Salted caramel brownies are a sweet treat that dessert dreams are made of!
Nearly two years ago, when my blog was barely out of the embryonic stage, I posted a recipe that I absolutely adore for Salted Caramel Brownies. Back in the day, I really had absolutely no idea how to be a proper blogger, nor anything about food photography.
Random Comfortably Domestic Trivia: I took all photos posted on my blog in the first year with my Blackberry phone. I had no idea that photos could be composed or edited, or why that would matter.
What I do (and did) know is that I am passionate about my recipes, wanting to share them with anyone that will take the time to read them.
I’m a little more lucid on the matters of food photography today, but I still have a long, long way to go. I’ve made this particular recipe dozens of times since the initial appearance on the blog, and this weekend, I decided to re-shoot a few of the pictures. Just for kicks. Let’s take a peek and compare:
It’s not pretty, folks–dramatically over exposed, anemically unnatural coloring, with no composition at all. Blech!
From Blech! to Appetizing–softer, more natural lighting, movement of the caramel, better coloring. I’m getting there… 🙂
Since making these Salted Caramel Brownies again, I’m obsessing about them the way I did when I first posted the recipe–they are incredible!
The recipe has evolved, which is reflected in the printable. Seeing as the only people reading my blog at the time that the brownies were posted the first time were my parents and Bacon Slayer, I thought I would re-post it.
Thanks for walking down Memory Lane with me!
It’s been a baking kind of week at my house. I say that as if there is ever a non-baking kind of week. Which there isn’t. Ever. Baking makes my world go ’round. This week I made a Yankee Sheet Cake, 48 cupcakes (which I gave away), and these salted caramel brownies:
I think I hear angels singing. Do you see the caramel oozing down the side of the brownie? I read Pioneer Woman’s post about a box filled with a variety of pastries that she was given as a gift. By the way, is that not just the perfect gift? Nothing says I care like a big ol’ box of pastry goodness.
Among the gifted goodies was a salted caramel brownie. And I’ve been thinking about them (read: obsessed) ever since!
About brownies. And caramel. And salt.
I just had to take a crack at it. I have a recipe that I came up awhile back for a Super Fudgy Brownie, which I love. So I figured with a little tweaking, I could coax them into a base brownie to support the gooey caramel, while still keeping their dense, soft and fudge-like texture. I did it. And then I gave away most of them so as not to add too many of them to my waistline. They’ve gotten rave reviews! (The brownies, not my waistline.) They are the perfect blend of salty and sweet, gooey and fudgy.
These salted caramel brownies are a force to be reckoned with!
The first time I realized that you could make caramel was eye opening. I always thought that you had to buy it in a jar from a store. When I was a newlywed, making a cheesecake for a dinner with friends, I dreamed of it atop a bed of caramel sauce. Well, once I looked up a caramel recipe and saw how unbelievably simple it was, I was sure that there had to be some kind of trick to it. Nope.
Making caramel is just as easy as it looks, taking all of 6 minutes to make.
The result is warm, gooey, buttery and wonderful. I felt like a culinary genius – like Julia Child. After mastering the art of caramel making, I just knew that I would one day own a quaint little pastry shop in the big city. People would come from miles around to sample my caramel sauce.
Or I would move Up North, birth four sons, and be a wife and mother. The two ideas are very closely related. Bottom line: I get a bit carried away when dessert in involved. But I digress. I do that.
Back to the salted caramel brownies!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and lightly spray a 13x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray; set it aside.
Then take a small saucepan add the butter, and both sugars. Melt over medium-low heat, stirring constantly.
Bring the mixture to boiling. Good things are starting to happen here–See how caramel-y it’s looking already?
Stir in the heavy cream, and return the mixture to a boil.
The caramel is going to boil pretty high up the side of the pan. This is normal. Allow the caramel to boil for 2 minutes; stirring constantly so that it doesn’t boil over or scorch the bottom of the pan. Scorched caramel = bad. If you’re like me and get easily distracted, set a timer so as you will not be tempted to multi-task.
Turn off the heat and stir in the salt.
See? Salted caramel is made in 8 minutes, tops!
Let it cool completely so that caramel and salt can get to know each other. While the caramel and salt are becoming BFFs, make the brownies.
Place the flour, cocoa powder and salt in to a large bowl, and whisk it together.
Whisking the dry ingredients will simultaneously fluff them up a bit, and combine them. I don’t sift anything–ever–it’s just a policy of mine. Set this bowl aside for a few minutes while we tend to the wet ingredients.
Put the butter, brown sugar in a large saucepan, over medium-heat. Whisk it constantly as it heats, to keep the butter incorporated while the sugar dissolves. Do not allow the mixture to boil, or the butter may separate, and you’ll be hard pressed to get it back together again.
At this point, it looks a lot like the caramel we just made, because well, at this point, it is caramel. This is what is going to make the brownies ooey-gooey.
Dip a spoon in the mixture and take a look at the soon-to-be-brownies-caramel. It should look pretty smooth, with only a few sugar granules. If it looks super sandy, heat and stir it for another minute or two. Don’t freak out on me–this is easy stuff. This whole process takes about 6-7 minutes.
Turn off the heat, and add the chocolate chips, whisking until chocolate is melted and smooth.
I could seriously take a bath in that. Seriously.
Add the melted-chocolate-caramel-y mixture to the dry ingredients, and whisk until it is well incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring until just combined. Stir in the vanilla.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 25-28 minutes, or until the center is just set. The top should be glossy, but not dried-out or cracked. Remove from oven, and cool completely.
See? Shiny. Glossy. Lovely. Allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting.
Once completely cool, cut the brownies into 24 squares.
The Not-So-Secret key to cutting salted caramel brownies = a plastic knife!
The plastic is a very poor conductor of heat, and is very slippery so it doesn’t end up leaving the usual clumpy, crumbly trough wherever you cut–even if you couldn’t possibly wait until the brownies were totally cool before cutting them.
Now it’s time for the fun part! Pour the cooled salted-caramel sauce on top of the cooled brownies.
Remember:cool on cool. Lightly spread the caramel to the edges of the brownies. Let it all sit and get happy together for a few minutes. Then dig in with a
fork spatula and eat it right out of the pan serve one on a plate.
See how the caramel not-so-delicately oozes over the brownie? That’s the stuff dreams (read: obsessions) are made of.
The result is a salty, sweet, buttery, chocolaty wonder.