Before I continue with my Cebu escapade, I thought I’d interrupt with another one of my ‘from scratch’ posts. Miss my chocolate recipes? Good, because you’re going to love this one.
Up until about a month ago, I’ve been nervous about baking. Sure, I’ve made a lot of waffles and pancakes from scratch, and I could probably mix granola bars in my sleep, but baking? That’s something I’ve never done before, at least not with desserts. Pasta dishes I’ve baked, but if you think about it, they’re already cooked so you can’t really screw it up.
But once I started baking baking, I was like a monster. First I made chocolate chip cookies. Then cakes. (Granted they were box mixes, but that counts, right? Anyway, I made the frosting and filling from scratch, so it should count.) Butter and eggs were disappearing faster than before, and Amazon now keeps sending me alerts about featured baking equipment.
I like baking at odd hours of the night, too. Just recently, I commandeered the kitchen at 11PM and ended at 2:30AM. I’m beginning to think I have a problem. But back to the matter at hand.
All of the things I’ve made from scratch so far, I got from different baking websites. One of the things I’ve made repeatedly are brownies, specifically Handle the Heat’s “Best Ever Chewy Brownies”. They are so good and so easy to make. Well, recently, instead of baking them as they are, I decided to do something a little different (check me out, feeling like a real baker). I decided to use this recipe as a base for Salted Caramel Brownies.
But I didn’t just add salted caramel. Oh, no. Instead of the semisweet chocolate chips the original recipe called for, I decided to go a bit further by replacing that with dark and unsweetened baking chocolate chunks. Yep. Dark and unsweetened. I figured I needed something to offset the sweetness of the sugar and the caramel, so why not hit it with something a little bitter? And it worked.
Just in case I’m coming off as too confident, rest assured this is by design. I’m poking fun at myself for pretending to be an expert. But I assure you, this is simple enough for anyone to bake.
What you need:
For the brownies:
1 1/4 cups (249 grams) granulated sugar
5 tablespoons (71 grams) unsalted butter
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, cold
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (75 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup (63 grams) all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (about 85 grams) dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (about 42 grams) unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped*
*For more bitterness, you can use 64 grams each of dark and unsweetened chocolate
For the salted caramel:
25 pieces Kraft caramel candies
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
Sea salt, for topping (optional)
How it’s done:
- Preheat the oven to 325 F (about 163 C) . Line an 8×8-inch metal pan with foil and either spray with cooking spray or smear with a little butter. (I do the latter since I don’t have cooking spray)
- In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside.
- In a microwaveable bowl, nuke the butter and sugar together until the butter melts, around a minute on high. Mix well.
- Add the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla, and mix well. Follow them with the oil and cocoa powder.
- Switch to a spatula (I use a whisk before this step, but feel free to start with a spatula) and fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.
- Fold in the dark and unsweetened baking chocolate. The mixture is going to be very thick, but mix in the chunks as well as you can.
- Transfer the brownie mixture into the pan and spread it as evenly as possible, pushing the stuff into the corners and sides.
- Pop the pan into the oven and set your timer for 30 minutes. Stick a toothpick in the middle of the brownie to check if it’s done. If it comes out with just some moist crumbs attached, it’s time to take it out. If you want chewy and fudgy brownies, don’t overbake it. It will continue baking as it cools completely in the pan. If the edges have baked slightly higher than the middle, use a spatula to press on the edges and create a more even surface.
- As the brownie cools a bit, put the milk, caramels, and salt in a saucepan or small pot on medium high, stirring continuously to keep the mixture from burning. This may take at least 10 minutes. You can probably do this in the microwave more quickly. Haven’t tried it this way, but I’d start it off on high in a microwaveable bowl for about a minute, stir, then another minute on high.
- When the caramels are completely melted and mixed into the milk, remove the pan from the heat and keep mixing to let the sauce cool a bit.
- Using a chopstick or something similar, poke holes into the brownies. Pour the caramel sauce over the brownies, spreading evenly over the surface and into the holes.
- Once the brownies are completely cool, take them out of the pan using the foil. Use a sharp knife to cut into nine large or 16 smaller brownies. If using, sprinkle each brownie with sea salt before serving.
These things are just fudgy and the saltiness is addicting. And thanks to the bitterness from the dark and unsweetened chocolate, the sweetness isn’t too overwhelming. Plus, the pockets of caramel are just a great surprise. I thought I could avoid saying this, but they’re fucking delicious.
Thanks again to Tessa of Handle the Heat for her brownie recipe. If you do try out my version, let me know what you think.
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