Sometimes necessity is the mother of inventions. You want something and you think you have all the ingredients until you're standing in the kitchen with a toddler on your hip, a small pot of melted butter, and an almost empty bag of cocoa. There definitely isn't time to run out to the store and frankly you may no longer have the motivation to finish by the time you get back. Fortunately there is a can of Ghirardelli hot chocolate mix in the cupboard so all is not lost. Less than ten minutes later there is a small mess on the counter, hey it's not easy to mix brownies with a 15-month old helping, and pan of brownies in the toaster oven. Salted pistachios inside the mix and salted caramel sauce drizzled on top to make sure that even if they weren't perfect they at least would be edible. A day later the brownies are almost gone and according to Alex and Amaya they are addictive and the best brownies I've made yet. Can't ask for a better compliment than that.
Hot Chocolate Brownies
6 ounces unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup hot chocolate mix (quality makes a difference everywhere on this list...)
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cold eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup salted, roasted pistachios
2 tablespoons salted caramel sauce
8x8-inch disposable aluminum pan
Preheat the oven to 325°F
Melt the butter in a medium sized on the stove or large pyrex bowl in the microwave. Add the cocoa and hot chocolate mix. Stir to combine. Add the sugar and salt and mix well. Add the eggs one at a time using a rubber spatula to fully incorporate each egg before adding the next. The mixture will become, thick, smooth and glossy. Add the flour and and incorporate completely, (50 strokes or so) to make a thick batter that just pours out of the pan. Add the pistachios and stir well to spread them through the batter. Pour into the pan and use a small offset spatula to spread it to the edges of the pan and smooth the top. Drizzle the caramel sauce on top. Bake 40-45 minutes until the cake is just firm and no longer wobbles in the center when you shake it. Let it cool before cutting.