Friday, March 8, 2013

dark chocolate brownies with salted caramel + coconut

This week...


Well, I made brownies?


Ugly brownies, but delicious brownies nevertheless.  I made them for Wednesday night when my mom, Steph, and Hannah came over, and Steph cooked us all a wonderful dinner.  Two wonderful things in one day! : )


The rest of the week?  Well, thank goodness it's Friday.

These are a little more work than just plain brownies, but this homemade caramel sauce makes them "to die for;" it's my go-to caramel sauce whenever I feel like something needs caramel (exhibit a).

Do as I say, not as I did here, though:  I was about 3 tablespoons short of a cup of heavy cream, so I tried that "mix butter and whole milk together to get a heavy cream substitute" thing, and it made the caramel a teeny bit more liquidy than normal.  Oh, well.  They were still so good.

The coconut is optional, but it adds to the texture of the brownies, so I highly recommend it.


*brownies adapted from buns in my oven & salted caramel sauce adapted from kimberly taylor images*

INGREDIENTS

brownies
1 (1/2 cup) stick butter
1 1/8 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 plus 1/8 cup cocoa powder (use Hershey's special dark for the best brownies!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour

salted caramel sauce
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1 cup toasted coconut (tutorial here)

INSTRUCTIONS

Make the caramel sauce first:

  1. In a large saucepan, combine sugar, water, and corn syrup.  Heat over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes.
  2. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let set for 3 minutes.
  3. Remove lid after 3 minutes, then turn the heat up to medium-high.  Don't stir from here on out--only swish/swirl the liquid around!
  4. When the contents of the pan have turned an even golden-amber color (i.e. the color you want your final caramel to look like), remove the pot from the heat.  Let the contents cool for about 30 seconds or so, then pour in the heavy cream and stir it around  (note:  make sure you're using something heat-proof for this!).  The caramel will start to harden as you do this.
  5. Drop in the butter, kosher salt, and lemon juice, and stir until the butter is melted.  If you are struggling with hard caramel and un-melted butter, gently heat the pot again over medium heat, stirring until everything is even.
  6. Pour into a glass dish and let sit until ready to use.

Make the brownie batter:

  1. In a small saucepan, melt the stick of butter over medium-low heat.  Add in the sugar after the butter has melted and continue to heat while stirring.  Heat for another 2 to 3 minutes until a nice, thick, smooth butter-sugar mixture has formed.
  2. Pour the butter-sugar mixture into a mixing bowl or a stand mixer, and add in the cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and vanilla.  Stir to combine.
  3. Beat in both eggs.
  4. Incorporate the the flour; this will leave you with a very thick, spreadable batter.

Prepare & bake the brownies:

  1. Grease an 8-by-8-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray.  I didn't do this, but you might want to line with greased aluminum foil or parchment in order to more easily remove the brownies from the pan after they're baked.
  2. Use an offset spatula to spread the brownies into the pan.
  3. Combine the caramel sauce with the toasted coconut.  Pour this over the brownie batter.  Use a knife and/or your offset spatula to "swirl" it into the brownie batter.  This won't come out looking gorgeous necessarily, but it's not a big deal:  they taste good.
  4. Bake the brownies at 350 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes or until the brownies look set.  Don't try to cake test it, as these are very moist & gooey brownies, so the cake tester won't come out clean.
  5. Let cool before slicing & serving.  Store in an airtight container.

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