These bars are dense, chocolatey and extra-fudgy. It took me a number of attempts to perfect this bar base, but it was completely worth the effort. Trust me. The brandy-spiked ganache and spinkle of sea salt make them over-the-top delicious.
Bars with Salted Brandy Ganache
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- 1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2/3 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (preferably Dutch processed)
- 2 tsp instant espresso powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cups sugar, heaping
- ¼ cups heavy cream
- 4oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 tsp brandy
- Pinch of salt
- Fleur de sel (flaky sea salt), for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan, line with parchment paper (making sure it goes all the way up the sides of the pan) and grease again. Set a glass or metal bowl over a pot of simmering water or set up a double boiler. Add chocolate and butter to bowl, stirring frequently, until melted. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and let cool slightly.
- Combine flour, cocoa, espresso powder and salt in a small bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar together over high speed until pale and creamy, about 1 ½-2 minutes. Stir in chocolate mixture. Fold in dry ingredients until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake 20-25 minutes or until tester inserted into the center comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached. Place pan away from the oven over a wire rack. Allow to cool for at least 30-60 minutes, or until close to room temperature.
- For the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream to a simmer over medium heat. Pour cream over chocolate and allow to sit for a few minutes. Whisk to combine and stir in brandy and pinch of salt. Pour ganache over brownies in pan and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. When ganache is about half way to three-quarters of the way set, sprinkle with sea salt. This way, the salt will stick to the surface without melting into the ganache. Refrigerate brownie pan until cool and ganache is completely set. Remove from pan by lifting up by parchment paper, remove paper and cut into 16 squares.
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