Monday, May 6, 2013

Salted Caramel Brownies

Now, ya’ll (I was just in Texas a few days ago, so it’s still okay for me to say that) remember when I made those ooey, gooey, over the top, out of this world salted caramel cookie bars? Those were such a hit over the holidays that everyone was asking me for them and not just the recipe. People were ordering these from me by the dozen.  I am talking triple and quadruple orders It was out of control. Then again, I don’t blame anyone and they were so easy to make eat. They are pretty much like crack. No joke.  So, when I first saw this salted caramel brownie recipe from Ina Garten, I knew I had to try it. I mean come on – salted caramel brownies? You’ve got to be kidding me!

The captain and I were down in San Luis Obispo visiting his mom a couple of weekends ago and decided that we had to make these for dessert. I had been eying them for a couple of weeks and what better time to make them then for a dinner with his family! You always have to have dessert. At least that’s the rule in our house. Let me just say, these brownies couldn’t be easier to make. Seriously. Don’t believe me? First of all, and maybe the best part, there is no need for a mixer. As much as I love my kitchen aid, I do love when a recipe is simple and only calls for a big bowl and a wooden spoon. Don’t you?  Plus, there is no dirtying anything else. You just melt the butter and chocolate all in the same bowl and then add all the other brownie ingredients in after that – eggs, flour, sugar, instant coffee, vanilla, salt and chocolate chips.

Once these brownies bake, they are fudgy and so so rich. Of course they would be fabulous on their own, but Ina takes these brownies to a whole new level. When the brownies come out of the oven, you drizzle them with caramel sauce and sea salt. Not just regular ‘ol table salt though. Flaked or chunky sea salt or fleur de sel (if you have it). Of course you can make your own caramel sauce, but since the captain and I were in a rush to get these done and didn’t want to spend an hour unwrapping eating all the caramels, we bought a local made caramel sauce at one of the grocery stores in town. Make your own or use what you can find at your local store. No matter what you use, it’s going to be good - that I can promise you.  The brownies will still be just as amazing even if you totally forget that you need to put on the caramel right after they come out and wait a few hours after they’ve cooled to do so.  Yes, I totally failed to read the directions close enough to see that part. Oops. You'd never know though. They were so delicious!

There is just something about that sweet and salty with the chocolate. I can’t explain it. It’s just that good. These brownies may just be my all time favorite brownies. A little salty, a little sweet, and a whole lot chocolaty.  If you want to live life on the edge, serve these brownies warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Now that’s what I call dessert perfection.

chocolate and butter. you know these are going to be good!

melted chocolate and butter on the right, eggs, sugar and more on the left.

just a little flour makes these brownies extra fudgy

I forgot to toss the chocolate chips in flour. Oops.

please don't lick the screen

Salted Caramel Brownies (By Ina Garten)

2 sticks unsalted butter
8 ounces plus 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee granules (I use decaf to avoid too much caffeine, but use what you like!)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 to 6 ounces good caramel sauce (homemade or store bought)
2 to 3 teaspoons flaked or chunky sea salt (not table salt!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour or spray with non-stick spray, a 9 x 12 x 1 1/2-inch baking pan.

Melt the butter, 8 ounces of the chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate together in a medium, microwave bowl. Do not over cook! Make sure to melt everything together slowly, at half power and in one minute increments. Once all melted, allow to cool for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature. If you don't, all the chocolate chips will melt!

In a medium bowl, sift together 1/2 cup of the flour, the baking powder, and salt and add to the chocolate mixture. Toss the remaining 6 ounces of chocolate chips and the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour in a medium bowl and add them to the chocolate mixture. Spread evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Don't over bake!

As soon as the brownies are out of the oven, place the jar of caramel sauce without the lid in a microwave and heat just until it's pourable. Stir until smooth. Drizzle the caramel evenly over the hot brownies and sprinkle with the sea salt. Cool completely and enjoy!

There are no words for these brownies. They are that good.

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