Brownies are my number one comfort food. There is not much that a piece of brownie cannot fix in my book. Having a bad day - brownie. Having a good day - brownie. Any day - brownie!
The definition of comfort food is that it's generally supposed to have a high level of carbohydrates and have a simple preparation. This applies well to brownies, but I always just thought that comfort food should be food (or desserts) that make you happy. That gives you that little bit of warmth on the inside. So brownies and a cup of tea (that I like to think is a warm hug in a cup) brightens any day.
These brownies also have a layer of silky smooth chocolate ganache on top. You can find the recipe for chocolate ganache here.
Anything chocolatey has the potential of being comfort food for me, because chocolate is my favourite. Other chocolatey things on my list of comfort foods are chocolate chip cookies, hot chocolate and chocolate ice cream. Basically chocolate makes me happy, and there may be a very scientific reason behind that. What makes chocolate what it is, is the molecule theobromine, which gets its name from the cocoa plant Theobroma cacao. Theobroma in turn comes from the greek words theo and broma, together meaning "food of the gods". In one study from 2008 it was found that older men with a better psychological well-being (feelings of happiness and lower scores on a depression scale) ate more chocolate . The reason could be that the theobromine in chocolate is linked to the production of serotonin in the human brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (chemicals that act as signals between brain cells). Serotonin is important for regulation of the mood, and disorders like depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder are often related to a lack of serotonin in the brain. The research is yet inconclusive, there are both benefits and negative effects of chocolate. Chocolate is high in fat and sugar, but it also contains minerals, flavonols and stimulants. There are many studies on chocolate and it appears to reduce blood pressure and cholesterols, as well as increasing insulin sensitivity . Having said all this, there are also negative effects. So moderation is key. Or as we say in Swedish, eat "lagom" of chocolate.
It is obvious that we don't know everything about the science behind why chocolate is so deliciously magnificent, but I certainly know that it makes everything a little bit better, just as comfort foods should.
What are some of your comfort foods? And what do you define as a "comfort food"?
 Strandberg T.E. et al. (2008). Chocolate, well-being and health among elderly men. Eur J Clin Nutr 62: 247-53.
 Balboa-Castillo T. et al. (2015). Chocolate and health-related quality of life: a prospective study. PLoS One 10.