It is foggy, it is damp, cold and cloudy.
It is still Autumn, but winter draws nearer, as winters do.
As the season is creeping in, I can’t help but begin to hibernate. I find myself staring out my window incessantly, exclaiming at the beauty of the world outside, but aware of the cold and the wind I sit, huddled in knits and blankets and doing happy indoor things, like crocheting and reading.
Yesterday, I baked brownies. The recipe that I used is soft and fudgy in the middle, the very center dark and gooey. The top bakes into a crackly thin crust, and is sprinkled with flaked kosher salt. I have loved salty-sweet baked goods for several years. I found this recipe for the first time in 2008, shortly after it was published on that website, and I have consistently made these brownies more than once a year since then. They are a staple. When I have friends to my house for a dinner, movies or games, I bake them. I bake them to take to parties, and I bring them to church gatherings. People are always surprised by them, because while I think people have grown rather accustomed to salty/sweet movement that first boomed several years ago, I don’t think they see it much on brownies. Of all the brownie recipes I’ve seen, this is the only one that contains salt as a topping; of course, I haven’t searched high and low for salted brownie recipes, but I have baked many brownies in my day.
After making the recipe several times, I edited a few things about it, simply a matter of personal tastes. I now have what I believe to be a near perfect brownie recipe, or at the very least I can inform you that it will definitely fulfill a craving for chocolate. It is also remarkably simple. Perhaps you can make it for thanksgiving or christmas, or maybe just because you have a chocolatey feeling and want something filling on a cold evening. These brownies will not disappoint.
Salted Fudge Brownies with Winter Spices
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed into 1″ pieces
2 ounces 60% bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon Diamond Kosher Salt
Preheat the oven to 350º, and prepare a 9″ by 9″ pan by lining it with foil and lightly buttering the foil, including the sides.
Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan. When the butter is completely melted and steaming, add the finely chopped chocolate. Stir with a silicone spatula until the chocolate is melted. When the mixture is combined and smooth, turn the burner off, but leave the pan on the warm stove.
In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa powder and sugar. Whisk until the cocoa has no remaining lumps. Add the flour, whisk to combine.
In another, small bowl, crack the eggs. Add the vanilla and whisk until the eggs are lightly beaten. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk.
Create a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour the liquid ingredients into the center and use a silicone spatula to fold the batter together, until all are fully mixed and there are no dry streaks in the batter.
Transfer the batter to the prepared, foil lined pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until set in the center, 30-40 minutes. Allow the brownies to cool in the pan for 40 minutes before taking them out of the pan. After this time, to remove the brownies from the pan, lift the foil from two parallel edges (as handles). Peel the foil away from the edges and slice the brownies into squares.
Eat with a glass of milk.
*When melting chocolate with butter, I always melt the butter first. The heat from the butter will almost always melt finely chopped chocolate and it will ease itself into silkiness with just a few long stirs. I have burned too much chocolate to not be wary of placing it over heat! Exercise great caution with melting chocolate in the microwave, and make sure you have a good knowledge of any stove you are melting chocolate on. Chocolate can be expensive and wasting it is nearly tragic.