If you happened to check out the giveaway that ran last week for the Baked Explorations cookbook and Baked Brownies Mixes, you may remember me saying how smitten I am with Baked Explorations. I alluded to the fact that I obsessively placed Post-It flags throughout the entire book and had every intention to make each of the flagged treats. Key word being intention…I’m not so great at following through with my grand plans, so I decided to sit down and prioritize my list.
One of the recipes that I just couldn’t seem to get out of my mind was for Sweet & Salty Brownies. In my opinion, a sweet and salty combination reigns supreme. Think about it: chocolate covered pretzels, Fleur de Sel caramels, Crunch and Munch…oh the list goes on and on.
It’s truly difficult for me to form a description that actually does these Sweet and Salty brownies justice. It’s almost as though they are so incredibly delicious that a typical adjective infused sentence will simply not suffice. They really are everything a brownie should be; rich, decadent, fudgy, and chocolaty. As if this wasn’t enough, the salted caramel center is so good that it may bring you to tears. I challenge you to make these brownies, eat one or five and not be compelled to immediately head over to Amazon to purchase Baked Explorations.
February 21st, 2011
Sweet and Salty Brownies
Yield: 12 large brownies or 24 small brownies
For the caramel filling
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Fleur de Sel
1/4 cup sour cream
For the brownie
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces quality dark chocolate (60 to 72%), coarsely chopped
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the caramel filling
1. Combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/4 cup of water in a medium saucepan, stirring carefully so as not to splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350F or until the mixture is dark amber in color, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat, and slowly add the cream, and then the Fleur de Sel. Whisk in the sour cream and set aside to cool.
For the brownie
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light colored metal 9 x 13 inch pan. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper, and butter the parchment.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cocoa powder.
4. Place the chocolate and butter in the bowl of the 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 at this point.
5. Add three eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining two 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.
6. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate. Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until there is a just a trace amount of the flour mixture visible.
7. To assemble the brownie, pour half of the brownie mixture into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Drizzle about 3/4 cup of the caramel sauce over the brownie layer in a zigzag pattern, taking care to make sure the caramel does not come in contact with the edges of the pan or it will burn. Use your offset spatula to spread the caramel evenly across the brownie layer. In heaping spoonfuls, scoop the rest of the brownie batter over the caramel layer. Smooth the brownie batter gently to cover the caramel layer.
8. Bake the brownies 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.
9. Remove the brownies from the oven and sprinkle with an extra 1 1/2 teaspoons Fleur de Sel and 1 teaspoon coarse sugar.
10. Cool the brownies completely before cutting and serving.
- Store wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for up to 4 days.
- Adapted from Baked Explorations