Thursday, August 30, 2012

salted caramel brownies

bonjour, bonne nuit, bon bon!
notice some little changes around these parts?
i made a new doodle and stuck it at the top of the page. i like it! it feels new and fresh.

AND and. this blogthing is now yusss, yay!, cool.

a lot of people ask me how i got so into food.
and actually, i don't really know, it's hard to answer.

i never knew how much i truly loved food when i was younger. i was too busy laughing or crying or playing bop-it.
but my life is full of these little food memories, ones that let me realize that my love for food was always there, it was never chosen.

i used to eat lemon slices for 80% for attention, the other 20 because i liked it.

i would order penne alfredo at any restaurant that would make it, and i felt fancy doing it.

i sucked on pistachio shells because i liked the salt and the clicking noise of the shells together.

i'd make one piece of cinnamon toast and one piece with butter and jam, because i liked them both, and because couldn't decide. i'd slice them in triangles and switch off bites of each.

i remember accidentally running through a swarm of gnats while i was eating one of those giant carnival twisty rainbow lollypops. and i remember being so upset after i realized they were all stuck to it.

and box mix of the greatest things that could happen in a day.

i remember taking a trip to the mountains, i must have been 6 or 7. a family and friend weekend gathering for skiing and snow and making fires in a cabin.
seriously, the only thing i remember vividly about that trip is licking a bowl of brownie batter, playing uno, and thinking to myself 'this is my favorite part of the trip'., yea that sounds about right.

and while i've never met a brownie that i didn't welcome with open arms, it is now, after all these years of brownies, that finally, i've found it. my brownie nirvana.

this brownie, i do believe, is the perfect brownie for me.
i know that a perfect classic fudgy brownie, left in its purest form with no trace of caramels, or fruits, or peppermint patties, is a beautiful thing.

but my perfect brownie, the one i would want probably before any other, is this one. with salted caramel. and more salt.

sea saaaalty. i go at the maldon with a heavy hand, and i stand by it.

these taste exponentially better on the second day. like seriously, a totally noticeable difference in flavors. the first night, they were unbelievably rich and chocolate intense, quite delicious, but by the next day, they were truly something to be gushed over.

the ingredients settle together, the caramel nestles perfectly into the chocolate, and every flavor sings a joyous tune without being overpowered by the intensity of the chocolate.

and then i start singing.

thank you, salted caramel brownie. thank you for your existence. i know we will spend many great years together from now until forever.

Sweet and Salty Brownie
from Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

for the caramel filling:
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp fleur de sel
1/4 cup sour cream

for brownie:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces quality dark chocolate (60-72%), 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, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract

fleur de sel and coarse sugar for sprinkling

for the caramel filling, 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 350℉ 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, preheat the oven to 350℉.
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. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cocoa powder.
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.
ddd three eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. ddd the remaining two eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. don't overbeat the batter!  or your brownies will be cakey.
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. 

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. 
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. 

remove the brownies from the oven and sprinkle with an extra 1 1/2 teaspoons fleur de sel and 1 teaspoon coarse sugar.


  1. OK, I've got to carry on a bit....I thought about this recipe for a while. I don't usually crave chocolate. I'm a caramel/butterscotch/vanilla kinda gal. But chocolate has been on my mind. I'm pretty well versed w/ the "Baking w/ Julia" Rick Katz recipe. so...
    The caramel didn't seem to be thick enough-even w/the sour cream. I couldn't believe I was adding 2 cps of sugar to 11 oz of sweetened 72% chocolate. When I added the eggs the batter looked like some gloppy creature oozing out of a lagoon. When I poured the caramel onto the brownie it spread all the way to the edges of the pan despite your instructions not to let it get anywhere near the sides. There didn't seem to be enough batter to spread over the caramel and there were puddles of caramel popping up thru the top layer. There was chocolate from one end of my kitchen to the other. After 15 minutes when I rotated the pan I thought, no way, no how. At 30 minutes I decided to turn off the oven but leave the pan in for 3 more minutes......and low and behold, those were some of the BEST brownies I have ever made. Thick, Fudgy, Rich...puddles of caramel swirling over the top. Way impressive. Way delicious. And very very tasty after being in the fridge. Way to go Julia!

  2. i'm so happy that comment ended the way it did