So, these brownies. These amazing, life-changing, over-the-top decadent brownies. They came about because it was the end of a long day, after a string of long days, in the middle of the darkest winter in I can't even remember how long. And I needed some sort of dessert to cheer me up. I had some chocolate chip cookie dough in the freezer, and was planning to pop it out and bake some quick cookies, when the thought came to me... why not make something amazing? Why not pull out that European butter my best friend gave me for Christmas (she just gets me!), and the Chocolove chocolate chips I bought months ago and haven't used because they feel too precious to squander, and the vanilla bean paste my husband gave me for Christmas and I rarely use because it costs an outrageous $14 per bottle? Why not, just once, go all out for a dessert, not because it's a special occasion, but because I'm all worn out and IT NEVER STOPS SNOWING OUTSIDE and the kids are driving me crazy with their cabin fever.
So, yes, I made these brownies, and they probably cost me something like $15 for the batch, and guess what? They were hands down, the best brownies I've ever made. It turns out that it actually IS worth it to use better quality ingredients. Maybe not every single time (I'm not, actually, a billionaire, as it turns out), but sometimes, when I need a little boost, it's totally okay to blow through my stash of fancy butter and silky smooth chocolate and pink-tinted sea salt. Because these brownies are life-changingly good. So rich and chocolatey, dense and fudgy, and just all around perfect. I can certainly attest that these brownies are the perfect way to turn around a bad day. We ate our brownies warm with salted caramel ice cream on top, and they were heavenly. Add these to the list of must-try treats!
1 cup European butter (I used Lurpak)
1 4 ounce ghirardelli baking bar, chopped
4 ounces Chocolove chocolate chips
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
5 large eggs
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup all purpose flour
himalayan sea salt, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment and set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the chocolate and stir until melted, then remove from heat. Stir in the sugar and vanilla bean paste. Stir in the eggs, one at a time. Add the cocoa powder, salt, and flour, and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until the brownies are no longer jiggly, and a toothpick inserted two inches from the side of the pan comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Allow to cool most of the way before serving.