Sunday, June 3, 2012

Salted Caramel Brownies.

I have never been good at making brownies. I can do the box kind no problem, but homemade is another story. To be fair, I've only tried once, but they came out really grainy.  To top that off, I've also only attempted homemade caramel once before, and it's safe to say that tasted like rusty metal.  So, I took this mission as one that I would not fail.  Yet, after the 4th attempt at caramel, I was having misgivings. I didn't actually burn it once. I just continually messed up the ingredients. I was trying to combine three different recipes for caramel, and for whatever reason, my brain was not comprehending conversions very well. Anyways, I'm glad I didn't stop, because these brownies are offing delicious.


6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 C and 2 TBL unsalted butter, melted
5 eggs
2 C sugar
1 1/4 C flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and butter and flour a 9 x 13 baking pan.

Place bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave proof bowl. Or you can boil water and place the bowl above the water without touching.  I do not have a bowl that will do that, YET, so microwave it is.  I generally do 30 seconds, mix it up a bit, then do 20 seconds, and then mix the chocolate until it is completely smooth. The most I would microwave it after that is 10 seconds. Whisk in the butter, and let the chocolate-butter mixture cool slightly. 
Place the eggs in a stand mixer with the whip attachment. On low speed, slowly add the sugar and beat for about a minute. The mixture should be frothy and somewhat thick. With a  rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate-butter mixture. In a separate medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; then fold in the flour mixture to the egg-chocoalte mixture until combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan with the rubber spatula (it will be thick) and place in oven.
Bake for 30-35 minutes but start checking around 20. the knife check is a pretty sure way of knowing where your brownies are in terms of being cooked. If you stick the knife in and wet batter comes out, they need more time. If you stick the knife in and nothing is on the knife on the way out, then they are overcooked. Well, they will be more cake like and when they are done cooling will be harder. You want somewhere in the middle. I took them out when I got some gooey batter on my knife.  And I'm usually the person who makes rock brownies, so I took a chance there. 
Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool for at least 2 hours. The brownies must be completely cooled before you start slicing them. if you get impatient, then you will have a lot of yummy brownie bits. Once they are cool enough, I went ahead and covered the pan with plastic wrap and left them on my kitchen counter. Or you can cut them into squares and store in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 days.


1 1/2 C sugar
3/4 C water
3/4 C heavy cream
6 TBL unsalted butter
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract we go... 

Make sure all of your ingredients are on hand. There is no time to be searching for them during the baking process.
Pour the sugar into a medium saucepan.  Slowly add the water as well. Scrape any sugar crystals off the side with a wet pastry brush. Place the saucepan over high heat.  The first step is getting the mixture to a rolling boil. It will start boiling vigorously and turn a very light amber color. This is good. If you think you smell burning you're wrong. It won't smell the best. Do not move the pan at all, or stir its contents. Let the sugar and water boil. The mixture will start to thicken and it will not boil so furiously and will start to slow down.
Soon the syrup will start to darken in color around the edge, gently swirl the pot around to evenly caramelize the syrup.  As you swirl the pot, the mixture will begin to turn golden brown and then darker and darker. To check the true color of the caramel, tilt the pot forward, so you can see the bottom of the pan. It will be lighter, and you want this layer on the bottom to be a rich amber brown.  You MUST check constantly because it is seconds before you had perfect caramel then rusty metal caramel. 
Once the caramel is the right color on the bottom, reduce the heat to low, don an oven mitt, and pour the cream slowly into the caramel. You don't have to wear the mitt, but the steam that comes off the caramel is hotter than boiling water, and makes the cream warm in less than a second. Let the caramel and cream sputter for a few seconds then gently whisk them together. Turn the heat back up to medium and continue to whisk, the mixture will bet thicker, for 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the butter, salt, and vanilla. 
Remove from the heat and pour into an airtight, heatproof container. You can either let it cool or place it in the fridge at this point, but I suggest letting it cool because once refrigerated, it's quite hard. 

You can then drizzle, spread, or whatever you want to do with the caramel, over the brownies. Then sprinkle sea salt across it all, and you're ready to enjoy! 

**You can easily cut the caramel recipe in half (it makes a ton). I just have plans for this caramel with other things as well. The caramel can be stored in your fridge for a week.

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