And as requested by the graduate, I made sea salt brownies for the occasion (deadly, oh yes). And despite having to troubleshoot another oven (glory be) --they turned out great! And let's just say that if I want to open a bakery, I think I've found angel capital from Brian's grandfather...apparently my baking is a better bet than the stock market!
Sea Salt Brownies
(adapted from Bake or Break and Food and Wine)
Do not be afraid to use so much butter. These are rich, wonderful, lovely brownies, and a treat.
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 cups sugar (I use demerara sugar, which is usually a much chunkier crystal)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or if you're me, and you have homemade vanilla that you adore, add about 2 tablespoons)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (the flaky kind)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, letting the excess hang over the edges.
2. Melt butter and chocolate on low heat on the stovetop in a saucepan. Turn the heat down.
3. Whisk in cocoa, then the sugar. If you're using the demerara sugar, keep on the heat until it's a bit more incorporated.
4. Turn off the heat and whisk in, one at a time, the eggs, vanilla, and flour.
5. Pour into prepared pan, and smooth the top of the batter.
6. Sprinkle salt over the top of batter. Using a butter knife, swirl salt into brownie batter. Lick the knife.
7. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until edges are set and center is a bit soft. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with a little batter coating it. Getting the perfect state of doneness is a bit maddening depending on your oven and how you feel about gooey brownies. If it doesn't turn out how you want it the first time, mark down to shorten your baking time the next time you make these brownies.
8. Cool at room temperature for an hour (super important!). Then, cool in refrigerator for an hour or until firm. Remove from pan and foil. Serve at room temperature. Or with goat cheese ice cream.