Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Salted Caramel Brownies

Back in January I did a baking day with a few of my friends. While gathering ideas for recipes, salted caramel brownies were one of the things that I considered for our baking day. In the end, the best ever chocolate chocolate chip cookies won, because the recipe made more for sharing. I never did forget about those salted caramel brownies though. One of the friends who joined me on the baking day asked me for dinner this past Sunday and I said I would bring a dessert. I remembered that the brownies also caught her interest, so that's what I decided to bring. I made these on Saturday morning. Sadly, Saturday evening and Sunday morning I wasn't feeling too well and neither was my friend's husband, so we had to reschedule our plans. But I still had all those brownies! I dropped some off to her place and shared with Greg and my parents. My parents thought they were the best brownie they had ever had. Greg, on the other hand, said that the brownies were too sweet. Hmm, last time I checked, brownies are supposed to be SWEET! Does anyone disagree with me and agree with Greg? Yeah, I didn't think so. It's okay if Greg doesn't want to eat the brownies though..because that just means there are more for me and Wendy. I already know that Wendy takes after me - she loves sugar too! I hope you enjoy these sweet fudgy gooey and delicious brownies as much as I do.

*Because these brownies are so fudgy, you can actually cut them into mini bites and they can be served as candies or fudge. But I won't judge you if you eat a big brownie or two or three large brownies either.

Recipe for Salted Caramel Brownies 

For the salted caramel sauce
1/4 cup water
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. of light corn syrup
1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. of sea salt
1/4 cup of sour cream
For the brownies
1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp. of coarse sea salt
2 Tbsp. of Dutch processed cocoa powder
A couple pinches of instant coffee powder
11 ounces of bittersweet baking chocolate (I used Ghiradelli), coarsely chopped
16 Tbsp. of unsalted butter, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of light brown sugar, packed firmly
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. of pure vanilla extract
For topping
Sea salt and coarse sugar

For the caramel sauce
Put the water, sugar, and corn syrup into a saucepan and set it over medium high heat. Stir almost constantly and cook until it becomes a deep amber color or reaches 330 degrees on a candy thermometer. This will take about 15 - 20 minutes. Be careful not to let the mixture burn!

Then remove the saucepan from the heat. Put the cream in a microwave safe liquid measuring cup and heat for 45 seconds. Then slowly pour some cream down the side of the saucepan and whisk constantly, then continue to add more until all of the cream is incorporated (the mixture will steam and bubble up during this process). Then add in the sea salt and sour cream and mix well. Set the caramel sauce aside to cool.

For the brownies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper. Put the flour, sea salt, cocoa powder, and coffee powder into a smallish bowl and sift together. Put the chopped chocolate and cut butter into a large saucepan and set over low heat. Gently stir until the butter and chocolate are melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Add in the granulated sugar and light brown sugar to the chocolate mixture and use an electric hand mixer set on medium speed to fully incorporate. Then add in the eggs and mix well. Stir in the vanilla extract. Then pour in the flour mixture and stir until just combined.

Carefully spread half of the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Smooth down with a spatula. Then pour the caramel sauce over the top of the batter into an even layer. Top the caramel sauce off with the rest of the brownie batter, making sure to carefully smooth over the caramel and fully covering it. Put into the oven and bake for 30 - 35 minutes, making sure to rotate the pan halfway through the baking process. Remove brownies from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, sprinkle the sea salt and coarse sugar over the brownies (about 1/2 - 1 tsp.). Cover the brownies and put them into the fridge before cutting. This helps to make them extra fudgy!

Recipe makes about 2 dozen regular-sized brownies and makes about 60 small bites.

Recipe Source: Pink Parsley, originally from Baked Explorations