The Sweet and Salty Brownie: a-mazing
Yes, I’m talking about brownies, again. I have been making these sweet and salty brownies from my favorite baking cookbook – Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renee Poliafito – for a few years now and they are show stoppers. The recipes in this book don’t hold back when it comes to dark chocolate, butter, and cream, but the indulgence is worth it. Don’t be scared off by the salt – it makes the brownies (I am all about salt when I am baking to really bring out the sweetness, whether it’s chocolate or fruit).
Whenever I take these brownies to parties, I am inevitably asked for the recipe – it is somewhat involved, but worth the effort. The good news is that they hold up quite well for a few days in fridge so you can safely make them a day or two prior to serving – not that they last that long. My husband eats the caramel right out of the pan.
Sweet & Salty Brownie (adapted from a recipe from Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito)
(click here for printable recipe)
For the caramel filling:
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon fleur de sel or sea salt
1/4 cup sour cream
For the brownie:
1 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
11 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli)
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
For the top:
1 1/2 teaspoons fleur de sel or sea salt
1 teaspon coarse or granulated sugar
Make the caramel:
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water, stirring carefully to not splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat, without stirring, until the mixture is dark amber in color – it happens fast – 6-8 minutes, so keep a careful eye to prevent burning. Remove from heat and slowly add the cream or half and half and salt (it will bubble up and is very hot – be careful). Whisk in the sour cream until smooth (I have used Greek yogurt in a pinch) and set aside to cool.
Make the brownie:
Preheat oven to350 degrees F. Spray with cooking spray a 9 x 13 inch pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and spray the parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cocoa powder. Combine the chocolate chips and butter in a medium micorwave-safe bowl and melt in microwave, checking and stirring often to avoid scorching. When melted and smooth, immediately add both sugars and whisk until smooth. Add three of the eggs at once and whisk until just combined. Add the remainging eggs and whisk until just combined. Add vanilla and stir. Do not overbeat – this will make a cakey brownie. Add the flour mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until just combined.
Pour half the brownie mixture into the prepared pan and smooth so it covers the bottom of the pan. Drizzle about 3/4 cup of the caramel sauce (you will have a lot left over – enjoy with ice cream) over the brownie layer in a zig zag pattern, avoiding the edges of the pan to prevent the caramel from burning. Spread the caramel evenly over the brownie layer with an offset spatula. Scoop the rest of the brownie batter over the caramel layer and smooth gently with an offset spatula. It doesn’t have to be perfect – some caramel may peek through!
Bake the brownies for 30 minutes or until a few moist crumbs stick to a toothpick stuck in the middle. Remove brownies from the oven and sprinkle with the salt and sugar. Cool brownies completely before serving – I like them stored in fridge and served cold, but they are great room temp as well. These freeze well, wrapped individually in plastic wrap.