Monday, 16 April 2012

Salted caramel swirl brownies

I got this massive salted caramel Easter egg by Hotel Chocolat as an Easter gift, from a website I write for and I am in love with salted caramel. I mean initially I couldn't figure the saltiness, but a couple of bites later and I knew what the hype was all about. I went around in search of ready made salted caramel in some of the gourmet shops in London, but no luck there. Hell I couldn't even get my hands on some Fleur de Sel which is apparently a major ingredient in salted caramel. I could have picked it up online, but Ro not being a fan of anything caramel, butterscotch etc. made me wonder if it was worth spending that much money on sea salt.

Usually I would just shrug and say, oh then I shall just forget about salted caramel and not be tempted to make a batch on my own. Yes, that way I am a disgrace to the food blogger community. If I can buy something easily, I usually just do that without the thought making it at home. If it involves more than a couple of steps, then I just shrug and say, 'oh ok I don't think I'm that desperate to have xyz.'. Not what you had in mind about a food blogger right? Well, I am the lazy, blogging-only-so-I-can-take-pics kinda blogger with no qualms whatsoever in trying out ready made sauces, meals, mixes and hell, even whipped cream :)

But this time, I had other plans. I decided to make salted caramel at home (pat on the back for that). It was an easy peacy task and one that required no specific skill set. I keep digging into the caramel on and off and even use it as a spread on croissants and such for brekky. It is also perfect to gift friends and family. Do up a pretty little jar with labels and all the works and send it away with all the love (next Christmas I'll definitely do it!!!)
So since I had a jar of salted caramel ready, I decided to make use of it in every way possible (other than of course digging into it for a sugar rush after meals). Brownies were first on my mind and went around scouting the internet for recipes. I didn't come across many, so I just decided to adapt David Lebovitz's Dulce de Leche brownie recipe and make these salted caramel swirl brownies. It was a great idea because (I officially hate DdL now) caramel and chocolate is a match made in heaven. You bite into the absolutely chocolatey brownie and then reach the slightly sticky salted caramel centre and  there is no looking back. I also used the salted caramel for a fabulous brioche bread pudding (recipe to follow) which is on my dessert list the next time I have people over. Yes! it's that goooooood (cant stress it enough).

On another note, I don't know what happened while the brownies were baking, but my oven suddenly made this rattling sound and just conked. Thankfully the brownies were already done and Ro claims the caramel exploded inside the oven causing it to break down. I would just consider that as a dramatic proposition, since he wasn't too happy seeing the caramel swirls on the brownie. I halved the recipe because I wasn't sure how it would turn out, and now I'm kicking myself for not having baked more, especially since I'm oven-less for a while. I'm already having withdrawals

Recipe adapted/ halved from here
Unsalted butter- 4 tbsp/ 58 gms
Dark chocolate- 3 oz/ 85 gms, finely chopped
Cocoa powder- 13 gms (Dutch processed)
Eggs- 2 small
Sugar- 1/2 cup/ 100 gms
Vanilla extract- 1/2 tsp
Plain flour- 1/2 cup/ 70 gms)
Salted caramel sauce- 1/4 cup (recipe follows)
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
Reduce heat to low and add the chopped chocolate pieces into it. Stir until melted
Take the pan off fire and stir in the cocoa powder, followed by eggs, beating well after each addition.
In goes the sugar and vanilla extract, stir to combine.
Finally fold in the flour, making sure the batter is thoroughly mixed with no traces of flour.
Line a small baking pan with baking paper and pour half of the batter into it. Even it out with a spatula.
Drop spoonfuls of the salted caramel at intervals and run a knife through to create a swirling pattern (like how you would do for a marble cake)
Top with the remaining brownie batter and even that out as well.
Add the remaining salted caramel and follow the same swirling procedure as before.
Bake in an oven preheated at 175C for about 25 to 20 minutes or till a skewer comes out clean (more or less).
Cool on a wire rack after which you can slice them and store in a container at room temperature for about 2 days or in the refrigerator for a week.
Notes: If you don't want the salted caramel to be over powering, then don't do the middle layer, just do the swirling effect on the top layer alone.
Using salted butter is fine, in which case, reduce the salt in the salted caramel
The salted caramel will harden a bit, but that's really fine, it wont be annoyingly chewy or anything.
Under cook a bit if you want it absolutely gooey.
Add pecans or walnuts, if you prefer, to the batter after you fold in the flour.

Salted caramel sauce (makes a little less than 1 cup. Recipe adapted from here)
Granulated sugar- 1/2 cup
Water- 1 1/2 tbsp
Unsalted butter- 3 tbsp
Double cream- 1/4 cup
Sea salt- 3/4 tsp
Heat together the sugar and water in a heavy bottomed pan. Stir to help the sugar dissolve but stop once it comes to a boil. You can swirl it around a bit if you want.
When all the sugar has melted and the colour become a deep amber add the butter. It will foam up a bit so stand back.
Whisk continuously till the butter has melted and then take it off the flame.
Whisk in the double cream (again it might foam up a bit) and then add the sea salt.
Continue whisking till the caramel is nice and smooth.
Let it completely cool and then store in clean containers which can then be stored away in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.
Just before use, warm it up a wee bit to loosen.

