Chocolate and salted caramel brownies

This is the first of my recipes especially for Valentines day.  My thoughts on Valentines Day is that it is the perfect opportunity to up the ante in the kitchen! Ditch the expensive overpriced Valentines Day menus and get busy in the kitchen.   The caramel is somewhat fiddly, but oh soooooo worth that little bit of loving effort.  Please try it and let me know what you think.

Ingredients:

Caramel

1/2 cup granulated sugar.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter.

Heaped 1/4 teaspoon sea salt.

3 tablespoons heavy cream.

Brownie

85g unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped.

115g unsalted butter.

200g granulated sugar.

2 large eggs.

1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Heaped 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt.

85g all-purpose flour.

Instructions: [Adapted from recipe by Smitten Kitten.]

Prepare a small plate with a sheet of lightly greased parchment paper.

1. Melt sugar in a medium dry pan over medium heat. Time it for about 5 minutes, stirring if necessary to break up large chunks. By the time it is all melted, if should be a nice copper colour; if not, cook until it is. Remove from heat and stir in butter. It may not incorporate entirely but do your best. Stir in cream and salt and return saucepan to the stove over medium-high heat, bringing it back to a simmer and melt any solidified sugar. Cook for a few minutes more, until it is a shade darker.

2. Pour out onto the parchment-covered plate and transfer to your freezer. Freeze until solidified, which can take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes.

3. When your caramel is almost firm start making the brownies. Heat the oven to 170C . Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. In a medium heatproof bowl over gently simmering water, melt chocolate and butter together. Remove from heat, whisk in sugar, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and salt. Fold in flour with a spoon.

4. When caramel is firm, remove it from the freezer and chop it into rough 1-inch squares. Gently fold all but a small amount of caramel bits into batter. Spreading into baking pan until mostly even. Scatter remaining caramel bits on top. Bake in heated oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

5. Cool thoroughly and cut into heart shapes. Dust with icing sugar and serve with fresh blackberries.

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