February 2, 2017

Salted Caramel Brownies

Homemade caramel is one of those things I simply need to keep practicing. Sometimes I burn the sugar, sometimes I have endless lumps that won't disappear, sometimes it's too runny and you get the picture. But sometimes, I nail it. And then I have the elixir of the metaphorical gods.

When my dad asked for salted caramel brownies, I pulled together the caramel using this recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction and the brownies from Smitten Kitchen. Fortunately for me, unfortunately for my healthy eating habits, I nailed the caramel sauce. As I was licking it off my fingers, all my willpower vanished, and I made a second half batch of brownies to devour instead of eating the batch I made my dad. And then I made another half batch a day or two later to use the last of the caramel sauce.

Salted Caramel Brownies
Salted Caramel
1 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. butter, room temperature and cut into 6 pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. sea salt
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla 
1/8 tsp. salt
2/3 cup flour 

Make the caramel in advance and chill, so you can dollop it throughout the brownie batter. Heat sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a high heat resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-colored liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn. Once sugar is completely melted, immediately add the butter. Be careful in this step because the caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added. Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2-3 minutes. Very slowly, drizzle in 1/2 cup of heavy cream while stirring. Since the heavy cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble and/or splatter when added. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. 
Remove from heat and stir in 1 tsp. of sea salt. Allow to cool down before using.
To make the brownies, preheat the oven to 350°F. Melt chocolate and butter together in a heat-proof bowl on medium heat in the microwave, stirring every minute. Stir in the sugar, and then stir in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and salt, and stir to combine. Gently fold in the flour. Pour 2/3 of the batter into a 9 x 9 pan lined with parchment paper. Spread evenly and dollop with caramel sauce throughout the batter. Cover with remaining batter. (It's OK if caramel is showing.) Bake 30 minutes or until brownies are done. Cool before cutting and eating ... unless you want to risk burning your tongue. (I'm a risk taker.) Makes 12 brownies.

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