Several weeks ago, I was forced by the hand of hormones to make a pan of brownies. It happens. One moment you're browsing an Anthropologie catalog thinking, "They'd do so much more business if they sold sizes boobs actually fit into," and the next moment, you have cocoa powder on your brow as you're shoving what looks like a pan of mud into the oven and decide it's in your best interest to spend the following 20 minutes standing next to it, waiting.
I used a recipe I found online, and while the batter tasted promising, I threw half a pan of the brownies away, uneaten, unpicked at, and at the time, I had a 19-year old nephew staying with us. Seriously. Unpleased, was I.
So unpleased that I decided to tackle the recipe again, with some well-noted adjustments regarding the short-comings of the brownie recipe known as "Chewie Brownie 1." So I did. I admit, parts of it are obscene. I know that. But when you realize that you might have to start shopping at Chico's, you've got to do something to make the world right again.
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1/2 cup unsweetened Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 3/4 cup butter (salted or unsalted; softened) 1/2 cup boiling water 1 cup white granulated sugar 1 cup powdered sugar 2 eggs 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt 1 jar of caramel sauce (I used a 10 oz Fleur del Sel Caramel Sauce from Trader Joe's) 1-2 cups chocolate chips, baker's choice
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the cocoa, both Special Dark and regular cocoa and baking soda. Add half of the butter and boiling water. Mix on low until well blended and thickened, about a minute or two. It will get dark and goopy and it should be just about the most beautiful thing you've ever seen. That's brownie DNA in there!!! Stir in the sugar (both powdered and granulated), eggs, and remaining butter. YES. MORE BUTTER!!! Finally, add the flour (a technicality in my opinion), vanilla and salt; mix just until all of the flour is absorbed, 30 or 40 seconds. Now here comes the fun part.
3. Chip time! You can throw anything in here, milk chocolate, semi-sweet, peanut butter, butterscotch--follow your monkey id and pour it on in. Mix well. Be a maniac. This is the most glorious thing you will ever eat. Pour batter in the greased and floured pan. Spread evenly.
4. And now for the haboob part: Caramel sauce. Any kind of caramel sauce will do--I used a jar of Fleur del Sel from Trader Joe's because it looked good and I am pretty sure Sel means salt in some romance language. And I love that. Pour it over the batter in length-wise ribbons, or all over, it doesn't matter. Who cares. It's all going to be incredible. Pour it all or pour a little but. Trust your inner brownie soul. It will guide you. Then take a butter knife and gently draw down into the batter, about ¼ of an inch, and pull across the pan. It will begin to make designs like billowing clouds of delicious dust. know. I know. Holy shit. But wait! We're not even done yet!!
5. Take the ½ teaspoon of sea salt and just sprinkle over the top, here and there. You just need a little to complete the glory. Do not doubt. Just do. I promise you it's magnificent.
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6. Then bake for 35 to 40 minutes to desired consistency -- I do mine on the fudgy side. Cool before cutting, or just be the tameless animal you want to be and dig in with a spoon. No one's looking. It's brownie private time.
7. And now throw that frigging Chico's catalog away.