A.K.A. "I Just Ate Three Sticks O' Butter!" Brownies
If you like the toffee twist of brown butter frosting, like this ponderous baker does, give these squares a try! The brownie layer may not have been the best homemade brownie recipe I've ever tried, maybe a bit less moist than I like, but I wouldn't know because after topping them with brown butter frosting, I thought that maybe, just maybe, my brother and his family wouldn't like the toffee twist of brown butter frosting. In a stroke of heart-clogging genius, I topped the topping with a layer of chocolate fudge frosting. Crazy. Who even cares about the brownie underneath?
Now, I know there are a million recipes out there claiming to be The Best Brownies EVER, and I'll make no such claim for these. It's not because they're not yummy; truly, they're deliciously rich and full of fudgy goodness. No, I make no such claim because I don't trust my ability to objectively judge brownies. I love them ALL.
*from Jeannette Haley's recipe
1 cup butter, no substitutes, softened
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons baking cocoa
1/8 tsp. salt
Brown Butter Frosting
1/2 cup butter (no substitutes)
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tsp. half and half (I used heavy cream leftover from truffle-making mixed w/milk)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Fudgy Chocolate Frosting
*No pun intended, but I totally fudged this. The amounts below are approximate.
Melt about 1 cup chocolate chips together with 1/2-1 tablespoon butter and some heavy cream. Stir until smooth and glossy.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa, and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Spread into an ungreased 13" x 9" pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Do not overbake (although, if you do, perhaps layering on a THIRD topping would offset your mistake...). Cool on a wire rack.
For brown butter frosting, cook and stir butter over medium heat in a heavy saucepan for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. Pour into a mixing bowl; beat in the confectioners' sugar, cream, and vanilla. Frost cooled brownies. Prepare Fudgy Chocolate Frosting, if desired, and spread on top of brown butter frosting.
Eat ten or so and then blame me for your bellyache.
(It's okay. I give you permission.)