In her book Caramel, Carole Bloom calls these Caramel Layered Dark Chocolate Brownies. Simple calling these Decadent Chocolate Brownies might have been a tad more accurate. These are exceptional. And I do bet you can just eat one.
Do not make these if you need to sleep sometime in the next eight hours. I know. I personally know.
But I did get to binge on a TV series, so it all worked out. Deliciously. Decadently.
Dark Chocolate Brownies
Yield: 25 brownies
Ingredients and tools:
For the brownies:
- 1 8-inch square baking pan
- Nonstick baking spray
- 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 12 tablespoons (6 ounces, 1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
- ¾ cup (5 ounces) superfine sugar
- ¾ cup (4 ½ ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (4 ½ ounces) all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher or fine-grained sea salt
For the caramel:
1 recipe Classic Caramel Sauce, chilled
For the bittersweet chocolate ganache topping:
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (64 to 72% cacao content), finely chopped
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
For the brownies:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Un e the baking pan with aluminum foil, letting it hang about two inches over the sides. Coat the inside of the foil with nonstick baking spray.
Place both chocolates and the butter together in the top of a double boiler over low heat. Stir often with a rubber spatula to help melt evenly. Remove the top pan of the double boiler and wipe the bottom and sides. Or place the chocolates and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and melt on low power for 30-second bursts. with a rubber spatula after each burst to make sure it's melting. Let the mixture cool while mixing the rest of the brownie batter. Stir with a rubber spatula occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on top.
Whip the eggs and egg yolk in the bowl of an electric stand mixer using the wire whip attachment, or in a bowl using a hand-held mixer, until frothy, about 1 minute.
Add the sugars to the eggs and whip together until the mixture is very thick and pale colored and holds a I slowly dissolving ribbon as the beater is lifted, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and stir to blend well.
Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and blend completely on low speed. Stop and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with the rubber spatula. The mixture will be smooth and dark chocolate colored.
In a medium bowl, sift the flour and cocoa powder together. Add the salt and stir to combine.
In 3 stages, add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture, blending well after each addition. Stop and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to help mix evenly.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use a rubber spatula to spread it evenly. Bake for 35 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out with slightly moist crumbs clinging to it. Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely on a rack.
For the caramel:
Stir the caramel sauce until it is smooth. Pour it on top of the cooled brownies and spread into the corners using a small offset spatula. Chill in the freezer for 30 minutes to set the caramel.
For the bittersweet chocolate ganache:
Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until bubbles form around the edges. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand for 30 seconds. Stir the cream and chocolate together with a heat-resistant spatula until completely melted and smooth.
Remove the pan of brownies from the freezer. Pour the ganache over the top of the caramel layer and spread it out evenly into the corners using a small offset spatula. Chill the brownies in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to set the ganache.
Completion, storage and changes:
Lift the brownies from the pan using the edges of the aluminum foil then peel the foil away from the brownies. Use a large knife to cut the brownies into 5 rows in each direction. Dip the knife in hot water and dry between cuts. Gently separate the brownies and serve at room temperature.
Store the brownies without the topping between layers of waxed paper in an airtight plastic container, at room temperature, for up to 4 days. To freeze for up to 4 months, wrap the container tightly in several layers of plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Label and date the package. If frozen, defrost overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.
Store the brownies with the topping loosely covered with waxed paper and tightly covered with aluminum foil, at room temperature, for up to 3 days.
You can 1 cup roughly chopped nuts to the batter before pouring into the pan to bake. Be sure to mix the nuts in thoroughly.
Classic Caramel Sauce
Yield: 1 cup
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Bring the cream to a boil in a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat.
Cook the sugar, water, and honey in a 3-quart heavy-duty saucepan over high heat until the mixture comes to ail. Brush around the inside of the pan with a damp pastry brush at the point where the sugar syrup meets the sides of the pan. Do this twice during the cooking process to prevent the sugar from crystallizing. Cook the pure over high heat, without stirring, until it turns amber colored, 6-8 minutes.
Lower the heat to medium and slowly add the hot cream to the sugar mixture while stirring constantly. The cream will bubble and foam. Continue stirring to make sure there are no lumps. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the butter until it is completely melted. Then stir in the vanilla.
Transfer the caramel sauce to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, cool slightly and server warm — if using immediately.
If cooling and storing for the brownies, store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Cautiously warm in a microwave or the top of a double boiler until fluid before using.
Source: Caramel by Carole Bloom [Gibbs Smith, 2013]