Sorry for the hiatus, I’ve been pretty busy trying to finish school and trying to come up with delicious items to bake for you. I was pretty excited by the presence of cacao nibs in the house, and after using them in the Essence of Chocolate Cookies and the granola crunch, I was looking for a suitable indulgence worthy of their expensive awesome-ness, when I came across Emma’s post here.
Whawhat?!?! Salted caramel and cacao nibs! I want some!!!!!!!!! Well, it was like the middle of the week and it didn’t seem really appropriate, so I waited for Sunday. And after minor procrastination and not a little apprehension, (I’ve had bad experiences with caramel before) I made them. I actually did. And it was actually fun. Surprise! I was so excited because my caramel was ssssoooo beautiful, I basically went outside and shouted to the world: “look at it! It’s BEAUTIFUL!!!”. Yeah, that didn’t go over so well. But the brownies looked just like the picture! Pretty. Darn. Exciting.
Apparently these brownies are “Paul Young” brownies? I’ve never heard of him, but I do know that you won’t want to call these brownies when you finally make them. They’re more like a cross between a truffle and a soft caramel.
A couple notes on the caramel making:
- The batch is pretty small, I used a little copper-bottomed saucepan.
- Keep the butter, cream, and salt close at hand. You don’t want to be scrambling for them while your caramel’s cooking
- Watch it. It cooks faster than you’d think. Shake and jiggle the pan to get it to cook evenly.
- Go homemade. Don’t buy the stuff.
Also, for the brownies, they are really jiggly and really gooey when they come out of the oven. Don’t try to cut them, you’ll ruin them. Yes, I did pick some off the corner. Ssshh. Finally, Emma uses weights for measurements, so I tried to convert that as best I could, so just know that “scant” means “a little less.”
Don’t wait for Sunday. Make these. Immediately.
Salted Caramel and Cacao Nib Brownies
Scant ½ c. sugar (75 g)
Scant 1 T butter (10 g)
½ c. heavy cream (50 ml)
1/8 t. good sea salt or fleur de sel
Remaining butter (from an 8 T stick, 100 g)
¾ c. sugar (150 g)
½ c. packed brown sugar (100 g)
Scant ½ c. light corn syrup (75 g)
275 g quality 70% dark chocolate
Scant ¾ c. flour (70 g)
Handful cacao nibs
Tip the sugar into a heavy-bottomed pan in an even layer. Place over medium-high heat. Wait until the edges start to liquefy then gently start to move the sugar around onto the wet spots to try and get it to melt evenly – don’t stir it. Don’t worry if it starts to clump a little, it will melt down later. Keep gently moving the un-melted sugar into the liquid bits until you just have a liquid. Keep cooking until it reaches a deep golden-bronze, almost the color of a penny. Immediately take off the heat and whisk in about 1/3 of the cream to stop the caramel cooking. Keep pouring and whisking until all the cream is incorporated. Add the butter in chunks and the salt and stir until smooth. Pour into a bowl to cool – at the moment it will pour easily off the spoon in thin ribbons.
Preheat the oven to 325F. Line an 8×8 in. pan with paper. Get another big saucepan and add the butter, caster sugar, brown sugar and syrup. Heat until everything is melted together then beat until smooth. Take off the heat then add all the chocolate. Stir until melted and uniform. Lightly whisk the eggs in a small bowl then incorporate them into the mix. Finally add the flour and beat thoroughly until very smooth. Pour into the prepared tin.
By now your caramel should be gloriously thick, Spoon fairly evenly over the mix then use a knife to lightly swirl it through. Scatter the cocoa nibs over the top.
Bake for 20 minutes then take out and leave to cool. Once cool, put into the fridge overnight or the freezer until frozen solid. Slice up with a sharp knife dipped into hot water and cleaned between each cut.