Truth be told, I’ve never been a great admirer of brownies. Maybe that’s why I’ve been selfishly skimming over every brownie recipe to ever grace my path. But then, these Salted Caramel-Filled Fudge Brownies came along. The key word here is “salted caramel,” Adrian’s favorite. Hence, I was mildly intrigued and hugely tempted to give them a whirl and I instantly knew my husband would truly appreciate my change of heart. What would I have to lose after all – his sweet tooth would be fed and my curiosity satisfied when it came to brownies and especially this atypical salted caramel-sandwich-like-specimen.
Since tonight is Halloween, I totally understand if making these brownies for this celebration is a challenge. But they can easily be whipped up for Thanksgiving or Christmas or any other non-celebratory occasion that comes to mind. In fact, they’re the perfect midweek sweet treat if you’re to ask me!
These Salted Caramel-Filled Fudge Brownies are crackly on top, fudgy and soft with the right amount of toasty crunch inside, and gooey and blissfully sticky when your teeth hit the sandwiched caramel in the middle. They will melt on your tongue and leave a trail of sweet and salty goodness behind. To be honest, chemistry was never my forte but I find it rather fascinating how this deep amber liquid springs to life in about twenty minutes. Not to mention the way it acts as the glue that keeps together the two buttery chocolate brownies. However, I won’t hold it against you if you decide to forgo the salted caramel and just enjoy these fudgy brownies on their own.
These sweet treats are a take on the popular caramel-filled brownies that you may find at Bad Brownie in London. Good thing I don’t have to fly all the way across the pond for a bite, although I’d love to give them a try someday soon. Until then, these brownies are definitely a feast! Enjoy and Happy Halloween!
Salted Caramel-Filled Fudge Brownies
Adapted from Food & Wine (June 2015)
Makes: 10-12 brownies
· 1 ¼ cups sugar
· 3 Tablespoons water
· ¾ cup heavy cream
· 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
· 1 ½ teaspoons flaky sea salt
· 2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
· 10 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
· 1 ½ cups sugar
· ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
· 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
· ½ teaspoon kosher salt
· 3 large eggs, chilled
· 1 cup all-purpose flour
· ½ cup roasted pistachios (optional)
Instructions for the caramel:
In a medium saucepan, cook the sugar with the water over moderate heat, swirling the pan frequently, until a dark amber caramel forms, about 18-20 minutes. Slowly drizzle in the cream, then whisk in the butter and sea salt. Transfer the caramel to a small bowl and refrigerate until thickened, about 2 hours.
Instructions for the brownies:
Preheat the oven to 325° F. Lightly butter a 9-by-13 inch metal baking pan.
Melt the 2 sticks of butter in a heatproof medium bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water. Add the chopped chocolate, the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt and stir until smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the eggs one at a time. Whisk well after each one. Add the flour and stir until just incorporated. If you are using the roasted pistachios, this is the time to gently fold them in.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake the brownies for 35-40 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Check the brownies after 35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool completely.
Invert the brownies onto a cutting board and cut in half to form 2 rectangles. Spread the chilled caramel over 1 rectangle, then top with the other rectangle. Cut into 10-12 bars and serve immediately.
Note: The caramel can be refrigerated for 2 weeks. The brownies can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.
Poftă Bună! (Bon Appétit!)