Thursday, February 7, 2013

Salted Caramel Brownies (& caramels to spare)

The moment I read this recipe (this morning), from Smitten Kitchen, I knew what I was making today.  I am not an organized blogger; I don't have a compiled 'drafts' list waiting for me to publish.  As I make things I take notes & pictures, then I write it up.  So again, when I saw this recipe I just had to try it.

I did only make half of the brownie recipe, I didn't think S & I needed a full batch of brownies (although he would beg to differ), but I did make the full caramel recipe.  My thought was I would use half of the caramels for the brownies, and chocolate cover the rest for a treat later on....say for, perhaps, Valentine's Day?  I don't know if they'll make it to then...but that's the plan.

Sounds good on paper, right?  Well, I had few issues.  According to the website, once the caramel was prepared, it was to be chilled for 20 minutes (if you have a decent freezer) and up to 40 minutes (if you have a terrible freezer).  My caramel didn't set up as well as it should have.  As quick as I was to blame my appliance, I had to come to the conclusion that I did not cook it long enough once I added the butter, cream, and salt.  It did darken in color, but I should have let it go another minute.  Lesson learned. 

I attempted to cut out heart-shaped caramels.  Success rate:  80% (I ate the other 20%).  The caramel was soft; somewhere between caramel sauce and soft caramels, but I was going with it anyhow.

The brownies were prepared, I folded in globs of caramel and hoped for the best.  Seeing how I hacked the recipe down, I used a 6" mini pizza pan, greased and lined with parchment paper.

While the brownies were in the oven, I melted about 1/3 c of chocolate chips over a double boiler.  What stared out as heart-ish shaped caramels, soon turned into chocolate covered globs.  But hey, they are nevertheless homemade, nevertheless salted caramel, and nevertheless covered in chocolate.  

Pretty?  No.  Tasty?  Yuuuuup!  One(!) resembled a heart.  In a haste, I grabbed a cutting board just happened to be a savory one.  There are no pork products of any kind in these, just an FYI.  

Salted Caramel Brownies, hacked adapted from, Smitten Kitchen
makes about 8 servings

Salted Caramels

1/2 cup sugar
4 TBS unsalted butter
3 TBS heavy cream
1 heaped 1/4 tsp of coarse salt (use a little less if using salted butter)

In a dry pan, heat the sugar over medium heat until it turns dark brown and is completely melted.  You will have to stir it occasionally to break up any clumps of sugar.  When it all melted, remove from heat and add the butter.  Stir well, the solids in the butter will work into the sugar, but the fats in the butter kind of stay separated.  Stir together as best you can; add the cream and salt, return to the stove.  Cook bubbling a few minutes more**see my mistake above** until it has darkened a shade.  Pour into a parchment-lined dish (grease parchment for added measure, this is very sticky), put in the freezer for 20-40 minutes.  When set, divide in half.  Cut 1 half into 1" pieces, reserve the other half for a later use.  


1.5 oz (about 1/4 cup) of semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 TBS unsalted butter
1/2 cup, minus 1 1/2 TBS of sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 heaped 1/8 tsp of coarse salt (use a little less if using salted butter)
1/3 cup flour

Heat oven to 350.  Grease and line a small 6" pan (or a loaf pan) with parchment paper, extend paper up the sides of pan.  Over a double boiler (or in the microwave), melt chocolate and butter, stirring until chips have dissolved.  Remove from heat, add sugar and stir well, then add egg, vanilla, and salt.  Pour into prepared pan, bake for about 30 minutes or until set.  Cool on the counter for 10 minutes, then pop them into the freezer for about 30 minutes.  Remove from pan, remove parchment, and cut into desired servings.

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