Do you see that picture right there?
That one with all the oozing caramel and the little sparkly flecks of salt. I want to swim in that picture, making my way through waves of salted caramel, climbing through rich dark chocolately layers of brownie.
I would happily eat my way out of that swimming pool.
I knew before I cracked the spine.
I had encountered the Baked Sweet & Salty Brownie before. Once upon a time, I had watched Claire Robinson drool over them on an episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate. I desperately searched out a recipe on the internet and made them immediately.
And immediately messed them up.
After the luscious caramel layer, I dolloped on the second layer of brownie, and attempting to smooth it out, I mixed up into the caramel. It just turned into this weird gooey mixture that didn’t quite set in the oven. I ate it with a spoon in a bowl and poured more salted caramel on top. It was delicious.
But it wasn’t a Baked Sweet & Salty Brownie.
So a few days ago, cookbook tightly clutched in my hot little hands, I knew I had to conquer that brownie.
What I learned: don’t dollop/spoon and smooth the second layer of brownie. I know what it says in the recipes on internet and in the cookbook, and if you’re some sort of magician with layers, good for you, but I’m not.
Scoop up portions of it with a flat spatula, and let the batter fall off the spatula in ribbons, slowly and gently pulling it across the caramel layer, making sure to cover all the caramel, as evenly as possible. It ends up kinda lumpy, but I avoided smoothing it out. I was not having the caramel mess up again. Besides, it all evens out in the heat of the oven.
I conquered the Baked Sweet & Salty Brownie. It had two perfectly fudgey layers, surrounding a succulent mass of salted caramel. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t still cover it in the left over caramel.
Oh yes, let the sweet/salty caramel drizzling commence!
Salted caramel, nestled in a rich brownie is no longer a dream. It is in my belly and making my keyboard sticky.
I’m the sticky kid that ruins the slide.
And I’m not sorry.
Sweet & Salty Brownies
Recipe from Baked Explorations: American Desserts Reinvented
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp fleur de sel
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
- 11 oz. quality dark chocolate (60-72%), coarsely chopped (I used Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet chips, although note that one standard package has about 10 oz. in it.)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel
- 1 teaspoon coarse sugar
- Caramel: In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/4 cup water, stirring them together carefully so you don’t splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350 degrees F, or until the mixture is dark amber in color (keep a close eye on the caramel at all times, as it goes from golden brown to black and burnt very quickly), 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat, and slowly add the cream (careful, it will bubble up) and then the fleur de sel. Whisk in the sour cream. Set aside to cool.
- Brownie: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 9×13-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 a 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.
- Add three eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not over-beat the batter at this stage, 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 just a trace amount of the flour mixture still visible.
- Brownie Assembly: 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, making sure the caramel doesn’t come in contact with the edges oft he pan or it will burn. Use an offset spatula to spread the caramel evenly across the brownie layer, leaving about a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Scoop up portions of the batter with a flat spatula, and let the batter fall off the spatula in ribbons, slowly and gently pulling it across the caramel layer, making sure to cover all the caramel, as evenly as possible.
- 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 the fleur de sel and coarse sugar. Cool the brownies completely before cutting.
- Drizzle cut brownies with leftover salted caramel if desired.
NOTE: The brownies can be stored, tightly wrapped at room temperature, for up to 4 days.