When visiting Paris last year, I probably ate every kind of pastry imaginable – croissants, tarts, canelés, macarons, etc. But one thing noticeably absent was brownies. I don’t remember even once coming across a brownie to munch on, and I went to a lot of patisseries.
It could be because brownies are one of the few desserts that originated in the United States (even my beloved cheesecake was invented in Greece). Wikipedia will tell you they came around in the 19th century and grew in popularity quickly due to the ease in making them –most recipes require little more than two bowls – and of course, because they involve lots of chocolate, and who can say no to that.
Now that Valentine’s/Galentine’s/whatever you want to call this long weekend is coming up, the country is drowning in all sorts of chocolate recipes. I’m not sure how February and this “holiday” came to be associated with chocolate, but I can’t complain because a good chocolate dessert goes a long way. And that’s how these hazelnut sea salt brownies came to fruition.
While this isn’t a two-bowl recipe, these brownies are an awesome way to step up your game and turn your desserts into that of restaurant caliber. Chocolate pairs well with nuts, and since I still had a bag of hazelnuts left over from this recipe, lightly roasting and sprinkling them over the top of the batter creates an additional level of flavor. Using a combination of cocoa powder and chopped chocolate pieces adds more texture to the brownies so each bite is fudgy and crunchy at the same time.
Sea salt is trending pretty hardcore these days, but one pinch of it will make you see why. I bought a flaky sea salt in Paris and use it whenever I can to balance out the cloying sweetness that can sometimes result from decadent desserts. In this recipe, the salt brings out the chocolate even more.
Whether for Valentine’s Day, or any other day of the year, these hazelnut sea salt brownies take the classic dessert to the next level!
Maybe one day we’ll find them in Paris?
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 4 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
- A healthy pinch of flakey sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13×9 pan and set aside.
- Combine all dry ingredients and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, almond butter, and syrup until smooth, about 3-4 minutes on medium-high. Add in the salt and vanilla, and both eggs, mixing well after each addition.
- With the mixer on low, add in flour mixture and half of the chopped chocolate. Spread evenly in prepared pan and sprinkle the top with remaining chocolate, chopped hazelnuts, and a healthy pinch of the flakey sea salt.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Store in an airtight container.