If there ever was a brownie recipe showdown, this is going to be the one to give all the other recipes out there a run for their money. Dark, rich, moist and fudgey, this classic brownie is a killer on its own. But with oozy salted caramel and flecks of crunchy sea salt over top, it is simply out-of-this-world.
For my family’s weekly spelt crepe breakfast, I had made a batch of salted caramel. This is my five-year old son’s favourite sauce, and he asks for it on bread, bananas, pancakes, waffles, and recently, he has started enjoying it spooned directly into his mouth. Despite having put away a significant bit of salted caramel over a few days, I still had some left over. So one night, I started to think of the possible pairings with it and a dense brownie was the first thing that came to mind. I went to sleep dreaming of dark chocolate, and straight after breakfast the next morning, I took out my trusted brownie recipe and got baking.
I am a little ashamed to say that I had eaten my way through almost half of the tray, with nary a consideration for anyone else to taste it. For about half a day, my world revolved around cutting out one-inch squares and popping them into my mouth when I walked past the container (I would have a compelling reason to pass by every 10-minutes or so). Finally, with a belly full of brownie, and a heart full of generosity, I graciously offered a diet portion of salted caramel goodness to the hubby. He too, agreed that it is one of the best brownie bites he has taken in a long time, albeit small.
¾ cup sugar
6 tbsp (90g) butter, cubed
½ cup heavy cream
1 tsp coarse sea salt
In a heavy saucepan, spread sugar even on bottom, and turn heat on medium. Let sugar dissolve, stirring occasionally.
After about 5-min, it will turn a dark amber. Add the cubed butter in at this point. Whisking till smooth. Watching out for spitting molten sugar.
Add the heavy cream and let the mixture bubble for a minute.
Turn the heat off, and stir in the coarse salt. Cool completely before storing in fridge for up to two weeks.
115g unsalted butter
150g dark chocolate (I use 70% cocoa)
1 tsp instant coffee
2 tbsp cocoa powder
½ cup sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup plain flour, sifted
½ tsp coarse salt
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Prepare an 8-inch square tin by buttering the sides and lining the base and sides with a large piece of parchment paper, letting the parchment come all the way to the top, and hang over the tin.
In a medium-sized pot, over a low heat, melt butter and dark chocolate, whisking gently as you go along.
When butter and chocolate are melted, whisk in the instant coffee and cocoa powder. Whisk in the sugars, and vanilla.
Add eggs, one at a time, whisking well.
Tip in the flour and coarse salt. Mix until batter is smooth.
Bake for 25-min. It is ok if the centre still seems quite soft. Do not over-bake. If a toothpick comes out with crumbs sticking to it, it’s done. Let rest for 5-min.
Using a toothpick, poke holes all over the brownie, 1-inch apart. Generously spoon over the salted caramel to cover the brownie entirely. If your salted caramel just came out of the fridge, zap it in the microwave for 10-seconds first, to make it spreadable.
Finally, sprinkle over a big pinch of coarse sea salt and leave to cool completely in tin.
Lift the brownie out of the tin using the parchment, peel off the sides and cut into 9 squares. Relish!