Thursday, November 27, 2014

Sweet and Salty Brownies

I keep accidentally opening a folder on my computer that has pictures of these brownies that I took about one year ago.  I didn't like think the pictures looked good, so I wasn't going to post them, but every time, I accidentally scroll over them (like everyday)-- I want to make them and I love the pictures a tiny bit more.

Yesterday, I was so excited to find my new favorite baking chocolate, Scharffen Berger, at Target.  In honor of the score, I'm making brownies and posting this recipe.  I refuse to make brownies anymore unless it's with good chocolate.  To me, using bad chocolate is like using margarine instead of butter.

This recipe is definitely my go to brownie recipe and you won't be disappointed either.  If you are looking for a non-traditional Thanksgiving dessert, you should make these (and eat them all!)
Sweet and Salty Brownies:

1 cup sugar
1 TBSP corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
2 TBSP butter

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
11 oz dark chocolate, chopped (60-72% chocolate)
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
5 eggs, room temp (important!)
2 tsp vanilla

1) Make the caramel.  Measure out heavy cream, and set aside, place butter and salt in small bowl, set aside.  In medium saucepan- preferably metal- combine sugar, corn syrup, and water- stir carefully- don't splash onto sides, it can wreck the caramel later.  Cook over medium high heat until it reaches 350' or a dark amber color (like beer)- it will take a while to turn amber, but once it does, it can get brown fast and burn.  You don't need to stir while it is heating up, maybe swirl the pan once or twice.

Once it reaches the amber color, turn off heat and slowly add cream and salt and butter- be careful because it will release a LOT of steam, the caramel may even seem to harden, just keep whisking it until smooth.  Set aside to cool while you mix the brownies.

2) Preheat the oven to 350'.

3) Grease a 9x13 baking pan.  You can also choose to line it front to back and side to side with parchment paper- I never have done this and my brownies have never stuck in the pan.

4) In a bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, and salt- set aside.

5) Put chocolate and butter in a double boiler- set this over a pan of boiling water- stir until the chocolate and butter have melted and are smooth.  **(If you do not have a double boiler- put chocolate and butter in microwave safe bowl and microwave in 20 second increments, take out and stir each time- longer increments can result in the chocolate burning and drying out. )

6) Keep double boiler over pot of water, turn off the burner.  Add the sugar and brown sugar to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined.

7) Transfer chocolate mixture to a large bowl- use a scraper to get it all out.  Add three eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined (do not over mix here- this is the difference between gooey fudge brownies or dense cake ones).  Add the last two eggs and mix until just combined.

8) Add vanilla and whisk until combined.

9) Sprinkle flour mixture on top of chocolate mixture- fold in with a spatula or wooden spoon.  There may be small amounts of flour mixture that aren't mixed in, that is ok-Remember over mixing will result in denser brownies.

10) Pour half of the brownie batter into the prepared pan.  Spread about 1/2-3/4 cup of the caramel sauce around the top of the batter- stay about 1/2 " away from the edge of the batter.  Drop the rest of the batter on top of the caramel layer and use a spatula to carefully spread it out.

11) Bake the brownies for about 40-45 minutes total.  After 20 minutes of baking, rotate the pan halfway to ensure even baking.  After 35 minutes of baking, you can insert a toothpick into the center of the brownies to check for doneness- a few sticky crumbs will come out on the pick, but should not be dredged in batter.  Remember, there is caramel in there, so it will be a littly sticky-but when in doubt cook a little longer- I have made these before and taken out when they weren't done and it is hard to finish cooking a half baked batch once you realize you under baked them.

12) Remove from oven and sprinkle the top with sea salt or another coarse salt.

Recipe adapted from Baked Explorations
Caramel recipe from Bakingdom blog.

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