Caramel Brownies

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I really, really wanted to try Salted Caramel Brownies.

Often I make recipes because I need to use up some ingredient. I did actually need to use up the heavy cream that I used in this caramel, but let’s face it – that’s just the excuse I used to finally try these brownies  I’m really not a salted caramel person, so I decided these would just be caramel brownies.

Making your own caramel is the only potentially daunting part of this recipe, but I’ve made candy often enough that I wasn’t intimidated. In fact, making my own caramel was what drew me to the recipe!

Caramel Brownies
Caramel Brownies

As it goes, though, making the caramel was neither difficult nor time consuming. I put 1/2 cup sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat and left it alone for a few minutes to give it a chance to melt. (Of course, you don’t want to wait too long – it could burn!) I began stirring it once the sugar started to melt, trying to get rid of lumps. When the sugar was dark, I moved the pan from the burner and added butter (2 tablespoons salted, 2 tablespoons unsalted). Once the butter was melted (the sugar and butter won’t mix together well), I returned the pan to the heat and added the 3 tablespoons heavy cream, stirring constantly. That mixed in well, and I cooked it until it got darker – in fact, until the way the sugar was bubbling changed, and the mixture became more compact. I overcooked it, but all was not lost – I merely turned the caramel into toffee on accident. I poured the candy onto a greased, foiled plate, let it cool for a few minutes at room temperature, and put it in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up.

Making the brownies was easy. I melted margarine and 3 ounces of unsweetened chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for about 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. I added sugar, then eggs and vanilla, and then the flour. I broke the toffee into pieces (some larger than 1 inch, some smaller) and mixed in the smaller pieces. I scraped the batter into a greased glass 8×8 inch square pan, topped the brownies with a few remaining pieces of candy, and baked them at 350F for 29 minutes, until a toothpick stuck in them was nearly clean.

Caramel Brownies
Caramel Brownie

So, these were toffee brownies instead of caramel brownies. They were still delicious! The dense brownies were neither too rich, nor overwhelmingly sweet. I enjoyed the distinctness of the candy. It was fun to bite and crunch my way through toffee, which had an intense sweetness to cut through the richness of the chocolate.

I usually make brownies with cocoa rather than chocolate, so this was a departure for me. I’m not sure I’d make this specific brownie again, but I’ll definitely make the caramel again and putting it in one of my other favorite brownie recipes.

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