gooey skillet sea salt brownie, aka valentine’s day


Time from start to finish: 1 hour
Difficulty: easy

I’ve searched all my life for the most perfect brownies.

Some were predictably sweet — they had no edge. Some were accidentally made without eggs. Some were clingy and stuck to the pan. Some were made of the wrong stuff, like vegetable oil. Some tried too hard (zucchini brownies, eye roll). None of them were my brownies.

Then, at work one day, I turned around and there they were.

Brownies, at work? This doesn’t seem like me, I thought. I’m usually so good at avoiding the treats on the cafe table. But for some reason, I felt compelled to try one.

When no one was looking, I reached for one tiny bite. Oh no.

They were rich and complex; gooey and dark; slightly salty and sweet; intelligent and refined.

This could get messy, I thought.

It was love at first bite. Now, I can’t imagine what life was like before these brownies. How did I exist without these perfect morsels of gooey wonder? More importantly, why would I ever try another brownie recipe? I’ve found the one.

Your search is over. Enjoy.


  • Medium saucepan
  • Cast-iron skillet (10″)
  • Aluminum foil or parchment paper
  • A whisk (a fork will do)


  • 1 cup unsalted butter (1 package of Kerrygold), plus some for greasing
  • 4 ounces unsweetened baker’s chocolate (Trader Joe’s sells a 4 oz pack)
  • scant 2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2+ teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder (or instant coffee powder)
  • Cocoa powder, for dusting


1. Heat oven to 325. Crack the eggs into a small bowl or glass. Add the vanilla, and whisk it all together.
2. In a medium saucepan, melt all that butter over low heat. Break up the chocolate, and stir it in a little at a time until it has melted. Don’t burn your chocolate by being impatient. Make it with love.
3. Remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool. While it cools, prepare your skillet: get a swipe of butter on a paper towel, and rub the butter all over the inside of your skillet. Lay down aluminum foil or parchment paper, then rub butter all over this too. Grab a small handful of cocoa powder and sprinkle this all over the buttered foil/paper. To coat the pan evenly, pick it up and swirl all the loose powder around until the entire surface is covered.
4. Whisk the eggs and vanilla into the butter/chocolate mixture with feeling. Then, pour in the flour, sugar, espresso powder, and salt and stir until just combined.
5. Pour the mixture into your skillet and sprinkle with more sea salt. Bake at 325 for about 35-40 minutes. You’re going for a deliciously gooey center. In this case, the more you under-do it, the better off you are.


The worst thing you can do to yourself is have these bad boys sitting out on your counter. Do yourself a favor — wrap them individually in aluminum foil, place them in the freezer, and step away. Take one out for a treat every now and then (instead of eating the whole skillet in 3 days, as I have done).

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