This week's Project Pastry Queen was chosen by Jen of Sweet Morris, and it's a savory shrimp and crab cheesecake. These brownies obviously aren't that...this girl is not a lover of seafood, and the hubs is lactose intolerant. Therefore, a seafood cheesecake is not going to go over well in this house. I'm very intrigued by it though, so I'm heading over to Jen's site and the Project Pastry Queen website to check out those who made it. You should do the same.
Instead of making the seafood cheesecake, I made these brownies and adapted them from The Pastry Queen cookbook. Her recipe, of course, include nuts (as every other dessert recipe does), and it doesn't have any sea salt. I personally think there is no point in eating the chocolate/caramel combo if there's no sea salt involved. It enhances the flavors 100-fold and solves the salty/sweet problem I always seem to have. When I eat these, I don't have the craving to eat popcorn or chips, too. One of the best parts is that the caramel layer stays gooey for as long as the brownies last (for me, that was two days before I devoured them). These take a tiny bit of time to make because you have to bake and cool a layer before you can finish them, but they are well worth the wait. I halved the original recipe because I certainly didn't need a 9x13 pan; if you're making for a large crowd, just double my recipe. P.S., 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoon is half of 1/3 cup.
Salted Caramel Brownies Recipe
Makes a 9x9 pan
Print this recipe
Update: I've had a few comments about the remaining brownie batter being a little stiff to work with after the first layer of brownies have baked and cooled. To remedy this, microwave the remaining batter for 5-10 seconds until it's spreadable again.
1/2 cup butter
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
7 ounces caramel candies, unwrapped (half of a 14 ounce bag)
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons heavy whipping cream
1/2-3/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x9 pan with aluminum foil, leaving a few inches hanging over the sides (this foil will turn into handles to lift the brownies out of the pan later). Spray the foil generously with nonstick spray, paying special attention to the corners and sides.
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the stick of butter. Add the chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir and if the chocolate isn't fully melted, microwave for 30-second intervals until smooth, stirring in between.
In a mixing bowl, mix together sugar, eggs, and vanilla until incorporated. Add in the butter/chocolate and mix until thick and glossy (about a minute). Stir in the flour and table salt until just combined.
Pour half this mixture into the greased pan and spread to corners. Bake for 20 minutes and let cool for 20 minutes.
Place the caramels, cream, and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt In a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until smooth and creamy. Pour this caramel over the cooked brownies and spread to the corners. Pour the rest of the brownie mixture evenly over the caramel (don't dump it all in the middle or it will be hard to spread) and spread to the corners. Sprinkle 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of sea salt on top of the brownie batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the center is set. Cool completely before lifting the foil out of the pan.
Adapted from The Pastry Queen Cookbook.