Brownie Points

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Alright, before you get all googly eyed and start to develop a puddle of drool on your keyboard, let it be known that I do not like these brownies.

When I walked into the kitchen to make them, I had a very different end product in my mind. It consisted of these brownies, topped with salt and a white chocolate butter cream frosting with all sorts of pizzazz on top of them. It was going to be the post that launched me into food blogger stardom! I was going to rule the world!!

[strokes cat, clash of thunder]

But the butter cream failed to turn the color I wanted it to turn, because Heaven forbid the red food coloring I bought for this very purpose actually turned the cream red and not hot freaking pink. This was supposed to be my Valentine’s Day post! I wanted red frosting on my brownies, not hot pink! The butter cream was a flop and it was pretty much downhill from there. I forgot to sprinkle the salt, the rest of the ingredients (which shall remain nameless) sit here unused because of the lack of frosting to stick to. By the time the brownies came out of the oven, I was already over them. As if they asked me to the prom and an hour later I caught them under the bleachers with my bff.

Not right brownies.

Oh, and on top of that, they sit there and mock my sweet tooth! I take pride in my taste for sweet treats. I’ve always said I’m a dessert guy and would be the one to look at the dessert menu at a restaurant before the dinner menu. But these damn brownies and their overflowing goop of caramel that oozes out just by looking at it hard enough made me question myself. They make me feel like I’m one of you normal people when it comes to sweets. I don’t know if it was the time it took to make them that made me weak or that they really are just that sweet. All I know is that I made them so they’re going on the blog.

Don’t get it twisted. If you’re a chocolate and caramel fanatic then these are for you. I thought I loved caramel. But it’s yet another kick to the groin these little demons are giving me while I’m already down.

Brownies from Hell:       (slightly adapted from here)

 

Brownie:

       
        2 sticks ~ Butter

               8 oz ~ Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Squares, chopped
         1/4 cup ~ Cocoa Powder
      1 1/4 cup ~ Sugar
           4 each ~ Eggs
1 tablespoon ~ Vanilla Extract
      1 1/4 cup ~ Flour
1/2 teaspoon ~ Salt


Caramel Filling:

         
            1 each ~ 14 oz Bag of Caramel Squares

          1/3 cup ~ Heavy Cream


Notes:

  • These brownies will ruin your life.
  • You’re going to need a 9 x 13 pan for this.
  • If you have chocolate chips but don’t have chocolate baking squares, I’m not going to cry about it.
  • If you’ve never bought caramel squares before, they’re in the grocery store, either in the same section as the chocolate chips, or in the candy aisle.

Ok, enough with the chit chat. Let’s make some cavities:

  • Turn your oven on to 350 and line your pan with either parchment or aluminum foil. I’m more of a parchment kinda guy when it comes to baking but since I’m all out I used foil. Take some butter and get a nice coating on the foil. Heck, to be safe go ahead and spray it with cooking spray too. You’ll understand when this monster comes out of your oven.

Now, when it comes to melting chocolate, depending on what I’m making or what it’s for, I’ll either use the microwave or set up a double boiler. I always like using a double boiler because I can control the melting better. I can stir and see exactly how the process is going rather than just wondering how it’s going from the outside of the microwave. To do a double boiler, just get yourself a sauce pan with about 2 inches of water and set it to boil. Then take a bowl, I use glass, and put your chocolate and whatever else you’re melting inside of it, and put the bowl on top of the sauce pan. You want the bottom of the bowl to fit just inside the rim of the pan, and you do not want to water to be touching the bowl. We’re using the indirect heat from the steam to melt the chocolate, not the water. The steam will melt it at a steady enough pace and once it’s done you just take the bowl off and you don’t have to worry about burning or overheating.

But if you’re straight up melting chocolate and nothing else, you’ll want to be careful with water. One drop of water while melting your chocolate can ruin your entire week. If you want more info on that, check this page out since it’s not something we have to worry about right now.

If all of this sounds like too much, you can be lazy and put the chocolate and everything else in a microwave safe bowl and nuke it for 30 second intervals until it’s melted. It’s up to you.

  • Whichever way you go, put the chopped chocolate, butter and cocoa powder in a bowl and melt it until it’s smooth. Take it off the heat and let it cool for a few minutes until you can touch it and it doesn’t feel hot. Warm is ok. We’re going to add eggs to this, and I don’t think you want chocolate scrambled eggs.

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  • Once it’s cooled down, whisk in the sugar, the eggs one at a time, and the vanilla extract. When that’s all incorporated, stir in the flour and the salt but slowly.

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Not because it’s flour and you can make a mess. I really don’t care if you make a mess or not, I’m not going to clean it up. No, stir slowly because you don’t want to over mix it. This is the reason why you always make brownies by hand and never with a stand or hand mixer. If you over mix the flour, you’ll create gluten. And gluten is not something you want in your brownies. They’ll come out cake-like and will be dry and flat as oppose to crumbly and soft.

  • When you stir in the flour, do it slowly, and stop stirring as soon as you see all of the flour incorporated.

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  • Pour half, yes, half of the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Smooth it out, do whatever you have to do. It’ll look like it’s too thin of a layer, and you’ll question yourself up and down, but trust me, it’s fine. Just make sure it’s evenly spread out. Put it in the oven for 15 minutes.

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While that’s baking, let’s work on the bane of my existence: the caramel filling.

  • Unwrap every single one of the tiny caramel squares. The annoyingly tedious, seemingly never ending, caramel squares.

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  • Put them into a sauce pan with the heavy cream and put them on medium heat. Stir occasionally until you have a nice smooth caramel sauce.

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If my wife wasn’t pregnant, I totally would’ve spiced this up with some Baileys Irish Cream. I don’t drink, but I know a few things. And one of those things is how happy-happy Baileys gets with caramel. Boy, oh boy…

Judging by how long it takes you to unwrap those hellish little squares, by the time the caramel sauce is done the brownie is probably out of the oven and cooled by now.

  • Whatever the case, let it cool for 20 minutes or so when it does come out.

Once the brownie and sauce are ready, commence the sensual bonding and getting-it-on music…

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Something I forgot to do in all of my excitement at this point, was to salt the caramel. So if you dig salted caramel, go for it. A little sprinkling with a sea salt should do the trick.

  • Once the caramel is poured on the brownie, take the other half of the batter and slowly and carefully pour it on the caramel. The batter got a little stiff on me after sitting there for so long, so I put it in the microwave for 10 seconds and it was fine.

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  • Do the same you did for the first layer. Once it’s all in the pan, just spread it out until everything is evenly covered. It might be a little more difficult with the caramel there, but if you poured it around enough, it should be easy to just push a little around to the open areas. Again, it’s going to feel like you don’t have enough, but if you were good at splitting the batter in half, then you have nothing to worry about.
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Leo and Mikey approve.
  •  Bake for another 15 minutes.
  • When it’s done, let it cool completely before you cut it.

You can take it out of the pan using the foil, and just put it on a cooling rack, foil and all, till it cools. But just don’t cut it for at least an hour or two. Why? You just baked caramel sauce at 350°. You might as well have lava in that brownie.

When it’s ready, cut it up and watch it bleed like the heathen it is.

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While writing this, I kept thinking on how I was taken aback by the river of caramel that flows in your mouth with each bite. I thought of how I can enjoy these after making them. And it hit me: Put one in a bowl, microwave for like 30 seconds and then plop a couple of scoops of ice cream on there with some chopped nuts…. I think I’d be able to handle that quite well.

 

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