RECIPE

Sweet and Salty Brownies

Sweet + salty = a special brownie featuring bittersweet chocolate, a homemade caramel center and sea salt. Adapted from a recipe from Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.

Ingredients

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 (I have used Greek yogurt in a pinch)

For the brownie:

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 11 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli brand)
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 5 eggs, divided
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

For the topping:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fleur de sel or sea salt
  • 1 teaspon coarse or granulated sugar

Preparation

Make the caramel:

In a medium size 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 and set aside to cool.

Make the brownie:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch x 13-inch pan with cooking spray, line the bottom with parchment paper, then spray the parchment paper. In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cocoa powder. Combine the chocolate chips and butter in a medium size micorwave-safe bowl and melt in the microwave, checking and stirring often to avoid scorching. When melted and smooth, immediately add both sugars and whisk until smooth. Add 3 of the eggs at once and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the 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 of 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 the brownies from the oven and sprinkle with the salt and sugar. Cool the brownies completely before serving; I like them stored in fridge and served cold, but they are great room temperature as well. These freeze well, wrapped individually in plastic wrap.

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Rachael Ray