Ok, so perhaps 2 brownie recipes when I only 30 recipes total is a little excessive. So be it. These brownies were made for date-night-at-home. We're watching the king's speech and having some red wine. Chocolate and red wine go great together!
These brownies are impossibly fudgy, with a thin layer of caramel in the middle. The topping is salt and fleur de sel, and does brush off easily if the salt is too much for you. I love that the coarse salt and sugar are indistinguishable by sight- it keeps things unexpected. If you've never used black cocoa, I love it (comparison photo to hershey's dark). It adds a big depth of chocolate flavor. These brownies were very rich- the caramel is not distinct, but adds complexity to the brownie.
I also like their caramel recipe a lot- the corn syrup helps prevent the caramel from seizing. Seized caramel is messy and nasty, so anything we can do to avoid it, I'm a fan.
Sweet & Salty Brownie
adapted from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented
1 c. sugar
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 tsp fleur de sel
1/4 c. sour cream
1 and 1/4 c. flour (6 3/4 oz)
1 tsp. salt
2 TBSP dark cocoa powder (I used 1 tbsp Hershey's dark and 1 tbsp black cocoa)
11 oz. quality dark chocolate (60-72%), coarsely chopped (chips are fine)
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 & 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla (vanilla bean crush)
1 and 1/2 tsp fleur de sel
1 tsp coarse sugar
Make the Caramel:
In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/4 c. water, stirring together carefully so you don't splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat, until a thermometer reads 350 degrees and is dark amber in color.
Remove from the heat and slowly add the cream (it will bubble up). Then add the fleur de sel. Whisk in the sour cream. Set aside to cool.
Make the Brownie:
Preheat oven to 350. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13" pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Spray parchment with baker's joy.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt and cocoa powder.
Place the chopped chocolate and butter in a makeshift or real double boiler.
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.
Add 3 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 the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
Add the flour mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients until there is just a trace of the flour mixture remaining.
Pour half of the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Drizzle and 3/4 cup of the caramel sauce over the batter, trying to stay away from the edges. Gently spread the caramel sauce evenly with an offseet spatula, if you have it. 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 store well wrapped in the fridge (preference, not safety).