Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I was all set to make coconut swirl brownies. The recipe was on the counter, and I'd noted the two things I needed from the grocery store. It was a done deal - and then I saw a post from Brown Eyed Baker for salted caramel brownies. Bye-bye coconut, hello salted caramel. I love the combination of salty and sweet - the way the salt makes your mouth water and gives the sweet a little something extra. A quick glance at the recipe eliminated that trip to the grocery store - I had everything I needed. In her post, Brown Eyed Baker mentions seeing a similar recipe on Pioneer Woman. I read through that one and my recipe is a combination of the two. I used the brownies from the first and the caramel from the second. I also added nuts and used 3 types of chocolate - why not?
Now, I do have to say I'm still adjusting to cooking with a newborn around. I set out all the ingredients during one moment of peace. Then during a nap, I set about making them... but she woke up. So I popped them in the oven while I fed her and then made the caramel sauce during the next feeding. It may have taken most of the day, but they were ready for us to enjoy after my little cream puff went to bed. The trick to cooking with a baby in the house, I'm learning, is to choose recipes that can be broken into different parts so that one or two steps can be completed whenever I have a few minutes... After all, we know who now makes the rules in our house! But who could resist this little sous chef!?!
Salted Caramel Walnut Brownies
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1¼ cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
Salted Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)
Fine sea salt
Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the pan with overlapping pieces of foil and spray the foil.
In a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost-simmering water, melt the chocolates and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. (Or, melt in the microwave on 50% power for 30-second increments, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.) Whisk in the cocoa until smooth. Set aside to cool.
Whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture; then stir in the flour until just combined. Pour about the brownie mixture into the prepared pan and spread into the corners.
Bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs, 35 to 40 minutes.
Cool completely, then sprinkle the walnuts over the top and pour the caramel sauce over the whole thing. Sprinkle with a little extra sea salt if desired. Allow to set. (Note: I left them in the pan to keep the sauce from oozing. The gelatine helped it set, but in August, it still spread. Keeping them in the pan ensure maximum caramel on each delicious bite!)
Salted caramel sauce
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
1 cup Sugar
1/4 cups Water
2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, Cut Into Pieces
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 package Powdered Gelatin Mixed With 2 Tbsp. Water
In a small saucepan over low heat, warm heavy cream. Do not boil.
In a separate tall saucepan, combine sugar and water. Do not stir. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture turns an amber color—not too dark, but definitely amber. Remove pan from stove.
Add warm cream, butter, and salt. Stir gently until mixture is smooth and well combined. When it is smooth and calmed down a bit, pour in gelatin/water mixture and stir.