We made these brownies yesterday for a friend's barbecue, and we were asked for the recipe from several people. Here is is!

Techniques: make the brownie base a day before, so they have time to cool completely and set up properly. We let the brownies come to room temp and then chill them in the refridgerator. Before you ice them, take them out and let them sit, covered, at room temp for a couple of hours. This will be the end result:

And a close-up:

Okay, start by making this recipe a day ahead, with a few tweaks:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/saras-secrets/bittersweet-beachside-brownies-recipe/index.html

Out tweaks: When making that recipe, we always add 2T extra flour. It makes the brownies a little "cake-ier" but they hold togeter better when slicing. Also, after you've melted the chocolate and butter mixture, when you remove it from the heat to cool. stir in 1t cayenne pepper. Doing that at this point gives the cayenne time to bloom a little in the warm chocolate. Also, just on principle, we always double the amount of baking soda so the brownies puff-up more. Don't worry, they settle back down when they're cooling.

So, make those brownies, let them cool and set up overnight, then proceed. 

The next day: Make a milk chocolate ganache: simply melt 1 bag of high-qality milk chocolate chips plus 3T heavy cream in a bowl over a small pot of simmering water (double-boiler). If the chocolate looks like it needs it, add a little more cream. The gamache should be fully melted, shiny and glossy when it is ready. Let the ganache cool slightly, maybe a half-hour to an hour. Before piping on the ganache, whip it up with a hand-mixer. It will lighten in color and become pipe-able when you do this. 

Slice the brownies into thin little "fingers" and place them on a cutting board. Pipe the gamache into the brownies in a thin strip. When they're all iced, sprinkle them with sea salt flakes. Then chill to set the ganache.

The brownies have a lot of flavor: sweet, savory, salty, heat. We call it umami. These brownies have all that in spades! 

Make 'em. Enjoy.

John Needham

September 22, 2013

Aurora, IL