So yes I know I’m totally evil and I know you’re trying to lose weight but I just had to… just had to I tell you. It’s been one hell of a week and *I* need cheered up therefore you need cheered up (go with it, k?!) I don’t even know where to start… First my web hosting server crashed my site. I couldn’t even log in to get my backup files and pretty much was having a heart attack. Then I was told it would take 24-48 hours to get it remediated. What? 24-48 hours? Are you serious? I have a conniption if it’s more than 30 minutes! My site not up and running hurts my brand, my followers and my income! Now my brand and income I can deal with… it happens but knowing you guys can’t get to my recipes now that bothers me the most. I hate knowing I disappointed someone even if it was unintentional.
Now while this had occurred I got home only to notice that on my car that I *just* got back from the collision center there was a dime-sized chip and an 8″ long crack in my windshield. Yeah I know… seriously! But I had to run into the house to tinkle (TMI I know) first. Priorities people! So then I go to get my insurance car only to not find it. Now in any normal house you have stuff in place or maybe just a few things out-of-place. Yeah, not in my house. Since we’ve had this 7-year-long construction project stuff is EVERYWHERE so to find things in this house is worse than a needle in a haystack. However I actually understand the disarray and keep it as organized as possible (for the 5 minutes Mr. Fantabulous isn’t near the house… *sigh*). Yes I also lost my insurance card and car registration!
Needless to say with all that crap happening in a single day I was in a foul FOUL mood by the time all was said and done. I was so mad that I literally went to bed at 8pm. So what does that all mean? It meant no gym, no quality time with Mr. Fantabulous and no dinner. Well he was okay with the no gym and understood the no quality time but the whole no dinner. Dear Sweet Jesus he was ready to file for divorce! Now I could see if there was no food in the house but c’mon look whose site you are at. At any one given time in my fridge there are at least 2 full complete meals, a dessert or two and tons of other food to eat. So did I give in (cause I normally do)? Nope! I just got the bowl, a spoon and a fresh box of cereal out and said “Have at it”. Well okay that’s almost all I said. I left out a few words… gotta keep it child friendly. Plus like I said I was in a foul mood.
Now that doesn’t happen often. I’m normally pretty happy-go-lucky and laid back but I’m human and at that point in time I was just done. I wanted to shut off the world, including my darling husband. Well okay let me state that I’m happy-go-lucky with everyone else because if I am in a bad mood while I try my best to hold it in I tend to sometimes take it out on my baby. I hate that but it’s one of those “he’s right there” type of things. I think we all do that at times. I feel horrible for being cranky with him but even yours truly gets tired and needs a break.
Therefore to make it up to him I whipped up another batch of these as a “baby I’m sorry and I love you and I’m sorry for being cranky”. We rarely have fights and sure we get cranky at one another but it’s rare that it’s with one another. But still I feel bad however I think this made up for my foul mood and making him fend for himself for dinner the one night. I know, I’m a horrible wife, huh? LOL
And to you, to you all I’m apologizing now to your skinny jeans, short skirts and yoga pants for this recipe! Break out the sweats, mumus or hell… no pants! These are not skinny, lo-fat, lo-cal or diet friendly. HOWEVER they are absolutely one of the best brownies you will ever, EVER have! And you know me, everything in moderation! So have one but remember one does not mean a 4×4″ sized one or one after the other after the other! AND you need to balance it out with the rest of your daily intake and exercise. Kapeesh!
For me I kept these in the fridge as I like them cold but you don’t have to refrigerate them. If you let them sit out the caramel softens and will eventually get to that melty soft state like you see in the pics. It’s totally your call. It’s funny as I made a batch of these a while ago and took them into work. I got one of the best emails from a co-worker. He said “Lori, those brownies = PURE SIN! I feel dirty now! … are there any more?”
BAHAHAHA I love it! I had the biggest smile on my face. It’s stuff like that, those type of compliments that are truly priceless.Print
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- almost 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp Chocolate Extract (can substitute in vanilla)
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 Tbl cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp Espresso Powder
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean split in half and seeds scraped out
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 Tbl light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 Tbl butter, unsalted
- 1 cup roasted peanuts
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 3/4 cup Hot Fudge, warmed
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup milk chocolate
- 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate
Make the Ganache
- Place 1 cup of the chocolate pieces in a glass bowl.
- Heat the cream over medium heat just until it starts to get bubbles around the edges.
- Immediately remove it from the heat and pour it over the chocolate pieces.
- Let it sit for 2 minutes and then stir slowly. As you stir, gradually add the rest of the chocolate pieces until they are all melted and the mixture is emulsified. This takes about 2 minutes. You want it super smooth and shiny.
- Allow the ganache to set up for about 2 hours at room temperature. You want it thickened but still pourable.
Make the Brownies
- Preheat oven to 350°F, rack in the middle.
- Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment spraying the sides. If you don’t have that use a 9×13″ metal pan that is lined with parchment
- In a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler stirring occasionally. Essentially you want to bring about 1” of water to a simmer then place your bowl that has the butter and chocolate in it over top but NOT touching the water.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Stir in the sugar, salt, and chocolate extract.
- With a sturdy mixing spoon, beat the eggs in one at a time until blended.
- Add flour, espresso, baking powder and cocoa and beat until the batter is just smooth. Don’t overmix.
- Pour the batter into the pan.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean – a few moist crumbs are okay.
- Set the pan on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
Make the Caramel
- In a medium saucepan over low heat, add the cream, vanilla bean pod and seeds. Heat just until warmed. You don’t want it to boil.
- While cream is heating, in a large heavy bottomed saucepan add the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Whisk together until well combined. Place the pan over medium heat and continue whisking until sugar is dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved, stop stirring and allow it to boil until it turns a golden amber color.
- Remove the pan from the heat, remove the vanilla bean with tongs and slowly pour the hot cream into the caramel. Be careful, as the mixture will bubble up… A LOT!
- Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth, scraping the bottom and edges of the pan. If any lumps form, return the pan to the heat and stir until smooth. Once it’s all smooth, take the pan off the heat (if you put it back on for a second or two) and add the butter. Stir until smooth and creamy. Let the caramel rest for 15 minutes before pouring.
- Take your spoon to the ganache and stir again to smooth it out. It should be thick but still pourable.
- Gently stir the caramel in the pot and then pour over top the cooled brownies all the way to the edge.
- Sprinkle the roasted peanuts over top of the caramel and gently push down.
- Sprinkle the sea salt overtop of the nuts and caramel.
- Using the back of a spatula, gently press the nuts down into the caramel.
- Drizzle the hot fudge sauce over top.
- Next, take the melted ganache and pour over top.
- Use an offset spatula to smooth out.
- Place the entire pan, uncovered in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set.
- Once set and the ganache is hardened, cut and serve. I stored mine in the fridge, covered though these are OK to be left at room temperature (as long as they are covered).