Sunday, September 4, 2011

Salted Caramel Brownies (of Doom!)

Hello friends! I feel like I haven't blogged in awhile but I have an excuse! We lost our power due to hurricane Irene last Sunday, and it didn't come back until this past Friday night! But the good news is it's back. Losing power was the worst we had though, others were not so lucky and hopefully will continue to dry out and bounce back slowly but surely!

So now that power and internet are back, I can share my lovely salted caramel brownies with you! I seem to have a lot of advice to dispense for these. I also added my own notes in italics to the recipe instructions where I deviated from the original.

Salted caramel brownie

First, they're made with fancy schmancy fleur de sel. Which I purchased from (one of) my favorite store ever, Savory Spice Shop! But can use any sea is mixed into the caramel, but it's also used as an edible garnish on top which is nice because it won't dissolve into the brownie. So don't go crazy looking for it, my advice is that it's not critical!

Also, if you have never made caramel before, READ THIS!!!! This was my first time making caramel from heating sugar and I totally smoked out my kitchen and burned the first batch to hell. That's why I refer to them as brownies of doom, because it was horrific! Unlike the fler de sel, this advice is critical!

The recipe I followed and others I've looked at advise to heat the sugar to a certain temperature using a candy thermometer. Ignore that! Use your eye to watch the color carefully! When sugar is light khaki TAKE IT OFF THE HEAT! It will continue to cook and darken QUICKLY. Let "settle" before pouring cream in it, because it will bubble up like crazy at that point! Also when pouring the cream, whisk like you've never whisked before. Make sure you set the pot somewhere stable and be EXTREMELY, SUPER careful of drips because you will get scalded badly. If it drips on your counter or stove, let it cool and harden, this dissolve it off. Please follow this advice and stay safe out there!

Salted Caramel Brownies
From Divine Baking

For the filling
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Fleur de Sel (or any coarse sea salt)
1/4 cup sour cream

For the brownies
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
1 1/2 teaspoons Fluer de Sel
1 teaspoon coarse sanding sugar (optional, for garnish)

Make the caramel of doom
  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.
  2. Cook over high heat until the mixture is the color of khaki or light amber.
    Lighter than this, but close:
    Caramel of doom
  3. Remove from the heat instantly and let the bubbling settle.
  4. Slowly add the cream while whisking
  5. Add the fleur de Sel.
  6. Whisk in the sour cream and set aside to cool.
Make the brownies
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Butter or use cooking spray to coat the sides and bottom of a glass or light colored metal 9 x 13 inch pan.
  3. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper, and butter or use cooking spray to coast the parchment.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cocoa powder and set aside
  5. 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.
    (Note: I do own a double boiler, but after melting the butter and chocolate, you will be adding the sugars, eggs, etc. So I set the bowl of my stand mixer over a bowl of water and melt the butter and chocolate directly in there. Set up looks like this. Then transfer the bowl to the mixer, instead of melting them in a separate pot and scraping into another bowl. I feel it saves me time and a dish to clean.) :oD

  6. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water of the double boiler, and add both sugars. Note: this point I put it on my mixer. Whisk until completely combined and remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be at room temperature at this point.
  7. Add three eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined.
  8. Add the remaining two eggs and whisk until just combined.
  9. Add the vanilla and stir until just combined, be careful not to over-beat.
  10. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture. And beat until there is a just a trace amount of the flour mixture visible.
  11. To assemble the brownie, pour half of the brownie mixture into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  12. 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. Note: I found it impossible to keep the caramel from touching the edges, I used a glass pan, it didn't burn, it was fine, I don't know if this hold true for a metal pan though.
  13. Spread the caramel evenly across the brownie layer.
  14. In heaping spoonfuls, scoop the rest of the brownie batter over the caramel layer. Smooth the brownie batter gently to cover the caramel layer as best you can.
  15. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean.
  16. Remove the brownies from the oven and sprinkle with an extra 1 1/2 teaspoons Fleur de Sel and 1 teaspoon coarse sugar.
Fluer de sel = fancy french sea salt...tastes like salt...

Salted caramel brownie

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