Sunday, September 4, 2011
Salted Caramel Brownies
I'm not really sure what to say about these brownies. There's caramel. And chocolate. And salt. It is a near perfect combination.
Salted caramel brownies have been on my list to bake, but when I decided they were next for the oven, I also found that I needed to use a different brownie recipe than my go to. I wanted there to be plenty of salty caramel goodness so I needed a brownie recipe that was baked in a deep square or rectangular dish instead of a flat sheet pan. Luckily the "Baked" Brownie from Brooklyn's bakeshop of the same name was also on my baking list and fit the bill. (Bonus: it's a recipe that's best made by hand so no mixer required!)
The Baked Brownie did not disappoint. It's rich, fudgy, and has that hint of espresso that I think is essential to a good chocolate brownie. There's the right ratio of chocolate to butter and the lack of chemical leavening makes for a really dense texture.
If you're into cakey brownies, these will not be your favorite. Also, I'm totally judging you.
Even though there's a fair bit of salt in this caramel sauce, it wasn't quite enough for my palate. I continued to add sea salt to the top of the brownies once they came out of the oven. And every time I slice a square to eat it. I can't help it. I'm addicted, and my drug of choice is Maldon Sea Salt. Seriously, think about it. Try one as it is, and then (since you're totally going in for seconds) add an extra little pinch of sea salt, just for me.
ALSO, take note! This recipe for caramel sauce makes more than you will need! Don't be shy with it, but you do want your brownies to actually bake, so hold back at least 1/2 cup. Save it. Pour it over ice cream. Dunk apple slices in it. Send me a thank you note.
Salted Caramel Brownies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder
4 oz 70% extra bittersweet chocolate, chopped or broken into pieces
7 oz 60% bittersweet chocolate, chopped or broken into pieces
8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
For salted caramel sauce:
1 cup granulated sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tsp flaked sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13'' baking dish. Line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. Start the brownie batter. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
3. Set a large bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add chocolate, butter, and espresso powder. Stir occasionally until the mixture has melted. Turn off the heat under your pot and add both sugars the the chocolate butter mixture. Whisk to incorporate. Remove the bowl from the pot and set aside to come to room temperature.
4. Make the caramel sauce. Place a medium sauce pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle enough sugar in the pot to coat the bottom. Watch carefully and wait for the sugar to begin to melt. Do not stir, but shake the pot around if necessary so the sugar coats the bottom of the pot evenly. When the first layer of sugar has melted, add another layer of sugar. Continue to shake the pot occasionally to spread the sugar evenly. Once the second addition of sugar has melted, add a little more. Begin to incorporate this sugar with a wooden spoon. Once melted, add more sugar and continue this process until all the sugar has been added. Lower heat as needed so your sugar doesn't color too quickly or burn. Cook the sugar to an amber caramel color and remove the pot from the heat.
5. One by one, add the pieces of butter, whisking to incorporate each one before adding the next. Slowly pour in the cream, whisking to incorporate. Be careful as this will cause the caramel to bubble up. Set caramel aside to cool for 5-10 minutes. Add salt and let cool another 5-10 minutes.
6. Now, finish the brownie batter. Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk to incorporate. Add the remaining 2 eggs and vanilla extract. Whisk to incorporate, but be careful not to overmix.
7. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate and, using a rubber spatula, fold until just incorporated.
8. Pour half the brownie batter in the bottom of the pan. Drizzle some of the caramel sauce over this layer. Add the remaining brownie batter, using a rubber spatula to spread it into the corners. Drizzle more of the caramel sauce over top. Drag a butter knife through the batter to marble the caramel, but be careful not to mix the brownies too much or the caramel will become too incorporated. Sprinkle more sea salt over top of the brownies.
9. Bake brownies 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. If the caramel is making it too difficult to determine the doneness of the brownies, test one of the edges or corners. Allow to cool completely before slicing and serving. Top with additional sea salt if desired.
Recipes adapted from Brown Eyed Baker