‘Prodigal Summer.’

  43. finnyknits November 29, 2007 at 7:00 pm #

    Um, I think the real question here is, for Ale really: “Erano fudgey?”

  44. Tea November 29, 2007 at 7:40 pm #

    The only thing I`ll say is M M M. Wish I could have a bite :))

  45. daniela November 29, 2007 at 8:03 pm #

    I love love love chestnuts and the man loves brownies. I’m thinking I would score big time if I made these for his birthday….though it sounds difficult for those of us who absolutely suck at baking..

  46. Dana November 29, 2007 at 8:21 pm #

    Oh my goodness – these brownies look amazing!

  47. Susan from Food Blogga November 29, 2007 at 8:42 pm #

    Do you think I could live inside that chocolate mansion even for a day or two? Those are the most decadent, moist looking brownies. I’m not that tempted though, as I’m SOOOO satisfied eating my non-fat yogurt with walnuts. πŸ˜‰

  48. cheeky November 29, 2007 at 9:08 pm #

    I would be so tempted to point out to the clerk that there was indeed 100% chocolate. Urghhh….
    Patience. Mine would really be tested and I commend your attitude; and well let’s face it you have experience now and know the routine. Bravo for you.
    Now about those brownies. They look yummy.
    I liked your little chestnut photos.
    What a great Thanksgiving dinner you had also.
    xo

  49. Bree November 29, 2007 at 9:40 pm #

    they look fantastic! So moist!

  50. Tara November 29, 2007 at 9:59 pm #

    Oh my goodness…I absolutely love brownies! And I love roasted chesnuts! This will definitely be a recipe that I will try! Thanks for your detailed post! I need all the extra information I can get!

  51. Gil November 30, 2007 at 12:04 am #

    These sound so delicious! Why can’t bakeries in the US come up with recipes like this?

  52. Janavi November 30, 2007 at 1:05 am #

    The photo of the brownies looks so realistic I almost feel I could take a bite out of it-wish I could.

  53. Andrea November 30, 2007 at 2:13 am #

    Oh dear god, more chocolate and alcohol. Between you and Ilva, my waist line is going to take a beating this winter. They look oh so good!

  54. jen in MI November 30, 2007 at 2:50 am #

    Gorgeous pictures and lovely writing. I may skip the chestnuts, though – the chocolate and grappa is enough. Do you think hazelnuts would work?

  55. jen in MI November 30, 2007 at 2:51 am #

    And thank you, thank you for the recipes, the interview and my learning about this book!

  56. bonggamom November 30, 2007 at 3:46 am #

    All hail the brownie!! I never underestimate it either — the last brownie I made had spinach in it, and my picky kids just looooved it (they could not taste the spinach at all).

    Chestnut flour? Hmmmmm…… where do I find that? Actually I’m not a big chestnut lover (ok, I hate the stuff) but that last photo of yours looks sooo tempting…

  57. Joannie November 30, 2007 at 3:51 am #

    When I studied in Rome, Castroni was always our refuge for peanut butter… even though it was pretty expensive when they had it.

    Those brownies look great! I’m getting more and more excited about this cookbook every day!

  58. SabineM November 30, 2007 at 5:53 am #

    OMG, they get better every day these deserts! I am amazed and this is coming from someone who usually passes desert (but goes for the Cheese plate)
    WOW
    I have to try this one too! I am going to add 500lbs thanks to you guys!

  59. J.Doe November 30, 2007 at 6:19 am #

    I love brownies and I love roasted chestnuts, but i think I’ll just eat them separately instead of combining them

  60. Mary November 30, 2007 at 8:21 am #

    I absolutely adore brownies and these look heavenly. Add chestnuts to the mix and they’re bound to be fantastic. I’m definitely going to have to try this recipe.

  61. Rebecca November 30, 2007 at 9:25 am #

    When I was a kid, my mom always made me birthday brownies instead of a cake. I think I’ll see if she wants to try out this recipe with me. They sound so good!

  62. babycakes November 30, 2007 at 1:30 pm #

    OMG !!! this recipe soubds so great !!! Anf do have some chestnut flour left …
    thnaks so much for sharing

  63. Bella November 30, 2007 at 2:14 pm #

    OH MY! Do those look good. Guess on Saturday I will have to make a trip to the Italian Deli here in town and get some chestnut flour. YUM!

  64. Anali November 30, 2007 at 3:19 pm #

    OMG! All of you are killing me with the chocolate!! I have to go buy something! I can’t bake it fast enough!

  65. Ley November 30, 2007 at 3:34 pm #

    Oooh. You know, I’ve never actually made anything with chestnuts before. These look so incrediable, though, that I think I’ll have to try!!

  66. miss eliza November 30, 2007 at 5:42 pm #

    Wow, these sound heavenly! My hubby always swears he doesn’t like brownies but these may change his mind. I’ve just recently shown him that he does, in fact, like chestnuts – loves them, actually – so maybe this will push the brownie envelope for him. Hooray!!

