My husband really likes brownies.

His groom’s cake when we married? Brownies. For his birthday? Brownies. Christmas and Thanksgiving? Brownies and brownies.

He’s particular, too — moreso than someone who likes brownies that much probably should be. He likes thin, chewy, crusty brownies, basically one step off actual fudge. And he doesn’t like a lot of strange flavors. No blondies, no peanut butter, no nuts. Brownies. Chocolate brownies. He also eschews special brownie pans, the kind that makes the crust for every piece. He thinks it’s cheating. I think that’s not entirely fair, but it does kind of feel like cheating.

So my challenge for the last decade and forevermore is to make the perfect brownie. I’ve made from scratch, from cookbooks, from televsion shows, from blogs and from boxes. Dutch-process cocoa, regular cocoa, chopped chocolate, chips, you name it, I’ve put it in a brownie recipe. But perfection eluded me.

Until now.

A combination of Nutella, cream cheese and boxed brownie mix resulted in a chewy, glazy, chocolatey brownie that was right up his alley. The Nutella and cream cheese weighed the brownies, making the batter gooey and sticky and the finished product dense and rich with a crispy crust. The hazelnut flavor of the Nutella doesn’t stand out. Instead, it’s a background player, adding to the depth and texture of the finished brownie. The zang of the cream cheese is subdued, but the brownie does have a richness that can only come from a heavy dairy product.

Forgive me if I’m waxing a bit poetic, but these brownies were good. End all, be all good. Christmas and Thanksgiving good.

Good enough for my husband good.