It started with the brownies. I was craving something chocolate, something rich, something baked. I had stared at the Sweet & Salty brownie recipe in Baked Explorations many times. So, I just made them. I made them with the full intention of having a square or two and then taking the rest into work. I wasn’t even fully invested in them, using the salted caramel sauce from Trader Joe’s instead of making my own (it goes in between the layers of brownie batter, for a bit more salty/sweet loveliness). I haphazardly sprinkled on the sugar/sea salt mixture, thinking it was more for decoration than anything else. And then, I ate one.
I ate one brownie, then I ate another one. I ate one more after they cooled. Then a fourth, because it looked silly just sitting there all by itself in the row. I placed them in a container and then into the fridge. They never went to work. Well, they did, as part of my lunch for the next week and a half. I think Travis may have gotten in one or two.
These are dense, fudgey brownies. They are not too sweet, using both dark chocolate and cocoa. There is a sweet/salty layer of butter caramel in the middle of each bite and then there a sprinkling of sugar and salt on top. This was a brownie that becomes the standard for brownies.
Until I added something that made it completely ridiculous, a little bit naughty, and absolutely fabulous…
Sweet & Salty Brownies (from Baked Explorations)
1 1/4 c. AP Flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tb. dark cocoa powder
11 oz. dark chocolate (60-72%), chopped
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
Topping – mix together 1 1/2 tsp fleur de sel and 1 tsp sugar.
Note: I was a bit bad at following directions, not to mention I totally used a jarred salted caramel sauce instead of making the one in the recipe. But the brownies still came out amazing! And, really, you should own this book yourself and then you can follow it word for word.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter over low heat. Once melted, remove from heat, beat in the white and brown sugars, and let it cool to room temperature.
3. Meanwhile, combine the flour, salt, and cocoa in a separate bowl.
4. Add 3 eggs to the cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining 2 eggs, 1 at a time. Mix in the vanilla. “They” say that if you mix too much at the point, the brownies will get too cakey, but I haven’t found that to be a problem yet.
5. Pour the flour mixture over the chocolate/egg mixture and fold until no more white streaks remain. Pour half the batter into the pan. Drizzle salted caramel sauce over the brownie batter until a decent-looking layer has formed. Try to avoid the edges so the caramel doesn’t ooze out the sides and make a sticky mess of itself. Pour the rest of the brownie batter over the caramel and smooth out the top.
6. Bake for 30 minutes (mine needed 40 minutes for the tester to come out clean), sprinkle on the salt/sugar topping, and let cool completely in the pan. Slice as desired. Eat while warm, cool, cold, and any where in between.