Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Moist Double Dark Chocolate Brownies with Sea Salt

I knew my brownie addiction had become more serious when I found myself eating one for breakfast each morning until they were gone. I fell asleep every night thinking about warming one up and eating it with a piping hot latte (my other addiction). I even shamelessly debated having one for lunch too. I followed The Brownie Breakfast Diet religiously for one whole week. I was very good in that way. There are no excuses for my obsession, other than to say they were impossible to resist.   

Someone left a comment on Pinterest that these were hands down the best brownies she has ever made. I'm kind of shy about sharing this here. I do so because I hope you make them and experience the chocolate-joy too! 

The fact that they're incredibly easy to make is an added bonus. One bowl, plus one spatula, plus one pan equals chocolate nirvana. No electric mixer needed. No fancy techniques.

Warming the chocolate, stirring it, sneaking a taste, admiring its glossy sheen, sneaking a taste again while chasing the workweek blues away is kitchen therapy. Nothing beats the smell of brownies baking. Minimal effort, big reward. It's relaxing.

Sipping a hot latte or a cup of chai with a freshly baked dark chocolate brownie brings a little bliss to my life. If I can snuggle with my sweet beagle-mix (Ellie) and get a little cross-stitching in, I'm doubly happy.

                                The pattern for this cross stitch sampler can be found here

Brownies for a Brownie Addict Recipe
adapted from Joy of Baking, click here for the link

Some notes: 

I'm going to blabber on a bit now. Forgive me for my ramblings. The recipe is super simple.

I think these brownies are the perfect combination of fudgy and cakey. Intensely chocolaty, moist and not too sweet. Pure dark chocolate bliss. The dark-chocolate-sea salt-combo...ohhhhh is that gooooood! They're my go-to brownie recipe.

I scoured the Internet to find this wonderful brownie recipe from the Joy of Baking. I tweaked it a little bit, adding more full fat Dutch process cocoa powder. It's the richest grade of cocoa available in the world today, perfect for  brownies.

A sprinkling of coarse sea salt is the magic ingredient here. Salt makes brownies taste even more chocolaty. Trust me on this one. A finish of coarse sea salt when they're done will bring out the glorious, deep, dark chocolate flavor.

I use my vanilla bean sugar.  But regular, white sugar will work just fine. If you use regular white sugar then bump up the vanilla extract to one teaspoon.

I use High Fat Dutch Process Cocoa from Penzeys Spices in this recipe. Use quality dark chocolate bars that you'd eat out of hand for this recipe too. Go for the good stuff here, both in the cocoa powder and the dark chocolate. I've done this with two kinds of dark chocolate bars. I've used Newman's Organic Super Dark 70 Percent Cocoa Chocolate Bars and Green and Blacks Chocolate.  Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bars are found in most markets and are completely wonderful too!

You don't have to be an accomplished baker to make good brownies. But, you do have to buy good chocolate. The better the chocolate, the better the brownies.

This, my friends, is an inspired brownie recipe that I'm gladly sharing with you. I'm sure there will be many more recipes to come. But this one is special. Thank you Joy of Baking for providing the inspiration!    

You'll Need
  • 5 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces (use the good stuff, see notes) 
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons of full fat Dutch cocoa powder (see notes) 
  • 1 cup of my Real Vanilla Bean Sugar or regular white sugar.  
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Use one teaspoon of vanilla extract if using regular white sugar.
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of fine grain sea salt
  • Sprinkling of coarse grain sea salt or flaky sea salt like Fleur de Sel 

The Rundown:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the center. Spray with nonstick cooking spray, butter or oil an 8 inch square baking pan and place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of it. Oil, butter or spray the parchment paper too.
  2.  In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate and the butter in the microwave being careful not to burn the chocolate. Stop and stir it as it melts. It will take seconds to melt. Maybe a minute at most. When the chocolate and butter are melted, stir in the cocoa powder and sugar. Add the eggs, one and a time and  incorporate them into the batter. Add the vanilla extract. Add the flour and fine sea salt and stir to combine.
  3. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and quickly add a scant sprinkling of the coarse grain sea salt. Bake for about another 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a little bit of batter or moist crumbs on it.  Do not over bake or your brownies will be dry (very important). Remove from the oven and immediately add another sprinkle of coarse sea salt. Let cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!    
Serving Suggestions: 
Warmed in the microwave, they're divine, leading to my downfall into brownie-breakfast-obsession this past week. They take on a more fudgy texture when chilled. They're also great with ice cream. They freeze well, making them a good choice for company. A warm-brownie-ala-mode with a drizzle of chocolate sauce has a real wow factor. The sea salt will enhance the ice cream's flavor too. Brownies with fresh whipped cream and raspberries or sliced strawberries is also a winning combo. A simple platter of brownies, dusted with powdered sugar is a crowd-pleasing dessert.

For this recipe, I cut them into squares, wrapped them in plastic wrap and placed them in a zip lock bag in the fridge. When I wanted one, I just warmed it up in the microwave. My husband likes them straight out of the fridge, chilled and fudgy.
Real Vanilla Bean Sugar is easy to make and costs much less than store bought

Sweet Summer Raspberry Sauce, tastes like fresh but uses frozen

Like a warm, liquid chocolate truffle in a cup, Venetian Hot Chocolate is pure luxury.


  1. Your brownies look so delicious! Beautiful photos!

  2. Thank you Julia! Thanks for visiting me too! I love this recipe. Pure dark chocolate flavor.

  3. Julia, your blog is beautiful! Your compliment about my brownie pictures means even more to me now!