Dark chocolate and caramel brownies

19 July 2017

In July, I made a lot of brownies. Maybe it's because the days were much darker, and colder, than usual. There were also celebrations big (new babies!) and small (winter solstice), and a few intensely busy weeks too. Baking a batch of brownies became my default response.

These brownies can be made in one-bowl and come together really quickly. They're fudgy and rich, and are best eaten with one hand. That makes them especially good for new parents, road trips and unfussy dinners with friends. They also freeze well, so you can have them on hand for especially cold or ordinary days :)

Dark chocolate and caramel brownies
Adapted from Round to Ours by Jackson & Levine

You'll need:

100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped*
125g unsalted butter, cubed
200g caster sugar
50g light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt
80g plain flour
20g Dutch-process cocoa
12 pieces of caramel-centred chocolate (Nestle's Rolo requires no chopping, I've also used Cadbury's Caramello bars, and quarter teaspoons of Nutella in a pinch!)

* It's worth buying the nicest cooking chocolate you can afford. I use Lindt's dark bittersweet buttons, which are 58% cocoa. Lindt Dessert is 70% cocoa and can be found at most supermarkets. Other cooking chocolate will give you a slightly sweeter and less chocolatey brownie.

Here's how:

Preheat the oven to 180°C and lightly grease a 28 x 20cm brownie tin. You can also use a square 20 x 20cm cake tin and make thicker brownies. Line the tin with baking paper and let it hang over two of the sides to create a sling. It'll help you lift your brownie out of the pan later.

Fill a small saucepan with a few centimetres of water and warm it slowly, on medium heat. Place your chocolate and butter in a bowl and rest it on the saucepan's rim. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. As the water starts to steam and simmer, the butter and chocolate will gradually melt. Mix them together with a wooden spoon.

As soon as it's melted, take the chocolate mixture off the heat and mix in the sugars with a whisk. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking after each addition. Then add the vanilla extract and half of the salt and whisk again.

Sift in the flour and cocoa and whisk slowly until just combined. Pour your batter into your tin and smooth the top with a spoon. Before you pop it in the oven, add your chosen chocolate. Gently push it into the brownie batter at regular intervals. Sprinkle the remaining salt over the brownie, crushing it up between your fingers as you go.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or up to 30 minutes if you're using a square pan. The top of the brownie will be a pale brown and starting to crack when it's ready. You can also use a skewer to test for doneness. The brownie will continue to set as it cools, so don't worry if the skewer comes out a little sticky.

Let your brownie cool before slicing them. This recipe is a good one to make the day before, you can leave the brownies in the tin overnight and cover with a beeswax wrap or clingwrap. Aside from freezing well, these brownies can also survive the post! An entire batch of brownies makes a very good gift, and if you add candles it's a birthday cake :)

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