Almond Chocolate Chip Brownies

Look no further.  These are the brownies you've been waiting for. 
These brownies are perfect.  Just perfect.  I don't know what you look for when you're dreaming about brownies, but I definitely can tell you what my dream brownie is like.  It's soft and slightly chewy, with a crispy top, a few gooey chocolate chunks distributed throughout, and it has a crisp edge all around, making that coveted corner piece even more special.  If you serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it holds it's own.  It's assertive and comforting all at once.  You could settle for one piece because the flavor is so chocolatey and satisfying, but you'll probably have a second piece because they are so good it's hard to stop.  They work with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee - you may need to try one of each.  I wouldn't judge.

These brownies are exactly like that.

Seriously.  Can you see that:  Crisp around the edges; gooey in the middle.  Oh my.
And here we were today, cleaning the house, straightening up and clearing away all the clutter that somehow drifts out of its rightful position in the home, and, during the course of a busy week, finds its way into mysterious corners, covering the wrong surfaces, cluttering up both the space and mind. After a invigorating morning walk, we tackled the mess with as much enthusiasm as one can muster for cleaning, and, as the short project drew to an end, I was already dreaming about brownies.

So with the wind slapping slush up against the windows, I took a few minutes to mix these up and toss them in the oven, from which a lovely chocolate flavor emanated, encouraging us to get our game on and get the job done so we could reward ourselves with a small bit of decadence and a cup of much-needed coffee.

So go on, get your oven warming. I know you're dreaming of brownies too, by now.

Almond Chocolate Chip Brownies
based on the brilliant recipe by Alice Medrich. Dairy-free, gluten-free and egg-free options listed within ingredients list.

10 tablespoon / 145 g butter (coconut oil also works if you prefer dairy-free)
1 1/4 cups / 250g sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (65g) unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Green & Black's cocoa)
1/2 teaspoon salt (I prefer sea salt)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold or 2 tablespoons flaxseed + 5 tablespoons of water (let sit for 5 minutes)
1/2 cup / 70g all-purpose or Gluten-free flour mix
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
1/2 cup sliced raw almonds

Preheat oven to 170°C/325°F.  Line the bottom of an 8" / 20 cm square pan with parchment paper.

In a small pot over the stove, or in a small bowl in the microwave, heat the butter until melted. Pour the butter into a mixing bowl, add the sugar, cocoa powder and salt, and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until well combined.  Add the vanilla extract and stir well.  Add the eggs one at a time (if using the flax substitute add all at once) and stir well to combine thoroughly.  Add the flour and chocolate chips, and stir until there are no traces of flour left.

Pour the brownie mixture into your prepared pan and smooth the top.  Sprinkle the sliced almonds evenly over the top of the mixture.  Place the pan into the hot oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. You'll know the brownies are done when the almonds are golden brown and the brownie edges pull slightly away from the sides of the pan.  Remove from oven and cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Cut into 16 pieces, and serve.

Makes 16 brownies.

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