Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sweet & Salty Brownies

Typically, I tend to leave my review of the recipes I try until the end of my post. But I am going to make an exception this time. I fear that if I don't make this adjustment you may get the wrong idea and not fully understand how much I am in love with these brownies.

They were killer! The sweet and salty combination is one of my favorites, and these rich, decadent bites left me wanting more. How can anyone resist luscious salted caramel baked right into a brownie? Not to mention they were not overly difficult to make and plated up beautifully. The adults in the group loved the twist on the traditional brownie, especially since many had never experienced the sweet and salty combination before. They were received fantastically well, and I will be using this recipe again and again.

Now, to the Thanksgiving Brownie Debacle of 2011...

Let me describe the scene for you. Dinner had concluded and it was time for my favorite part, dessert. A gaggle of kids had bellied up to the dessert table excited to see that someone (they don't care who) took pity on them and remembered they didn't like to eat vegetables for dessert. But, brownies? Score! Right!?

You should have seen it. It was hilarity in its purest form. I was occupied in the kitchen for a moment too long and thereby unable to warn the little munchkins before they descended like vultures onto the plate of brownies. I was unable to give them a heads up that they were not ordinary chewy, chocolaty bites of goodness, but rather adult brownies of the sweet and salty variety. 

I entered the room just in time to witness the sight of sheer disgust wash over their little faces followed by the simultaneous purging of chewed brownie. All of them groaning as if it was the worst thing they had ever tasted in their whole entire lives. Immediately, the vulgar descriptions began to fly. They ranged from "they taste like rotten eyeballs" and "these are so disgusting" to "Oh, man that tastes ugly". The perennial favorite in our family is "these tasted like butt-knocks," which is how my 4-year old says buttocks (don't even ask).

Once the contest of witty descriptions had concluded and the taste was erased from their mouths by giant glasses of milk, the kids demanded to know who made the brownies. They wanted to know who sold them out! I had to come clean as the traitor. It wasn't pretty, and I think I fell a few slots on their favorite Aunt list... let's not even get into my kids level of disgust.

Oh, well! More for us adults :)

Have a Sweet Day!
Jaime @ The Great Cake Company


Recipe adapted from Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito
Makes a 9-by-13-inch pan

For The Caramel
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon fleur de sel *(see note)
1/4 cup sour cream

In a medium sauce pan, combine sugar and corn syrup with 1/4 cup water, stirring together carefully so not to splash the sides of the pan.  Cook over high heat, until a thermometer reads 350-degrees, or the mixture is dark amber in color, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly add the cream (it will bubble up) and the fleur de sel. Whisk in the sour cream.  Set aside to cool. 

For The Brownie
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
11 ounces quality dark chocolate (60-72%), coarsely chopped
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light metal 9 x 13" pan.  Line the bottom with parchment paper, and butter the parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt and cocoa powder.

Place the chopped chocolate and butter in a bowl of a double boiler set over simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water.  Whisk in both sugars until completely combined.  Remove bowl from pan. It should be at room temperature.

Add three eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined.  Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined.  Add the vanilla and stir until incorporated.  Do not overbeat.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the top of the chocolate.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients until there is just a trace of the flour remaining.  
For The Topping 
1 and 1/2 tsp fleur de sel
1 tsp coarse sugar

Pour half of the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula.  Drizzle 3/4 cup of the caramel sauce over the batter in a zigzag pattern, trying to keep caramel away from the edges. Using an offset spatula, gently spread the caramel over the batter.  In heaping spoonfuls, scoop the remaining batter over the caramel layer. Smooth the brownie batter gently over the caramel.

Bake the brownies for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.  Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Remove the brownies from the oven and sprinkle with the fleur de sel and the coarse sugar.

Cool completely before serving and cutting.

The brownies can be stored at room temperature for up to 4 days.  


  1. What a funny story! I have been dying to make these because I love salty sweet too!

  2. I've had this experience with my little ones here...all that salty goodness does not always suit them...or very traditional palates that are only tuned into straight sugar. But, us adventurous types love this stuff and I find myself craving the salty sweet flavors. Bring on all the salted caramel possible...I've actually put this special treat right up there with my favorite why not put them together. Fantastic. I'll be baking these soon.


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