The note in the margin is dated 1981. "These are incredible! Flavor of chocolate and butter dominate. Sinfully rich!" It was back in the day when recipes were on paper, in books. This book was San Francisco A La Carte, published by the Junior League of San Francisco in 1979. The recipe was for Chocolate Finns.
I made them for a pot luck and soon, I could not show up without them because one of my chocoholic friends (and all my friends were chocoholics) would complain, "hey, where are those chocolate things?"
Where did Chocolate Finns come from? Usually, the Internet gushes with versions of any recipe one can name but yesterday, I could find just a couple of transcriptions of the same recipe. As far as I can tell, the first and only place the recipe ever appeared is in the book where I found them 30 years ago. They are a little like Nanaimo Bars, a Vancouver Island favorite, but not really. I guess someone in the Junior League made them up.
So I dug around and found the book and a few hours later, took my Finns to a pot luck where they received the same reception from the chocoholics (which, again, was pretty much everyone).
The Chocolate Finn is a thin, three-layer cake-candy mash-up. The bottom layer is a dense brownie. The middle layer is a candy: sugar, cream, butter. The top is a thin film of bitter chocolate. They are very — they math out to about 100 calories when I cut them as directed, into 1 x 1.5-inch pieces.
While the recipe is pretty easy, there are three separately prepared layers and unless you plan carefully, you will use quite a few bowls and pots. I plan a few adaptations to simplify the procedure (see note below) but for now, the recipe is very close to the original.
Notes: I plan to eliminate a step and a pot by using a microwave and using cocoa and butter instead of the unsweetened chocolate. I already tested the cocoa substitution and it works perfectly. The new method will change the first layer instruction to:
Melt 1/4 cup (4 T) of butter and stir in 3/4 cup (3 oz) cocoa. (Hint: Place butter in a glass bowl and microwave with 1/2 cup water in a separate glass sharing the microwave. This prevents the butter from popping and making a mess.) In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and add the sugar, flour, nuts and vanilla. Add half of the melted cocoa and butter, reserving the rest for the third layer. Mix. Spread evenly in a 9x13-inch pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes until almost set. Remove from oven.
Then, for layer 3, simply remelt the remaining cocoa mixture and spread.
If someone out there tries this, let me know. I won't be trying it until I recover from my sugar rush. Unlike in 1981, I can't do that in a day. :)