Tuesday, February 1, 2011

sweet and salty brownies.

These are the fudgiest brownies I have ever eaten. I swear.


And they're dense and chewy and just pure brownie nirvana. I had to have two- one straight out of the fridge and one at room temperature. I have to say I like my brownies cold and firm, somewhat like a chocolate bar, but only softer.

Chocolate and caramel may seem like a sugar bomb, but that's what you think. The caramel was cooked to a dark brown and lightly salted so what you have left is a sauce so darn good I ate it straight from the spoon. And doused my brownies with whatever remainder I had left.


Believe it or not, I didn't find it sweet enough for me. I actually found myself wondering if I should have added some white chocolate chips. Now that's an idea! Next time, I would just stop cooking the caramel when it's a light brown, so that it retains some of its sweetness.


But is it the best brownie? Nah, but it's close enough. My absolute-number-1-favourite-that-is-100%-to-die-for brownie recipe is Alice Medrich's Best Cocoa Brownies.

Sweet & Salty Brownie
from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented

Caramel:
1 c. sugar
2 TBSP light corn syrup
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 tsp fleur de sel
1/4 c. sour cream

Brownie:
1 and 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp dark cocoa powder
11 oz. quality dark chocolate (60-72%), coarsely chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 & 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla

Topping:
some fleur de sel
some coarse sugar


Make the Caramel:
In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/4 c. water, stirring together carefully so you don't splash the sides of the pan.  Cook over high heat, until a thermometer reads 350 degrees and is dark amber in color. 
Remove from the heat and slowly add the cream (it will bubble up).  Then add the fleur de sel.  Whisk in the sour cream.  Set aside to cool.


Make the Brownie:
Preheat oven to 350.  Butter the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13" pan.  Line the bottom with parchment paper.  Butter the parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt and cocoa powder.

Place the chopped chocolate and butter in a bowl over simmering water
Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water.  Whisk in both sugars until completely combined.  Removed bowl from pan.

Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined.  Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined.  Add the vanilla and stir until incorporated.  Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.

Add the flour mixture.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients until there is just a trace of the flour mixture remaining.

Assemble:
Pour half of the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula.  Drizzle and 3/4 cup of the caramel sauce (not all of it) over the batter, trying to stay away from the edges. Gently spread the caramel sauce evenly.  In heaping spoonfuls, scoop the remaining batter over the caramel layer. Smooth the brownie batter gently over the caramel.

Bake the brownies for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.  Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Remove the brownies from the oven and sprinkle with the fleur de sel and the coarse sugar. *I recommend them chilled!




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