As you may of may not know, it is still National Chocolate Week…what a wonderful name for a ‘week’. What could be better than a chocolate week? Anyway…this wondrous ‘week’ gave me a marvellous excuse to try out some chocolate recipes I’ve had my eye on.
One recipe I was desperate to try out was for a salted caramel brownie. I am lucky to work within walking distance of one of London’s top artisan chocolateries, Paul A Young. A couple of weeks ago I found myself walking past his shop on Wardour Street, Soho (I always seem to find myself outside his shop….) and found myself pushing the door open, entering and then leaving minutes later £12 worse off with a slice of billionaire salted caramel shortbread and a sea salted caramel pecan brownie in my bag.
They were, in a word, divine. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them since. I wanted to try and make them for myself because, as beautiful as they are, my bank account doesn’t support daily lunchtime trips into Paul’s shop!
So I searched online and found that one of my favourite food blogs, the wonderful Poire au Chocolat had adapted a recipe for Paul’s brownies to make it into a salted caramel brownie, which you can see here. You will notice that her post looks so much more stylish and elegant than mine so for visual pleasure, its probably best to look at her post. But should you need step by step photos, I’m your girl!
In Emma’s blog post you will see that she sprinkles a handful of cocoa nibs over the mixture before it goes into the oven. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find cocoa nibs so I left that feature out. I also didn’t have a 20x20cm square tin. The nearest I have is a 20x25cm so I had to use that instead which resulted in my brownies being a little on the ‘short’ side. I’m beginning to think I should buy that adjustable cake tin from Lakeland. Any excuse!
Also, comparing my photos to Emma’s, it looks like I may have over-baked my brownies as hers look a lot more luscious and moist then mine. My caramel appears to have collapsed into my chocolate mixture! Regardless of this, they still tasted damn good. Velvety smooth, unbelievably rich and utterly sublime.
I took these into work yesterday and my friend Jordan ate 3 of them. Maybe 4…I’m not sure if he began to lie… I started getting emails from him. “I’m a little disappointed. Maybe I’ll have another brownie”… “Today is getting stressful, I may go under my desk with the rest of the brownies.” A few of the girls found them a little rich, luckily Jordan was on hand to save the day. I got 24 squares out of this mixture. I think they’re too rich to make the squares any bigger. Please have a go at making these, it really is worth it.
For the caramel:
75g white caster sugar
50ml double cream
10g unsalted butter
1/8 tsp fleur de sel/good sea salt
For the brownie:
100g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
100g light brown sugar
75g golden syrup
275g quality 70% dark chocolate
70g plain flour
Start by making the caramel. Tip the sugar into a large heavy-bottomed pan in an even layer and place over medium-high heat. Wait until the edges start to liquify then gently start to move the sugar around onto the wet spots to try and get it to melt evenly – don’t stir it.
Don’t worry if it starts to clump a little, it will melt down later. Keep gently moving the unmelted sugar into the liquid bits until you just have a liquid.
Keep cooking until it reaches a deep golden-bronze, almost the colour of a penny.
Immediately take off the heat and whisk in about 1/3 of the cream to stop the caramel cooking. Keep pouring and whisking until all the cream is incorporated.
Add the butter and the salt and stir until smooth. Pour into a bowl to cool. It should pour easily in thin ribbons.
Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F. Line a 20x20cm tin (at least 2.5cm tall) with baking parchment. Get another large saucepan and add the butter, caster sugar, brown sugar and syrup.
Heat gently until everything is melted together then beat until smooth.
Take off the heat then add all the chocolate.
Stir until melted and uniform. This should only take a few minutes. Lightly whisk the eggs in a small bowl then incorporate them into the mix. Finally add the flour and beat thoroughly until very smooth.
Pour into the prepared tin.
By now your caramel should be wonderfully thick. Drop large dollops of the caramel over the chocolate mixture then use a knife to lightly swirl it through.
Bake for 20 minutes then take out and leave to cool.
Once cool, put into the fridge overnight. When you are ready to slice it up, use a sharp knife dipped into hot water and cleaned between each cut.
Serve these any way you wish…cold from the fridge, at room temperature when they’re nice and squidgy, or warmed in the oven and served with a scoop of ice cream, its entirely up to you.
So I didn’t spend the rest of the week in a chocolate stupor, I decided to pop half the squares into the freezer. Brownies always freeze very well and I always like to have a chocolate stash in the freezer for emergencies.