  67. Kevin December 1, 2007 at 2:22 am #

    These sound amazing! Chocolate an chestnuts go well together. I have been enjoying chestnuts recently and I think this might be next on my list.

  68. Alison December 1, 2007 at 5:07 am #

    I love chestnuts! I spent what felt like two days peeling chestnuts for my T-day stuffing.
    I had a cake made from chestnuts once and loved it.
    I just borrowed this book from the library(Christmas previewing), beautiful book.

  69. cathy December 1, 2007 at 10:50 am #

    Baci alla Cioccolata, Mosaic Biscotti, Ricotta Pound Cake and now Chestnut Brownies….I just can’t choose…..
    So I’ll bake them all…..
    That way I cannot lose! (weight, that is!!!)

  70. Pasticcera December 2, 2007 at 12:02 am #

    This id definitely going in the cookie platter repertoire.

  71. Pasticcera December 2, 2007 at 12:02 am #

    This is definitely going in the cookie platter repertoire.

  72. Vicki December 2, 2007 at 4:23 am #

    I hate roasting chestnuts! But I might just have to get over it so I can make these…

  73. Linda December 2, 2007 at 6:37 pm #

    Sounds yummy, not sure if I can find chestnuts but will look.

    Thank you for participating in this contest.

  74. Suzana December 3, 2007 at 4:33 pm #

    My, my, my… those brownies are an absolute temptation – even for a non-chocoholic like me! It sounds great to have chestnuts in soft brownies… I’m drooling already, just to imagine!

  75. Pene December 4, 2007 at 4:27 pm #

    These look delectable & worth eating slowly!!

  76. anne December 4, 2007 at 5:03 pm #

    The brownies are so incredibly beautiful and tempting. WOnderful photos.

  77. Janet December 4, 2007 at 6:42 pm #

    I LOVE chestnuts!!! Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  78. Colleen December 4, 2007 at 9:31 pm #

    Oh WOW!! Those look absolutely stunning!! No matter that I can’t get chestnuts or chestnut flour in South Africa, and I know it won’t taste the same, I will just have to try this recipe with some other kind of nut and remember what chestnuts taste like from my memories of London. Thank you!

  79. Diana December 5, 2007 at 2:54 am #

    ditto on what everyone else said. I never thought of chestnuts in brownies, but that sounds delicious. Please enter me in the contest. I would love to win Gina’s cookbook and try some recipes myself. thank you.

  80. Cinzia December 5, 2007 at 10:54 am #

    I’ll try this recipe. I hope I do not sound haughty but I’m usually perfectly happy with our homecooking and not so adventurous in trying different cuisines. Thus said what I really liked in USA where cookies, brownies, chocolate ones, or bagels and waffles. (Let’s talk about food differences: I tried to eat a frozen waffle at the Hotel in Orlando thus getting my US friends RFLMAO. What do I know: they usually were ready to eat at their home). Plus Muffins are not so good in Rome as they are in London or Dublin. Sooo, I bought cups during my last trip (how do u make biscotti if u don’t know how much a cup is?) and never had a chance to try for lack of recipes.
    Allora grazie Shelley

  81. Deborah December 5, 2007 at 6:05 pm #

    I have not cooked a whole lot with chestnuts – so I would like to try these so I can get more familiar with them. They sound wonderful!

  82. FoodieTots December 5, 2007 at 8:33 pm #

    Brownies with grappa? They look divine!

  83. Susan December 6, 2007 at 12:39 am #

    I agree that chocolate and chestnuts make a great combination. For my birthday (Nov. 11) I found a flourless cake recipe (my husband is celiac) containing just chocolate, eggs, chestnut puree and sugar. The frosting contained chocolate, butter and rum. The cake was a huge success, dense, rich and totally decadent. My point in mentioning it is that it was undoubtedly simpler to make than these brownies. Plus, garnished with candied chestnuts, it presented very handsomely.

  84. Lael December 6, 2007 at 6:25 am #

    I really do wonder how I’ve gone so long without ever making a chestnut recipe! This is on my christmas holiday to-do list!

  85. jessica in rome December 6, 2007 at 2:41 pm #

    How festive and delicious!

  86. MyKitchenInHalfCups December 6, 2007 at 3:09 pm #

    Shopping list:
    Dolce Italiano by Gina DePalma (use Barnes & Noble coupon)
    chestnuts
    4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
    grappa di Amarone (may have to settle for something different)

    Ilva is always leading me astray.
    This “brownies” look amazing! Not a regular Betty Crocker as you say.

  87. Amy December 7, 2007 at 7:42 pm #

    I would be running to make these right now, but I do not think I’d be able to wind up with 15-17 chestnuts. I cannot keep those things out of my mouth after roasting.

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