Dark chocolate salted caramel brownies
I have been dreaming of this combination for a while now, and am so excited to share the final result with you. They are decadent, packed with chocolate, and have just the right amount of caramel and salt to bring everything together into one incredibly delicious bite!
If you follow along on Instagram, you may know that I am not a dark chocolate fan at all. However, the idea for this recipe came to me when I tried out my favorite brownie recipe with dark and bittersweet chocolate swapped in (for a friend who loves dark chocolate). The brownies needed a bit of an adjustment, but I am telling you - I couldn't stop eating them! Something about the deep chocolate flavor was just amazing.
I had a feeling that the deep chocolate flavor would pair extremely well with caramel, and this recipe proved my point. I had planned to make this recipe with a homemade caramel swirl, but after a number of trials (some successes and some fails) with caramel I decided to take the added complexity out of this recipe and to use store bought caramels to create our swirl. It takes the risk out of the recipe and has absolutely no sacrifice in the end flavor and texture. You'll melt your caramels with a few other ingredients, and then stir in some vanilla extract and salt at the end.
The semi-homemade caramel is swirled in with a chocolate topping that's spread onto your cooled brownies. When I made these to enjoy myself, I chose to use semisweet chocolate for my topping (because again, dark chocolate is not really my thing), but I'll share the recipe with dark chocolate used for the topping for all of my dark chocolate lovers! Just know that you can absolutely swap in a different type of chocolate for your topping if you'd like.
For the caramel, I used these caramels from Kraft, but you could use any caramel that is soft enough to eat as a candy but firm enough to hold in your hand. For the dark chocolate, I used these extra dark chocolate chips from Guittard and cannot recommend them enough. I also like to use Valrhona's cocoa powder because I love the taste of it, but any cocoa powder will do!
1 stick unsalted butter (8 tablespoons, 1/2 cup)
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips (4 oz)
1/3 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Salted caramel & chocolate topping:
12 pieces of caramel candy (3.5 ounces / 100 grams or about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup dark chocolate (6 oz)
Flakey salt (optional)
Total time: About three hours Prep time: Less than 30 minutes Bake time: 24-26 minutes
Cool time: About two hours in total
Servings: 16 brownies
9x9 square pan (or 8x8)
Whisk and spatula (or large spoon)
Mesh strainer or sifter
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Make your brownies. In a medium bowl, melt your stick of butter in the microwave. Add in all of your chocolate, stir to coat your chocolate with the melted butter, and then place back into the microwave for another 15-30 seconds. Leave your mixture be for about a minute, and then stir to combine your chocolate and butter fully. It may seem like it won't combine at first, but keep going until your mixture is smooth. Set your bowl aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, add in your eggs and extra yolk and both sugars. Whisk your eggs and sugars together until you see the mixture lighten in color and thicken in texture - a couple of minutes of vigorous whisking.
Add in your vanilla and vegetable oil and continue to whisk for another minute.
Then, pour in your fully combined chocolate and butter mixture (it should be warm, not hot, to the touch). Whisk until your mixture is fully combined, and use a spatula or large spoon to reach down to the bottom of your bowl. At this point, you'll incorporate your dry ingredients. I recommend sifting your flour, salt, and cocoa powder into your bowl. I used a mesh strainer held over my wet ingredients, and once you add your dry ingredients to it you can lightly tap the sides of the strainer with one hand while holding the handle in the other to sift your dry ingredients clump free into your wet ingredients. Using a spatula or large spoon to fold your dry ingredients in, moving slowly.
Line a 9x9in square pan (or you can use an 8x8 pan and increase the cook time a bit) with parchment paper and then dollop in your mixture. You can use any flat tool, or even a spoon, to lightly spread your mixture so that it's even across your pan. Place your brownies into the oven and bake for 24-26 minutes. You'll know they're done when you see a shiny top form and if you wiggle the pan the center doesn't move (or barely does) showing you that your brownies have set.
Remove your pan from the oven and allow your brownies to cool, about an hour at room temperature.
Next, make your topping and finish your brownies. In a small or medium bowl, add your cup of chocolate and tablespoon of butter. Your chocolate should be chips or a chopped bar. Set this aside.
Get your vanilla extract and salt ready to go, as you'll want to add them quickly once your caramel is melted.
Into a pot on your stovetop, add your caramel pieces, water, and final tablespoon of butter. Bring your stovetop to a low to medium heat. Stand with your caramel the entire time, and use a rubber or wooden tool to stir continuously as your caramel melts. Once your caramel mixture is completely smooth, remove your pot from the stovetop immediately.
Add in your salt and vanilla extract to your melted caramel mixture and stir to combine completely. Set aside, and move quickly through your next steps to ensure your caramel stays pourable.
Place your chocolate and butter that you set aside previously into the microwave for about 30 seconds to begin melting. Remove, stir, and place back into the microwave for intervals of 15 seconds stirring each time until the chocolate is completely smooth.
Pour your chocolate and butter mixture onto your cooled brownies and spread smooth using a flat tool or spoon.
Grab your caramel and pour it over your chocolate topping in lines all the way across. Then, use a sharp tool or knife to draw swirls however you would like through your chocolate and caramel. At this point, you can sprinkle some flakey salt on top before your topping sets!
Allow your topping to set for about an hour at room temperature, and then use a sharp knife to slice your brownies into 16 squares.
You can store your brownies in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for about 5 days (they will last a bit longer in the fridge). You can also freeze your brownies to keep them for longer. Brownies are one of those desserts that do truly freeze well once baked so don't be afraid to pop some into the freezer if you don't think you'll finish the batch within a few days.
Carb and serving info:
Carbs per serving (1 of 16): 31 Carbs for full recipe: 499 Carbs from chocolate: 146
Carbs from caramel: 72
Note: Carb information is calculated based on the specific ingredients I used to cook with to help guide my own insulin to carb ratio when dosing before I eat my home cooked recipes.