The first time I sank my teeth into one of these brownies, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I was visiting my childhood best friend, Katie Giannone, at her beach house rental in New Hampshire, and had arrived in the late afternoon. Katie met me on the front porch with a fresh pot of coffee and a plate of brownies, which we nearly demolished while catching up and taking in the ocean view. When I asked her about the recipe, she said it came from her mother’s well-worn copy of The Moosewood Cookbook, from the iconic restaurant that just celebrated its fortieth anniversary in my current hometown of Ithaca, New York. This variation is even fudgier, with extra cocoa powder and the blissful combination of dried figs, walnuts, and coarse sea salt. The purist can leave out the embellishments, but I recommend keeping the salt. For true chocoholics, increase the cocoa powder from 2 tablespoons to 1?2 cup.
How to toast walnuts: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the nuts are dark brown, stirring once halfway through. Transfer immediately to a heatproof dish to cool.