Preheat the oven to 180C or 356F.
In a small saucepan, brown the butter over a low heat until toasty and a warm dark brown in colour. Transfer to a medium sized mixing bowl and mix in the sugar, before allowing to cool for 5 minutes.
Half fill the small saucepan with water and place it back on the heat. Place a heatproof bowl on top (ensuring it doesn’t touch the water) and add the chocolate. Allow to completely melt.
While the chocolate is melting, use a hand beater to beat the egg into the butter sugar mixture. You can also use a stand mixer, but I find they struggle with small quantities. Do this for 3 minutes at a high speed. The mixture should become syrupy and a light brown in colour. It should have a vague sheen, similar to beginnings of meringue.
Once the chocolate has finished melting, add the cocoa and hot water or espresso. Stir just to combine – the chocolate will begin seizing up so don’t stir more than necessary.
Use a spatula to scrape all the chocolate mixture into the liquid sugar, butter and egg batter. Use the hand mixer on a low speed to combine. The mixture should turn from light brown to a deep chocolate brown.
Add the almond meal and a good pinch of salt. Continue mixing until combined and glossy (it’s OK if you see almond meal granules).
Use the spatula to decant the brownie into your vessel of choice. I used a mini skillet (16cm diameter, 3cm height with 2 cup (Australian) capacity. Ideally you’ll use something with similar dimensions, and with a wide top so as to showcase the crackly brownie.
Place into the oven for 13-15 minutes, depending on your vessel and how fudgy you like your brownie.
Add a scoop of ice cream on top and serve.