Notes: Add a dash of brandy or Baileys for that extra kick.
Add Fleur de Sel if you have any and also adjust it according to your taste. Use only half tsp if you are not too much of a salt-sweet combo fan. 


Rookie Qookie said...

They look really tempting! We love the Baskin-Robbins Caramel ribbon with Chocolate Ice Cream..So this would definitely be awesome :)

Namitha said...

Awesome ! I love salted caramel sauce, but no one else in my family :-/ I have a brownies post,being ready for the next post,in my drafts :) Love your ladle

Marina said...

I love taste of added salt in sweets, and this dessert must taste very good!

Sravs said...

Very tempting and appetizing brownies !! loved them !!

Ongoing event
CC:Spring Seasonal Food

Cool Lassi(e) said...

The brownies look wicked, Nisha! I am super tempted to grab them from the screen!

How have you been? I am blog-hopping after a very long time and I see you have made a lot of changes to the blog. Love the new look. That reminds me that I should do something to my blog. It is in a pathetic state but I haven't had the time to do anything about it except for sporadic posts.I should take inspiration from your blog.

Unknown said...

wow awesome dear...drool over the caramel...n luv all ur very creative clicks...
SYF&HWS - Cook With SPICES" Series

Kajal said...

Have always wondered what the hype about salted caramel is, but it's that good huh? i'm going to take the plunge and try and make some salted caramel soon! :D

Sarah said...

oh my! this is tempting! in fact its awesome.. i would love to eat up the salted caramel as it is :)

Sailaja said...

drooling .. too good

Tina said...

So tempting dear..Beautiful clicks too..

KitchenKarma said...

I am drooling here...can I get into your Christmas gift list please? We were in Paris for Easter and had some lovely slated caramel candies and I know just what you are talking about....

Cassia Bark said...

OMG the 2nd last pic!!! :D

I love salted caramel. Just baked a butterscotch birthday cake last weekend. Wish I had this post earlier! Want to try this asap. xx


Asha said...

I love love love salted Caramel and brownies... Both in one is like a dream....

Priya Suresh said...

Omg, simply cant take my eyes from ur clicks, stunning!!

Kelvy said...

It definitely looks tempting Nish.... I guess i have to try it :)

Unknown said...

Wow interesting recipe and tempting pics

Poornima Nair said...

Never had salted caramel, must give it a try! The brownies look sinful!!

Anonymous said...

well done with that Nisha and the photos are so pretty. I love the second photo and the recipe card looks so beautiful!

Nitha said...

I was not that interested seeing the name - salted & caramel... But I got carried away reading the whole explanation... I think I should try this.. May be next time when I have some guests

Anonymous said...

These look incredible. i'm actually not that keen on salted caramel but I'm imagining for me plain caramel would be just as good - not sure I'm ready to sacrifice my oven though!

Javelin Warrior said...

I love how you made this and it turned out beautifully - the little pools of caramel are gorgeous (although if I had tried this it would have been a disaster!)... I am featuring this post in today's Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), but please let me know if you have any objections. I'm new to your blog, but it's a pleasure to be following your creations…

Vineetha Sush said...

When i saw this name the first thing that striked my mind was snicker choclate with slight salty taste,I love it.
I loved ur 5 th pic with flowers...u have a very good handwriting :)

Unknown said...

wow..these brownies look absolutely fabulous....wonderful clicks n presentation !!!!

Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious said...

Oh my goodness. This is freakishly gorgeous - and it doesn't help that I'm looking at these pictures at 10PM at night.

I've made caramel filled brownies before but the caramel was made with candies (instead of from scratch) and it was awesome, but I'm sure your made-from-scratch version would be 100x better. Well done!

the Junkie book said...

I trust you in this. They would make a perfect Christmas give away and coming Christmas am going to be in an idyllic place and as such the mood would blend well I guess.

Sea salt--is it imperative?
Double cream--refrigerating Amul fresh cream and tipping out the water may help?

Gorgeous photos.

I can't believe Roshan doesn't like caramel. Am totally madly in love with the word even. It's music.

Spice up the Curry said...

brownies looks awesome,

Me And My Sweets said...

Yum Yum!!!

I'll host a party every month with a different theme and would love you to join! Please visit my blog for more information on "My Sweet Party" post uploaded 2nd of May.The theme for May is CHOCOLATE.

Also, I've nominated you for the Sunshine and Kreative blogger award as your blog is amazing!


Reflections said...

These look and sound sinful;-(