A brownie is not a brownie unless it has walnuts in it, or so it is for me. While that doesn’t stop me eating a walnut-less brownie, it's not quite satisfying. I also cannot stand brownies that have heaps of chocolate sauce or ice-cream piled on top. Not unless it’s being served for dessert. A good brownie is meant to be eaten as is. And should have walnuts.
If the Black Forest was Ma’s for-special-occasions/party dessert, the walnut-brownie was her weekday specialty. It was not fudgy. It was more like a regular chocolate cake, with more cocoa and walnuts. It used to be a lovely, light chocolate colour, smell divine and taste really, really good. My job each time Ma made brownies was to chop the walnuts and lick the residual batter from the bowl. While Mia has now perfected Licking of the Spatula, I’m waiting for her to take over the walnut-chopping.
I first discovered that brownies can also be fudgy-not-just-cakey once the whole Barista/café onslaught began in Delhi in the late 90s. (Small town girl, no big city/café experience, what to do!) In Melbourne cafes, more often than not, the brownies are without walnuts and oftener still, sort of thick slabs of sweetened chocolatey dough. Not always nice. I still eat them though; sometimes you’ve just got to get your brownie fix.