The weirdest thing happened the other day. Last Friday I posted about how hard homemade caramel is and how many times it’s been a disaster for me. But somehow, miraculously, that afternoon I DID IT.
Just golden, scrumptious, smooth, beautiful caramel.
[Insert kitchen happy dance here]
I was looking for a brownie recipe to make for a night with friends, and like usual, I was drawn to the one with caramel (I can’t help that I loooove caramel!!!). Salted caramel brownies to be exact, curtesy of Smitten Kitchen.
I thought about passing the recipe over for another one (sans caramel) but it was early enough in the day that I thought I’d give it a shot since I had time to toss everything and start over.
And even though I didn’t let them cool long enough so that they were a big gooey mess, they were a hit!
On Saturday, I was heading to a friends ranch for the night and had offered to bring dessert, so to see if Friday’s success was a fluke, I decided to try again…and it wasn’t! I did it again!!!
While I’m sure there will be many more caramel attempts that I ruin, and each time I will learn something new, for now I will celebrate by sharing the recipe with you, and the tricks that I think helped me succeed.
Salted Caramel Brownies (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tbsp butter
Heaped 1/4 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Heaped 1/4 tsp sea salt
2/3 cup all purpose flour
To make caramel:
Place parchment paper on a medium sized plate and grease the paper with butter or cooking spray.
Heat medium sauce pan or frying pan (I used a non-stick pan) to medium high heat. I used 6 on my dial and I really think that this is where the difference from all the other failures lies. Spread sugar throughout pan, shaking the pan to spread evenly.
Give it at least three minutes before you step back to it. At this point you should see it turning into brown liquid. Shake the pan around again to re-spread the sugar. Once the sugar has really started melting, gently and sparingly use a spatula to mix in the remaining sugar until it has all melted into a golden brown liquid. Over stirring is a major cause of screw up for me.
Remove from heat and stir in butter and salt. It will bubble up so make sure you don’t get sprayed by the hot liquid. Stir until the butter is mostly incorporated (however this may be tough so don’t worry too much). Add cream, stirring again and return it to the stove to medium high heat (I just leave my burner on because adding the butter/cream only takes a minute). Bring it back to a simmer, stirring to incorporate all of the butter and cream. Cook for a few minutes more until it is a shade darker.
Pour over parchment, spreading around a bit, and then place in the freezer. Freeze until solidified which takes at least 20 minutes, but the longer you leave it in, the harder the caramel will be and the less it will melt in the brownies.
To review: the two keys that meant success for me this time were melting the sugar at a 6 (medium high heat) and really.resisting.stirring.
To make brownie:
Pre-heat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
In a simmering double boiler, melt chocolate and butter until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar, then eggs (one at a time) then vanilla and salt. Stir in flour with a spatula.
Line a 8×8 inch pan with greased parchment paper.
Once caramel is nice and frozen, remove from freezer and chop into smallish pieces. Put about 3/4 of pieces into the brownie batter and gently mix in. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place remaining caramels on top of batter and bake for 30 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean.
Cool thoroughly, or not, depending on if you want brownies that will cut well or if you are happy with gooey, messy brownies. Your call! They are both delicious.
Enjoy! And then enjoy a few more to reward yourself for nailing caramel. Or to reward yourself for attempting caramel (even if you blew it).