Salted Caramel Brownies

baking

What is it about salted caramel? For me, it’s maybe one of the tastiest things on the planet.  So I wondered what the result would be if I added it to one of my other favourites – brownies.  The result is a lovely gooey brownie, with hints of caramel running throughout.

We’re making the salted caramel from scratch here, so the ingredients you’ll need are:

  • 245ml double cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 220g sugar (granulated or caster)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons water

And for the brownies you’ll need:

  • 200g butter
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 3 eggs
  • 300g granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 125g plain flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 100g chopped milk chocolate (I think Galaxy is best)

You’ll also need a lined brownie tin – I used one 7 x 11 inches.

So let’s get started on the caramel.  If you’ve never made it before, it’s quite easy to do, but also very easy to get wrong too!  The main thing to remember with heating sugar is to watch it like a hawk.  That’s because sugar can burn in a split second, then you’re left having to start again, with a very messy pan to clean.

Put the cream and vanilla in a small pan, and heat gently over a low heat.  Take a separate large pan and heat the sugar and water over a high heat.  Do not stir it at all!  Otherwise the sugar will crystallise and you’ll be left with another reason to start again.  Bring to the boil and let it bubble away for 5 to 8 minutes.  It’ll eventually turn an amber colour and as soon as it does, take it off the heat.  Now pour in the warm cream, stirring constantly.  It’ll hiss and bubble but that’s fine, just be careful because it’s very hot!  Keep stirring until smooth, then add the sea salt and pour into a bowl or tub to cool.  Notice how it’s runny?  We need it to be a bit more solid for the brownies so once it’s cool leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours, or overnight if you have the time.

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Now it’s time for the brownies!  Preheat your oven to 180 C.

Melt the dark chocolate and butter together, either in a bowl over simmering water, or carefully in the microwave.  In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, eggs and vanilla until the mixtures lovely and thick and creamy.  It should take a minute or two to reach this stage.

Take your melted chocolate and butter, and mix into the eggs and sugar til completely combined, then add the flour, salt and chopped chocolate and give it all a good final mix.

Now it’s time to get the salted caramel involved!  Pour half the brownie mix into the lined tin and smooth to the edges, then take half your salted caramel and dot spoonfuls of it on top.  Then do the same again – pour the second half of the brownie mix into the tin, and dot the rest of the salted caramel on top in nice big dollops.

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Now it’s time to mix the two together, so take something like a blunt knife or a chopstick and use it to swirl the brownie and salted caramel mixtures together.  Don’t go too far – you still want the brownie and caramel to be slightly separate.  Here’s the effect you’re going for:

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Now pop the brownies in the oven.  For me, these tend to take different amounts of time to cook every time, but I normally start checking after 25 minutes.  You want the top to be starting to crack, but the middle to still have a slight wobble.  This time, they ended up taking about 40 minutes.  Some of the caramel will bubble out the sides but that’s ok.

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Now use all your patience and willpower and leave the brownies to cool in the tin for about 6 hours, or preferably OVERNIGHT.  They may smell incredibly yummy and look very tasty, but these are so gooey they need a chance to set, and if you try to cut them right away they will fall apart.  So cover them with foil and try and forget about them.  When the waiting’s over you can cut them into about 15 squares and impress your friends.

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