Saturday, 14 April 2012

Caramel Brownies

Caramel Brownies - oozing goodness, for goodness sake.  

So, I get brownies now. 

It was a revelation. Somewhere between the melting chocolate and the creation of decadent caramel, it dawned on me, a brilliant flash of understanding: brownies are awesome and, as long as I don't think about it too much, they're really easy too.  

And I can prove it. 

After my mega mess up last night when I literally tossed the brownie pan into the air and ended up with a major mess, my perfectionist self was nagging me to try it again. I wanted mouth watering squares that I could feed to my friends, not crumbs that I was able to squish into a medium tuperware (which has now become one big, oversized brownie cube). 

But, I didn't want to do the same recipe two days in a row *yawn*. Nope, time for something different. 

Something better

In comes a lovely book called Fabulous Brownies that I bought last summer for some much needed brownie inspiration. 

When I bought it last year, I successfully left out a cup of sugar in my first batch of inspired brownies and then overcooked my second batch. It was not so fabulous.

But I dusted off that book this morning  and determinedly chose the most delicious looking brownies I could.

I made a variation of the salted caramel swirl brownies, because following the recipe would simply be too easy, but also to fit the taste of my sister (most notably, no nuts!). 

The result, as you can see, was nothing short of amazing. And I am not even exaggerating. The homemade caramel is seeping out and the brownie itself is perfectly moist, perhaps even a slightly bit undercooked, which is how all brownies should be. 

Caramel Brownies
6 oz Bittersweet chocolate
2 oz Unsweetened chocolate

I am not really sure how much a difference there is between using those two chocolates, but I ran out of bittersweet chocolate and so topped it up with the unsweetened kind!

3/4 cups butter
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
a pinch of salt 

Caramel swirl
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes

I have never made caramel before and so I was pretty excited to see it in the recipe. It's kind of like a chemistry lesson! I didn't know what to expect but I was ready to do some experimenting. 

First things first, put on your lab coat. 

Then add 2 tablespoons of water and the sugar into a sauce pan. On low heat, wait until the sugar is all dissolved.

 Once it is dissolved, boil the mixture and wait until it turns an amber colour. This is the science part! It took longer than I expected for the boiling sugar syrup to turn amber. But it started to happen, slowly, and I decided to just be patient, usually a good call.

Now, there is my amber colour! It's a lot thicker now too. I prepared my secondary ingredients in a bowl so that I could easily add them when it was time, which is now. Take your mixture off of the element and add your brown sugar, butter and cream. 

Once they are thoroughly mixed in, put the mixture back on the heat and boil it for about 5 minutes. It should start to thicken slightly and you'll know it's ready when it leaves a layer on the back of your spoon. When it's done, take it off the heat and start making your brownies. 

Like always, melt the chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl over boiling water. Let it cool slightly after melting and then add it to the sugar, eggs and vanilla. This needs to be done slowly! Pour in some of the hot chocolate and whisk briskly. Adding only a bit in at first allows the eggs to adjust the heat properly. Next fold in your flour salt, then stir until mixed properly.

First you are a scientist, now an artist! 

Pour half of the batter into a prepared pan. Mine is 7x7 but that's only because it's all I've got. This would likely be better in a bigger pan, like an 9x9 inch. 

Next, be creative, and blot/draw/doodle/plop half of the caramel mixture on top. Don't forget the corner pieces, they like caramel too. 

Repeat. Brownie batter. caramel.

Here is where the true creativity shows - making the swirl! Drag a knife over the top of the brownie batter, hiding the caramel here, showing it there... creating temptation! 

then 25-30 minutes later, after cooking at 325F, they will look like this. Swirl is so worthwhile. 

Even this handsome man thinks so. 

Oh, yes. He does. 

They're down too. 

And you can just imagine how happy this guy would be if he got a plate of these brownies. 

Look at more funny looking dogs here

Or continue drooling over caramel brownies. 

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