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!
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.
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.