Friday, September 16, 2011

Salted Caramel Brownies

Salted Caramel Brownies
Last week I had a wonderful birthday lunch in La Jolla with my friend Sapna. Sapna and I went to high school together, but we don’t get to see each other as often as either of us would like anymore. She was living in San Diego for college and med school, but is spending this year in NYC to do some research. Lucky for me, she’s in town for a week for a wedding and a conference and I get to hang out with her! She took me to Prepkitchen in La Jolla for lunch and wouldn’t let me pay on account that we were celebrating my birthday. Being the amazing person that she is, Sapna insisted on dessert and ordered the Salted Caramel Brownie. Oh. My. God. It was one of the most incredible things I have ever had. I can still taste the warm, fudgy brownie, the ooey gooey caramel, and the crunchy pecans. How amazing does that sound?? 

Anyway, a few days later I came down with strep throat and was lying miserably in bed (this was before I ended up in the hospital…long story). I decided that I needed something to cheer me up, so I started researching salted caramel brownies. Nothing fit the bill like the one from Prepkitchen. On a whim, I searched for the Prepkitchen recipe and FOUND it‼ By the grace of God, someone asked the San Diego Union-Tribune to coax the recipe out of Prepkitchen for these decadent brownies and the UT was successful.

Now that I am on the mend from being sick, I decided to test out this recipe. It’s not exactly an easy one. There is a lot of “hurry up and wait.” Kinda like being in a hospital. Haha. :) First you have to melt the bittersweet chocolate and butter together in a double boiler. And then the chocolate has to cool to room temperature. When making the brownie batter, you wait for it to get thick and “holds a ribbon with the whip” of the electric mixture. I have no idea what that means, and mine certainly wasn’t very ribbon like, although it was thick. You’ll have to see the pictures to really understand what I mean. Once the brownies were done, you have to wait to until they cool completely to even start making the caramel. Then you have to wait for the corn syrup and sugar to turn a rich amber color. More waiting. And then if that all wasn’t enough, you have to wait at least 30 minutes while the caramel sets on the brownies in the fridge. I tell you, its torture.

As a SF Giant’s fan, I am used to the torture. ;) And the waiting gave me a chance to wash dishes and do laundry. So I guess it wasn’t all bad. Just don’t expect to quickly whip up this treat. It legitimately takes all day. But it’s worth it, I promise you. I even did a teaser Facebook status about this post because I knew they were going to be so incredible. So, this post is worth the time. It’s been a while since I posted—baking is expensive when you are unemployed AND I broke my camera…sigh—but I am bake with a great recipe. I’ve got a few other things that I’ve made this summer waiting to be written about, but this one trumps both of them. I hope you enjoy this incredible Salted Caramel Brownie‼

Salted Caramel Brownies

For the brownies:
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) butter
3 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
5 large eggs
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9-by-13-inch pan that has been prepared with parchment paper.
I used the chip clips to hold the parchment paper in place.
Once I poured the batter in, I could release the clips and trim the paper.
Combine butter and chocolate in small heatproof bowl and use a double boiler on medium heat until melted. Set aside until room temperature.
I don't actually own a double boiler, but a heatproof bowl and a pot work just as well. :)
Melt and stir until smooth, then let it come down to room temperature.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, combine eggs, brown sugar, salt and vanilla. Whip on high until mixture is thick and holds a ribbon with the whip.

The start of some amazing brownie batter. :)
This didn't exactly scream "ribbon" to me, but it was definitely thick.

Take bowl off mixer and pour in chocolate and sift flour over mixture. Gently fold mixture with a spatula.
Note: as the chocolate gets poured into the batter, it sinks to the bottom of the bowl.
Sift the flour directly into the bowl.
Fold everything together gently, remembering to mix in the chocolate that sank to the bottom.
Spread into pan and bake about 25 to 30 minutes. Brownies will still be fudgy, but the top should be shiny and cracked. Cool completely in pan.

It's really thick batter, but it cooks really evenly.
And the parchment paper was an inspired idea on my end. You'll see why later...
25 minutes later and it really does come out shiny and cracked. Amazing!!
Now it just has to cool completely...torture!!
For salted caramel layer:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted
1 tablespoon sea salt

In a medium-sized saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup, and just enough water (approximately 3 tablespoons) to make the mixture the consistency of wet sand. Wipe down the insides of the pan with a wet brush so that no granules of sugar remain.

Wet sand really is the best way to describe the consistency of this mixture. Way to go, Prepkitchen. :)
Cook this mixture over high heat until it is a deep amber color.
It starts as a nice white color.

Then transitions to a lovely shade of light yellow.
Now it's a light amber color. Almost there.
This is what I considered a deep amber color, although I worry that it might have been a little too dark/overcooked.
Immediately take off heat and slowly pour cream in (mixture will bubble and expand vigorously, so use caution). Add vanilla extract and salt. Add pecans and stir to coat with caramel. Immediately pour over brownies.

You've got to act quick with caramel, so there was no time to take pictures of each step! But doesn't it look devine??
Refrigerate brownies for 30 minutes so that the caramel firms up. Use a serrated knife cut.
Seriously. I'm so proud of these brownies. Don't you just want to dive in??
I had a lot of fun taking pictures of the individual brownies with my new camera.

A perfect Salted Caramel Brownie. :)
This recipe was adapted from Prepkitchen’s Fudge Brownies with Salted Caramel and Pecans, as reported in the San Diego Union Tribune.

Thanks so much for stopping by‼
<3 Buttercup

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