Brownie + Salted Caramel + The BAKED Boys = Ammmmmazing!!
Seriously. These brownies were awesome. They have easily become one of my favorites. I made the brownies themselves last summer because there had been some rave reviews and a lot of hype about them throughout the food blogging community. Oprah herself had named them one of her “favorite things” in O Magazine. And of course, they were delicious! Although mine, both last time and this time, managed to come out super soft and gooey… I haven’t decided if they are supposed to be like that or if I just have a habit of under-baking them. Regardless it’s a pretty easy fix- just throw the pan in the refrigerator to firm up. I would rather they be underdone and have to resort to a fridge chill then have them over-baked and dried out anyways. Aside from that slight issue I seem to always have with the recipe, the brownie’s themselves are wonderful. The Baked Boys decided to take them one step further with their new book and add salted caramel layered in the center and drizzled on top. Not to mention the sugar-salted crust. Man, do they know what they’re doing…
And the salted caramel itself- it took all my self-control not to finish off what was leftover with a spoon. It’s THAT good. There are actually a few things you need to be aware of as far as the relationship between the caramel and the brownie in this recipe. You are specifically instructed to use only 3/4 cup of the caramel for the filling. The caramel recipe makes about a cup so you will (luckily) have some leftover. You can use this for drizzling on top of the brownies or maybe use it as an ice cream topping. It would just be a shame to throw out the extra since it is SO darn delicious!! So think of something creative. Also, be very, very careful not to spread the caramel filling too close to the edge of the pan or else it will burn. You need to consider that when you pour the remaining brownie batter on top of the caramel too. It will spread closer to the edge even more from the weight of the batter. It’s best to leave a good 1/2″ or so border. When I went to spread on the layer of caramel I was a little dubious myself, I wasn’t sure how easy of a task this was going to be. I was happily surprised to find out that it is completely doable. The easiest way to have control over spreading the caramel layer is to use a small off-set frosting spatula.
Oh, and do you see all these awesome granules? That’s fleur de sel and coarse sugar! I actually only had the “sugar in the raw” which is kind of brown… but it still worked. Isn’t that just awesome looking though?! It adds another whole level of taste to these, emphasizing the sweet & salty flavors even more. I was super nervous when I was sprinkling it on, thinking that it was too much, that it was just going to take it too far and be too salty. Well, although I don’t think I used the entire amount instructed, I think they would have been fine if I had. The brownies are so sweet themselves, especially with the caramel, that you do need quite a bit of salt for the flavor to come through.
So, once again, good job Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito!
- For the Salted Caramel Filling:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon fleur de sel
- ¼ cup sour cream
- For the Brownies:
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
- 11 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 5 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- For the Topping:
- 1½ teaspoons fleur de sel
- 1 teaspoon coarse sugar
- For the Caramel: In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and corn syrup with ¼ cup water, stirring them together carefully so you don’t splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350 degrees F, or until the mixture is dark amber in color (keep a close eye on the caramel at all times, as it goes from golden brown to black and burnt very quickly), 6-8 minutes. Remove from the heat, and slowly add the cream (careful, it will bubble up) and then the fleur de sel. Whisk in the sour cream. Set aside to cool.
- For the Brownies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9″ × 13″ pan. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper, and butter the parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cocoa powder; set aside.
- Place the chocolate and butter in the bowl of a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water, and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water of the double boiler, and add both sugars. Whisk until completely combined and remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be at room temperature.
- Add three eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage, or your brownies will be cakey.
- Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate. Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until there is just a trace amount of the flour mixture still visible.
- Assemble: Pour half of the brownie mixture into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Drizzle about ¾ cup of the caramel sauce over the brownie layer in a zigzag pattern, making sure the caramel doesn’t come in contact with the edges of the pan or it will burn. Use an offset spatula to spread the caramel evenly across the brownie layer, leaving about a ½-inch border around the edges. In heaping spoonfuls, scoop the rest of the brownie batter over the caramel layer. Smooth the brownie batter gently to cover the caramel layer.
- Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, and check to make sure the brownies are completely done by sticking a toothpick into the center of the pan. The brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
- Remove the brownies from the oven and sprinkle with the fleur de sel and coarse sugar. Cool the brownies completely before cutting and serving. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.
Adapted from ”Baked Explorations“ by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito