Blast from the Past! Vicki's Pecan Nut Brownies

Many of my foodie fans know well enough, that my quest for the perfect brownie is never ending!  Even some of the most skilled folks in the kitchen have a culinary nemesis, and in my case, it's brownies.  I keep baking and baking in search of the perfect blend of cakey and fudgey texture, not too sweet, and brings out the essence of chocolate.  Why is this so hard?!?  I kept asking myself that in bewilderment, thinking I would never find the right recipe, or even create one.  Thankfully, the answer was under my nose the entire time, sorta.  During one of my many visits to my book case, sifting through the pages of an old cook book I've had since I could remember, an old index card flopped out.  A blast from the past!

These brownies are from an old recipe given to me by a close family friend about 15 years ago.  Her name is Vicki Hungerford and she was definitely one of my culinary inspirations.  No, she's not some fancy celebrity chef, just and honest, hard working mother, who loved her family and friends.  She's loved and lost, but never lost sight the joys life brings.  She certainly made an impression on me in my youth, and I always remember when she would make brownies for everyone and these fun, log shaped cinnamon cookies (I could've sworn she wrote that one on a card for me too).  My memory might be fading, but I vividly remember when she wrote this recipe on an index card for me.  In my 10 year old frame of mind, I felt like someone just gave me the holy grail!  15 years later, this recipe still rocks!

Vicki's Pecan Nut Brownies:

- 1 stick butter
- 3/4 cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
- 1/2 cup Pecans (chopped)
- 1 cup Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 3/4 cup Flour

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Make sure your oven rack is on the second lowest level.  Prepare a metal 8x8 pan lined with foil/parchment paper (with extra sticking out on the sides), something that will allow you to easily lift the brownies out of the pan for nicer cuts later.  Melt butter and chocolate chips together in the microwave for about 60 seconds.  Stir the chocolate mixture until smooth.  Add vanilla into chocolate mixture.  In a separate bowl, combine flour and sugar.  Beat eggs and mix into chocolate mixture.  Add chocolate mixture to dry mixture and stir to combine.  Stir in pecan pieces (save some for the top of the brownies) and pour into prepared pan.  Top with remaining pecans and bake for 35 mins, or until a toothpick test comes out almost clean.  If the toothpick comes out completely clean, you've over-baked it!  Allow the brownies to cool for about 20 minutes.  Lift brownies from the pan with your foil or parchment paper.  Peel away the foil or paper and place brownies on a cutting board.  Cut into squares with a pizza cutter (I find Alton Brown's method of slicing brownies to be quite efficient) and serve.

This is perfect treat for the Texan chocoholic, as it features the rich deep flavor of chocolate, and the unique flavor of pecans.  Be sure to indulge and enjoy a truly timeless recipe :)

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