Maybe I should give them another chance, but I really don’t like decadent desserts made lighter. In general. I get the idea but I either want to eat something decadent (such as brownies) or something light (such as fruit) – both of which I love. I do not love a wimped out version of the former. A dessert recipe swapped/lo-caled/fat-freed to one inch of its life makes me sad. (Though yogurt = sour cream will forever be awesome. I support that swap.) I’ll end up having 4x as much because I’m convinced I “just got a bad one” or somehow upon eating multiple servings it’ll become better, and they generally do not. But! That means that I have to make my decadent desserts count and they have to be good.
The sweet/salty dessert is the perfect solution for me because I get my two favorite tastes and won’t “need to have a few tortilla chips after that” because the dessert was too sweet. (Of course, no. I’ve never done that. Heh.) These brownies are it. They’re still not good for you, but the sweet, smokey, salty, fudgey-ness is satisfies my palette on many levels. And they can be made in one bowl.
Smoked Salt Brownies
Adapted from Kate Krader (Salted Fudge Brownies in Food & Wine)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/3 cup bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate chips (2.5 ounces chocolate)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened dutch process cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Maldon smoked sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9-inch square cake pan with parchment paper, folding the corners inside for a tidy edge.
- In a medium metal (or glass) bowl, melt the butter with the chocolate chips over a pan of simmering water (aka double-boiler), stirring occasionally until both chocolate and butter are melted. Remove from the heat. Let cool slightly.
- Whisking one at a time into the batter until thoroughly combined – add in this order: cocoa powder, then sugar, eggs, vanilla and finally the flour.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Sprinkle the half of the Maldon smoked salt evenly over the batter. Using a knife or chopstick, swirl the salt into the batter. Sprinkle the remaining salt on top.
- Bake the fudge brownies in the center of the oven for about 35 minutes, until the edge is set but the center is still a bit soft and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out coated with a little of the batter.
- Let the brownies cool at room temperature in the pan for 1 hour, then refrigerate just until they are firm, about 1 hour. Lift the brownies from the pan with the parchment.
- Cut the brownies into 16 squares or 32 rectangles. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Baked Brownies can be frozen for up to a month.
16 Squares make very big and rich brownies but they’re 230 calories per square. Um yeah, so I cut them into 32 rectangles instead so at 115 calories per bar I enjoy my indulgence but don’t dwell on it.