It’s Superbowl Sunday and I’m tasked with bringing the brownies to the party. Usually I rip the top off a cardboard box and mix the contents for a chocolate win. But this year I made a little extra effort.
For Christmas gifts I gave fair trade chocolate from Taza Chocolate, and having a few bars left I thought I’d try their brownie recipe. Taza is a small company just over in Somerville, Mass. I toured their factory before the holidays with my friend Jessica. It was no Willy Wonka experience. It was crowded and the highlight was watching an old Italian-made cacao bean grinder painted fire engine red do its work.
But what makes fair trade special is all the stuff you can’t see. Taza’s beans are grown in the Dominican Republic by local growers organized into cooperatives. The business is financially and environmentally stable and community-oriented. Basically, no mean people or practices are involved. It’s stone-ground chocolate that has a heart.
The people running Taza are all young, happy, and eco-alert. They even sell hip T-shirts alongside their chocolate products and have almost no waste from their production process. It’s pretty impressive.
And the brownies? Touchdown!
Taza Chocolate Brownies
Global community awareness
Butter (for the pan)
Flour (for the pan)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
6 ounces (2 bars) 80% Taza Stone Ground Chocolate
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and dust with flour, tapping out the excess.
In the top of a double-boiler, melt the butter and the chocolate. Set aside to cool. (If you don’t have a double boiler, heat 2 inches of water in a sauce pot to a simmer then set a heat-proof bowl on top of the pot and melt the chocolate and butter in the bowl.)
Sift together the flour and salt. With an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until thick and lemon-colored. Beat in the vanilla.
Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until thoroughly blended. Fold in the flour mixture, followed by the walnuts.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake about 25 minutes or until the center is just set. Let the brownies cool in the pan for about 30 minutes.
Make 6 lengthwise cuts and 3 horizontal cuts to form 28 bars.
(Adapted from “The Silver Palate Cookbook”)