Preheat the oven to 180C or 356F, and line a 24cm x 24cm square baking pan. I like to put a bit of butter or oil in the bottom so the paper doesn’t slide around.
In double boiler over a small saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over a low heat. Alternatively, melt the butter in a small saucepan, and add the chocolate once melted. Stir intermittently until the chocolate has melted too. Set aside to cool slightly.
Add the eggs and sugar to your kitchen mixer and use the whisk attachment. Beat on a medium speed for 7-10+ minutes until the mixture is light (almost white) and fluffy. This will help create the crackly meringue surface.
Add the salt, vanilla bean paste and cocoa to the chocolate mixture. Pour the hot water and coffee over the cocoa to 'bloom' it - bring out the depth of the chocolate flavour. Stir until the additions are mixed in with the chocolate and butter.
With the motor on a low speed, pour the chocolate butter mixture into the mixer in a steady stream. Allow to whisk for a minute or two until the batter is uniformly medium - dark brown in colour.
Add the almond meal to the brownie batter and whisk on low until just combined. The mixture contains beaten egg whites, so stirring more than necessary will knock them out and create less of a shiny, meringue top. Once combined, pour the mixture into the pre-prepared pan, and place the brownies into the oven for 20-35 minutes, depending on how 'done' you like your brownies.
Allow to cool before slicing, and for best, most delicious results, allow to cool completely before eating. Brownies are best made the night before – see the introduction for links and tips. I also highly recommend keeping these in the fridge - when they're fresh from the oven they can be hard to eat for their fudginess.
I like to sprinkle my brownies with a little extra sea salt, but you do you.