These brownies have become my go-to for bake sales. Not only did I make them for the Japan bake sale (where we earned more than $11,000 for earthquake relief!), but I also made them for the recent Bastrop bake sale (where we brought in more than $14,000 for wildfire relief!) and, most recently, the BK’s school Halloween carnival.
I am a big believer in bake sales. In fact, I have a post percolating about bake sales and how they can go really, really right (see above) and how they can just be seventeen kinds of wrong. Stay tuned for that.
For now, here is a recipe, adapted from Baked Explorations
Salted Caramel Brownies
For the caramel
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup or agave nectar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon sea salt
Combine the sugar, golden syrup, and water in a medium saucepan. Cook on high heat for about 6 or so minutes or until the mixture is golden brown. Don’t get jumpy and pull it off the heat too soon; just watch closely until you hit that perfect shade between dark amber (think of the mosquitoes in Jurassic Park) and the color of a glass of Fat Tire. If you pull it too soon, the caramel will not thicken enough. Remove from heat (I take it off the burner altogether) and slowly add the cream (be careful, because it will bubble up) and the sea salt. Set aside.
For the brownie
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces dark chocolate chips (I use Guittard or Whole Foods brand)
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spray the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13 inch cake pan. (NOTE: if you are using a nonstick pan, don’t use spray. Use butter.) Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper.
Whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder in a medium-sized bowl.
Boil some water in a saucepan. Put the chocolate chips and the butter cubes in a large stainless steel mixing bowl and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are melted. Remember that the bowl will be hot, so plan accordingly.
Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl on top of the saucepan; add both sugars. Whisk until completely combined and remove the bowl from the pan.
Add three eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining two eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined.
Sprinkle the dry ingredients mixture over the wet mixture. Fold until there is a just a trace amount of the flour mixture visible (watch for pockets of flour mixture toward the bottom).
Pour half of the brownie batter into the pan and jiggle it until it is relatively smooth on top. Carefully pour the caramel mixture evenly on top of the brownie batter, but don’t add it all, and be careful to avoid the sides. Strategically place the rest of the brownie batter over the caramel layer and smooth it across the top. If you have any caramel that has escaped and is snuggled up against the parchment, just use your spoon or spatula to nudge it back into the batter. The caramel gets absorbed into the brownie during cooking, so you won’t be messing with the aesthetics of a layer by doing this.
Bake for about 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. The brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs; sometimes I don’t need the full 30 minutes, sometimes I need a few extra minutes. Stick as close as possible to the 30 minutes if you like a fudgy, supermoist brownie.
(At this point, you can choose to drizzle the remaining caramel on top of the brownies, or sprinkle some coarse sugar or fleur de sel on top. I don’t do either of those.)
Cool the brownies on the stove top for about 15-20 minutes, then chill them in your freezer or fridge until completely chilled (I use a metal pan; use your discretion with a glass dish). Remove the pan from the freezer/fridge, use the parchment paper to lift the brownies out onto a cutting board, then slice the brownies. Chilling them should help you get clean lines instead of a crumbly mess. Enjoy!