Must Try: Salted Caramel Dark Cocoa Brownies

This week we were in snowverload mode and to get through it, I needed comfort.

Plus, I got switched to the night shift and that left me with plenty of time in the morning to whip up something.

While I was on the elliptical I started reading caramel brownie recipes. Aren’t you supposed to think about dessert while exercising?

I wasn’t in the mood to make caramel from scratch.

This recipe seemed to be the easiest.

Here’s what you need:
1 1/2 cups (3/4 lb.) butter
3 cups sugar
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
14 ounces (40 to 50) square caramel candies

A couple of notes:

I about had a heart attack (literally) after noticing that this recipe called for 3 sticks of butter, 3 cups of sugar, and 5 eggs. The only consolation is that this makes a 9×13 pan, whereas most brownie recipes make a 9×9.

I used dark cocoa instead of the regular cocoa powder. I did this because I figured it would cut back on the richness and sweetness of all that sugar and caramel. I was right.

I used 20 unwrapped caramels and cut them into fourths. You get more bang for your buck.

I sprinkled on some fleur de sel. I love salted caramel and again, the salt cuts down on the sweetness.

I used non-stick foil. I love this stuff. Get it!

Now for the directions:
In a 3- to 4-quart pan over medium-high heat, melt butter, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir in sugar, then eggs and vanilla, until blended. Stir in salt and baking powder. Add flour and cocoa and stir until batter is smooth.

Butter a 12- by 20-inch piece of foil. Line a 9- by 13-inch pan with foil, buttered side up, letting foil hang over pan ends. Scrape batter into pan. Evenly space caramels over batter.

Bake brownies in a 325° oven just until a toothpick inserted in the center (not in a caramel) comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool.

Lift brownies with foil from pan to a counter. Peel back sides of foil. With a long, hot knife, cut between caramels into 35 squares; occasionally rinse knife in very hot water and wipe clean.

When warm, these are gooey and wonderful.

When cooled, these are cakey and slightly chewy.

This is a masterpiece of a recipe!

Tip: For a real treat, microwave one of the brownies for 15-20 seconds and top with vanilla ice cream.


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