An affair to remember

So I’m continuing on the salty-sweet kick, I guess with Ghiradelli Salted Caramel Brownies.

Now be warned on this post: I am not myself tonight so my creative juices and, at times, witty prose may be slightly depleted so bear with me.

Apparently a night out on Friday that involved too much vodka and a hell of a lot of dancing has left me injured.  I’ve been flat on my back all day sipping Gatorade and popping pain killers that make me happy but also leave me  in a bit of a haze.

I don’t know many who can actually manage to hurt themselves so bad on a night out dancing that it means having to lay flat on their back all day. Apparently, I can.

Maybe I should feel embarrassed, or old; but I don’t.

In my defense, it is an old injury that I’m still trying to figure out how to cure. My next attempt is to combine an intense Yoga schedule with occasional deep tissue massage so we’ll see how that pans out.

Anyway… I decided to perk up my miserable day by turning to the Betties and sharing this recipe with you.

My first baking project brought you the NYT Cookies, which were ridiculously good but also quite easy to make.

But the Ghiradelli Salted Caramel Brownies? Holy chocolate love in my mouth!

They’re sticky, gooey and extremely rich and I was SO proud I executed them successfully because the process was much more intensive than the cookies.

I made these specialty brownies for an upcoming family dinner in an attempt to further challenge myself on my road to Betty Crocker-dom.

Event though I was following directions, I was a little apprehensive, this being only my second attempt at a homemade dessert. The process involved making caramel and brownie batter from scratch and swirling them together into perfection.

I found the recipe on Brown Eyed Baker, a blog with all kind of yummy goodness that I think I’m going to try out. The recipe doesn’t specify what kind of chocolate to use but I highly suggest sticking with Ghiradelli.

Quality of chocolate is very important when you’re melting it down. The higher the quality, the smoother the outcome and the better it tastes!

The whole family gave these brownies a big thumbs up. For my aunt Peggy, it seemed the chocolate decadence was more than just a dessert: “I sort of feel like I just cheated on John,” she said.

Mrs. Fletch with Salted Caramel Brownies

You know a dessert is good when those eating it start equating it with lust and sex. Mission accomplished.

They really were an affair to remember!

Here’s the recipe along with a photo of my mom, Mrs. Fletch holding the finished product. Yum!!


Salted Caramel Brownies

Yield: 16 brownies

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Bake Time: 35 to 40 minutes

5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 eggs
1¼ cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Salted Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)
Fine sea salt

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the pan with overlapping pieces of foil and spray the foil.

2. In a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost-simmering water, melt the chocolates and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. (Or, melt in the microwave on 50% power for 30-second increments, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.) Whisk in the cocoa until smooth. Set aside to cool.

3. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture; then stir in the flour until just combined. Pour about half of the brownie mixture into the prepared pan and spread into the corners. Spoon 9 dollops of Salted Caramel Sauce on top of the brownie batter. Top with the remaining brownie mixture, spread into the corners and level the surface with a spatula. Again, spoon 9 dollops of the Salted Caramel Sauce on top of the brownie batter. With a dull butter knife, gently run it through the batter to swirl the batter just a bit (don’t do it too much or it will all mix together). Sprinkle a bit of sea salt on top.

4. Bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours. Remove the brownies from the pan using the foil handles and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

(Brownie recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated)

Salted Caramel Sauce

Prep/Cook Time: 10 minutes

1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2/3 cup heavy cream, at room temperature

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the sugar over medium-high heat, whisking as the sugar begins to melt. Some of the sugar will harden into clumps, but that’s okay – it will melt eventually – just keep whisking. Continue to cook the sugar until it reaches a dark amber color. At that point, whisk in the salt, and then add the butter all at once and whisk until it is completely incorporated into the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the heavy cream (it will foam up when first added). Continue to whisk until it forms a smooth sauce.

Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before using in the brownies. The leftover sauce can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. (You’ll probably need to warm it up a bit straight from the refrigerator.)


3 thoughts on “An affair to remember

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s