the most grown-up cosmic brownies ever

grown-up cosmic brownies for your inner child // Glazed & Confused

My dad thinks that my life is spiraling out of control and that I'm failing out of school. Rest assured, I'm not. Sure, I'm definitely a tad bit overdramatic and telling him that I totally failed my midterms didn't help, but he should know by now that "failing" in my mind means getting a B. Yes, even I can agree that I've definitely been off my routine lately, been going out too much, skipping my pilates classes too regularly, et cetera, but dude.... chill out. (Oh and about that giant hickey I came home with last weekend.... oops?)

I always say that March and October are the two most hectic, nerve-wracking months of the entire year. This year hasn't been any different. School is crazy. Life is crazy. My roots are crazy. Everything is crazy.

This past weekend I came to the realization that even though this break from the regularly scheduled program that is my life was much needed, getting my shit together is even more necessary. First things first —for the love of God please stop me from making an Iggy Azalea reference right now — I've got to reconcile with my beautiful KitchenAid. She thinks I've been cheating on her lately.... so I made some brownies as a peace offering!!!

valrhona crunchy pearls // Glazed & Confused

I've been super inspired by my childhood lately, and when I say that I mean the part of my childhood where my brother and I would polish off a whole box of Cosmic Brownies in one night. I made a personal vow to never eat store-bought desserts in high school, so I've been on a mission to bring Cosmic Brownies back into my life in the most bougie and pretentious way possible. How did I do that exactly? Hella browned butter, some really expensive cocoa powder, salted caramelized milk chocolate ganache, and about 40-plus dollars of Valrhona chocolate stuffed in, around, and on top. Yep, I'm that guy. 

Brb, I've got to tend to these heinous roots. No really, they're so far gone that I can't even write them off as natural ombré anymore. In the meantime, make these brownies! You can even call me Little Debbie. Miss Deborah if you're nasty.

grown-up cosmic brownies for your inner child // Glazed & Confused

Grown-up Cosmic Brownies

Chocolate Brownies

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. espresso powder
  • 2 tsp. vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 2 large eggs, cold
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup chopped Valrhona Caramelia
  • 1/3 cup chopped Valrhona Dulcey 

Preheat oven to 325F and line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper.

In a medium-sized saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook the butter, whisking constantly, until  golden brown. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the browned butter with the sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Add one egg at a time, mixing thoroughly in between each addition. Mix in the oil. Sift in flour and mix with a wooden spoon for fifty strokes, until the batter is thick and glossy. Fold in the chocolate.

Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool while you prepare the ganache.

Salted Caramelia Ganache

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the chocolate, cream, butter and salt, cooking until melted. Whisk the mixture until smooth. Pour the ganache over the brownies. Working quickly, spread the ganache evenly over the brownies. 

Immediately transfer the brownies into the refrigerator or freezer to set. This should take between 30 minutes and 1 hour. Sprinkle on chocolate pearls halfway through. When you’re ready to serve, bring the brownies to room temperature and cut into squares.

Legally Blondies + How to make Caramelized White Chocolate

Legally Blondies: Valhrona Dulcey blonde chocolate, pecan, and caramelized white chocolate.  // Glazed & Confused

It's true, blondes definitely have more fun. 

The past two years have been all about blonde everything. In fact, I'm pretty sure we can dub 2012 the Year of the Blondes. That year, Starbucks introduced their first ever Blonde Roast coffee, Miley Cyrus pretty much broke the internet after chopping all of her hair off and debuting her now-iconic blonde pixie cut, and most importantly, Valrhona released their Blond Dulcey chocolate bar, the first ever blond chocolate to exist on the chocolate market. Well, Miley is pretty important too. (We kinda have the same hair.) 

Valrhona Dulcey blond chocolate  // Glazed & Confused
Legally Blondies: Valhrona Dulcey blonde chocolate, pecan, and caramelized white chocolate.  // Glazed & Confused

I was first introduced to Valrhona Dulcey in the form of a blonde chocolate molten cake I had last summer at Restaurant R'Evolution here in New Orleans. I'm a huge white chocolate boy, so blonde chocolate seemed like the natural next step. One bite in and I was in love. 

Dulcey was created by Frédéric Bau, executive chef at Valrhona's École du Grand Chocolat on complete accident. After melting white chocolate down in a bain maire for an upcoming demonstration, he left the remaining unused melted chocolate on the stovetop. After about 10 hours, he returned to discover that his white chocolate had caramelized into a deep caramel color and tasted like toasty shortbread. Pretty genius, right? In 2012, Valrhona released Dulcey, the first ever blond chocolate, by producing what Bau had accidentally made on a larger scale. 

Legally Blondies: Valhrona Dulcey blonde chocolate, pecan, and caramelized white chocolate.  // Glazed & Confused

You know when you're looking at a menu, and you see that one ingredient. You know, the one that you just have to order just because it's used in some capacity in whatever dish and you're downright obsessed with it? That's blonde chocolate for me. 

I'd love to hear what ingredient you're obsessed with! Let me know in the comments below. 

Legally Blondies: Valhrona Dulcey blonde chocolate, pecan, and caramelized white chocolate.  // Glazed & Confused

Legally Blondies are just that — blondies in their truest form. No more bleach blondies, no more dirty blondies, it's all about the real deal. These perfect blondies are adapted from the famed Cook's Illustrated recipe and are full of toasted pecans and you guessed it, blonde chocolate. Seriously, these are the best. I'm in brown sugar heaven right now. 

There's just one dilemma: Dulcey is virtually impossible to find in America (I've only seen it available for consumer purchase in New York) and it's pretty damn expensive. An 8.8 oz. baking bar will run you back $12.99 before shipping, and a bigger bag of Dulcey baking feves are about double. So instead of teasing you with these amazing blondies, I'm giving you a tutorial on how to make caramelized white chocolate at home! 40 minutes of roasting in the oven (with a lot of stirring every 5 minutes) will leave you with a chocolate comparable in taste with Dulcey. So easy. 

How to make Caramelized White Chocolate // Glazed & Confused

Caramelized White Chocolate

  • 16 oz. high-quality white chocolate, chopped 

Preheat oven to 266° F. Scatter white chocolate pieces onto a baking pan.* Bake the chocolate for 40 minutes, removing from the oven every 5 minutes to stir. (After about 30 minutes, the chocolate will caramelize and gradually turn amber.) Remove from oven and place into a bowl. At this stage, your chocolate might be lumpy and pretty gross looking. Don't worry! Stir vigorously until a liquid resembling melted chocolate forms. Pour into a glass jar and store at room temperature. 

* Baker's Note: I used a 9x13 metal baking pan without parchment, but any rimmed baking sheet will do. 

Valhrona Dulcey Blondies

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • large eggs
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 ounces chopped Valhrona Dulcey blond chocolate or homemade caramelized white chocolate* (See Note)
  • cup pecans, toasted (optional, but well worth it) 

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 9x13 baking sheet with parchment. 

In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter and sugar until thoroughly combined. Stir in eggs and vanilla extract. Sift in the flour, salt, and baking powder and mix until just combined. Do not overmix. Fold in pecans and chocolate pieces.* 

Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake until set, about 22 - 25 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Cut cooled blondies into squares and serve (with ice cream!). 

* Bakers Note: If using the Dulcey chocolate, fold into the batter with pecans, as per the directions. If using homemade caramelized white chocolate, swirl chocolate through the batter before baking.