Ahhhh the New Year is here with new hopes, dreams, and the ever loved/hated resolutions! Do you make resolutions? I don’t. But maybe you are among the 1/3 of Americans who make weight loss related resolutions and you're looking at these brownies wondering why on earth you made a resolution that says you can't have anything of the sort. Well here are my two cents on resolutions; they are doomed to fail from the beginning. You wait all year to finally start a weight loss plan or go back to school or learn to crochet, and then that first day of the New Year arrives and you plunge into your resolution with gusto. You commit with 150% when 100% or even 85% would do. You do too much; you deprive yourself and over extend yourself. Then 42 days later you give up and swear you will do better next year. Why not just commit to start whatever day you have the grand idea of improvement? Why do we think we must wait for a special day to make ourselves better? I say improvement, whether it is health, education, your job, or your home, is a never ending process. I think it comes down to a lifelong commitment and lifestyle change rather than rules and deprivation; especially with food. So that being said, I think that these brownies do have space in your life, just not every day. I think they are a nice treat to celebrate an anniversary, a birthday, earning your degree, or paying off your credit card. And what better way to enjoy a special occasion than with moist, dense, ganache covered brownies? You're right, there isn't one. :)
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens special Chocolate edition
9 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 c butter
1/3 c water
4 tsp instant espresso crystals (or instant coffee crystals)
1 c granulated sugar
1 c packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c ground almonds
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 c whipping cream
12 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate
Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 13x9 pan with foil, extending it over the edges, grease the foil and set aside. In a large bowl, combine chocolate, butter, water and espresso crystals. Microwave uncovered for 2-4 minutes or until butter is melted, stirring twice. Remove bowl from microwave and stir until chocolate is melted.
Beat in the granulated sugar and the brown sugar with an electric mixer on low to medium until combined. Then add eggs and vanilla; beat on medium for 2 minutes. Next, beat in flour, almonds, cinnamon, and salt until combined.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes or until top appears set and dry. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Use foil to lift brownies out of pan. (Trust me you will thank me for this step!) You could certainly cut and eat them just like this, but why not slather them with the ganache and really hit that home run?
And just because I know you are concerned and perhaps even worried how much these bad boys are going to set you back in terms of caloric sabotage, I have included the nutritional info. If you cut them into 24 equal squares each brownie is 302 calories, 17 g fat. Now you can make a completely informed and intentional decision when you savor every crumb of these brownies!
To new beginnings, resolutions, and enjoying life homemade!