That was the case a few days ago, when a friend texted me she would come over, unexpectedly, to spend the afternoon. I had no time to go out and no nice treats at home, only a box of Girls’ Scout Cookies in the freezer, bought out of the kindness of my heart from a neighborhood child. I haven’t had a cookie since last October and, as nice as thin mints are, they did not fit the occasion.
I had all the ingredients for a pan of brownies but brownies also seemed a bit too boring. I made them anyway. Then I put some sugar on the stove and made caramel sauce, to which I added some flaky salt because salt, let’s face it, makes everything taste better.
I swirled the sauce over the brownies and baked them. They were a hit, way more complex than a plain chocolate brownie and enough to feed an army: a small bite is so rich, it goes a long way. Perfect with a cup of black tea or your favorite coffee. Or, in the words of a nurse who got to taste the leftovers “this is the best thing I have ever tasted.”
You can use your go-to brownie recipe – even one from a box. At work I use a sturdy recipe that produces brownies that can be cut into neat squares but, at home, I like something fudgier and crumblier and my favorites are the brownies from the Paris Rose Bakery cookbook.
A cup of sugar makes more caramel sauce than you will need for the brownies but you can store the leftover and use it over ice-cream, cookies or anything else your heart desires.
1 C Sugar
2 T Corn Syrup
1/2 C Heavy Cream
1 T Flaky salt
- Put the sugar and corn syrup (which will prevent the sugar from crystallizing) in a heavy pan. Add enough water to make the sugar look like wet sand. Place on medium/high heat and leave it to boil, undisturbed, until the caramel reaches a deep amber color. Do not stir.
- Remove from the heat and add the cream. Stay back as it will splatter. Whisk until smoothly combined. Add the salt and stir. Let cool.
250 g Butter
250 g Semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
380 g Sugar
1 ts Vanilla extract
150 g Flour
Pinch of salt
- Butter or spray a baking tin (8 x 11 inch or 20 x 28 cm) and line it with parchment paper.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
- In another bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar and add the vanilla extract. Beat only for a few minutes until beginning to froth.
- Pour in the melted chocolate and butter mixture, and fold in the flour and salt.
- Pour the batter in the baking tin, and drizzle the caramel sauce on top, swirling it with the tip of a knife.
- Bake at 350F (180C) for about 25 minutes. Brownies need to remain moist in the center.