Sweet & Salty Caramel Brownies
Today is my friend, name-twin and desk-neighbor, Allie’s birthday! So, despite originally setting out to bounce back from my little indulgent vacation with at least one week of healthy eating, I knew I had to bake up something sweet for her! A few months ago Scott bought me the Baked Explorations recipe book and its chock full of decadent looking desserts. Among them is the recipe for sweet and salty brownies, which not only sounded amazing but were also mentioned on the Food Network as one of the best salty foods in the country! I was sold!
These are pretty easy to whip up, the only challenging part being the caramel sauce-since caramel is usually a pretty careful process. I felt confident since I’ve done caramels a few times before, but for any of you novices, just make sure you keep a close eye on it, as it can go from amber to burnt in an instant.
Enjoy these rich, decadent, salty and sweet confections… and wish a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Allie!!
- 1 c. sugar
- 2 TBSP light corn syrup
- 1/2 c. heavy cream
- 1 tsp fleur de sel, or Kosher salt works fine
- 1/4 c. sour cream
- 1 and 1/4 c. flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 TBSP dark cocoa powder
- 11 oz. quality dark chocolate (60-72%), coarsely chopped
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 & 1/2 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 and 1/2 tsp fleur de sel, or Kosher salt works fine too
- 1 tsp coarse sugar
Make the Caramel:
In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/4 c. water, stirring together carefully so you don’t splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat, until a thermometer reads 350 degrees and is dark amber in color. Remove from the heat and slowly add the cream (it will bubble up). Then add the fleur de sel. Whisk in the sour cream. Set aside to cool.
Make the Brownie:
Preheat oven to 350. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13″ pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the parchment. Or, what I do for brownies is line the entire pan with two criss-crossed pieces of aluminum foil, leaving the ends hanging over the sides. Then I butter the foil generously. This allows for you to easily lift the entire thing out of the pan and let it cool before slicing.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt and cocoa powder. Place the chopped chocolate and butter in a bowl over simmering water.
Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water. Whisk in both sugars until completely combined. Removed bowl from pan.
Add 3 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 incorporated. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
Add the flour mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients until there is just a trace of the flour mixture remaining.
Pour half of the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Drizzle and 3/4 cup of the caramel sauce (not all of it) over the batter, trying to stay away from the edges. Gently spread the caramel sauce evenly. In heaping spoonfuls, scoop the remaining batter over the caramel layer. Smooth the brownie batter gently over the caramel.
Bake the brownies for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs.
Remove the brownies from the oven and sprinkle with the fleur de sel and the coarse sugar. Cool completely before serving.