Recipe: Sea Salt Fudge Brownies

It should really be "Netflix and Brownie"... preferably while you're in pajamas.
I honestly don't think I've met someone that hated brownies. Yes, there are some people that probably won't select this from a display right away. But if you think about it, once it's offered to them, they take it, take a bite, and zone out into their comfort zones. 

Whoever made the first brownie must have thought, "Hhhmmm... this could go two ways. Do I share this with the world or keep this sinful treat to myself?" What a moral conundrum. I'm just happy this was shared with all of humanity! Hail the chocolate brownie gods! Of course, there are numerous accounts to how these came about. Brownies are said to have originated from the United States (I'm surprised the French and the Swiss didn't take a stab at this earlier). To be specific, at the Palmer House in Chicago in the early 1890's. And yes, you guessed it, it was named because of it's colour... brown. (I'm laughing inside now because there will always be a dog --at least in the Philippines-- who is named "Brownie" too).

These are basically cookies in bar form. And cookies, or "koekje" are essentially "small cakes". So yes... you can bake your cake and eat it too. You can eat quite a lot of it actually! You can read about cookies too at my other blog entry, here.

Brownies will forever be a welcomed treat, at least in our home. Yes, we try to steer away from the readily-available-grocery-store-bought two-bite brownies. They're addicting! And there's just so much unknown ingredients listed on the labels. So as much as possible, I make it fresh and at home. And this also gives us the satisfaction of getting it straight from the oven and even licking the fudge off the spatula! (Although... you really shouldn't because... raw eggs.)

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Sea Salt Fudge Brownies
Depending on the pan you use, you can make 9-12-15 brownies. You can always double the amount of the recipe and make more. For sure.... if you're serving this at a holiday get together, you'll really need twice the recipe. I honestly just used a 9-inch loaf pan (I just made a smaller batch) and it still gave me 8 pieces (though a bit thinner).

You'll need the following equipment: 9x9 inch square pan or a 9x13 rectangular brownie pan, parchment paper, mixing bowls, a whisk, a spatula, pastry brush, and an off-set spatula

Ingredients
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup butter, unsalted and softened
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp instant espresso powder
3 eggs, large at room temperature

sea salt flakes (this can be optional if you wanted plain brownies)
extra butter for greasing the pans

Procedure
1. Preheat your oven to 350℉. Grease your pan with butter and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Sift together all the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Set aside.
 
3. In a bowl, melt the butter, chocolate chips, and sugars in the microwave for 1 minute (30-second increments). If you need extra time to melt the chocolate, melt for another 15 seconds. Mix this until well incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, the vanilla, and the instant espresso powder.
 
 
4. In two parts, mix in the dry ingredients. Make sure there are no lumps and that you scrape the sides of the bowl as well.
 
5. Transfer the brownie batter to a lined pan and smooth with an offset spatula. Place in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. After 15 minutes, take the pan out and sprinkle some sea salt flakes.
6. Do a toothpick test in the middle of the pan (note: because you want this fudgy, it will stick but you don't want it runny). If it needs more time, add another 3 minutes. Maximum of 25 minutes, you don't want to overcook this.
7. When done, let this cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Lift the parchment, take it out, and transfer to a chopping board. Cut into squares (or larger squares).
8. You guessed it.... ENJOY! Especially when they're fresh from the oven?! They're glorious! Eat it with a glass of cold milk or a hot coffee in the afternoon.
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*You can cream the softened butter and sugar first with a hand mixer before adding the melted chocolate. This will definitely add height to the batter when it bakes. I didn't want this because I wanted a dense and fudgy product. 

**Go nuts with the toppings! You can definitely omit the sea salt flakes and replace it with whatever you want. Add some walnuts, chocolate chips, chocolate fudge icing, cream cheese frosting, drizzle some caramel, or every layer with some marshmallow fluff and torch it. Although if you like it plain (like me, I actually prefer it plain)

***I used this recipe to make a fudgy "cake" base for another layered cake recipe. You can use this as a base for mousse or cheesecake recipes. Don't limit yourself to graham crackers or crushed up Oreos and butter. This as a base for a "set cake" adds so much depth to the overall character of the product. Meaning, it's addicting. Meaning, it will be consumed faster. Meaning... GRAB A BIGGER PLATE!

****Just an idea to throw out there. Yes, we can always add a scoop of ice cream on top of the brownie. But why not add the brownie to the ice cream?? Yup. Cut these brownies up in small squares or chunks, freeze them, soften some coffee or mocha or hazelnut ice cream, and fold them together! You're welcome. 


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