Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Salted Caramel Brownies



Velvety and rich. Utterly decadent. Seductive.

I'm not sure you can even call these brownies - they're so soft and smooth they're almost truffles.



A few weeks ago I found myself in Paul A. Young's Soho shop. As well as buying a box of his chocolates to sample (they were excellent), I bought a brownie. A salted caramel, cocoa nib and white chocolate brownie.

It was so rich, so precious, that I ate it over two days. A slither with tea. A corner for pudding.



The craving set in the moment I ate the last chunk. I had to make some myself.

My quest was made considerably easier by the fact that I'd been given Paul A. Young's book for my 21st birthday. The book has a recipe for bing cherry and coconut brownies. A bit of tweaking and salted caramel and cocoa nib perfection was mine.



I didn't fancy adding in the white chocolate but if you do, I'd go for about 50g of chunks strewn across the top before you swirl. I made double the caramel recipe below to have some spare for another night (and to counteract the inevitable spoons that somehow find their way into my mouth).

I know cocoa nibs aren't always easy to find (I came across some in Whole Foods) but if you can they work brilliantly here - a slightly bitter crunch against all that silky sweet chocolate and caramel.

My friend Becky came over for bread and brownies last night. When we bit into the first pieces our chatter stopped and silence fell. For a few minutes we sat quietly on the sofa, caught by the flavours, exploring the texture. You know food is good when conversation stops and you lose track of your words.



Salted Caramel Brownies
(adapted from Paul A Young's Adventures with Chocolate)

For the caramel:
75g white caster sugar
50ml double cream
10g unsalted butter
1/8 tsp fleur de sel/good sea salt

For the brownie:
100g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
100g light brown sugar
75g golden syrup
275g quality 70% dark chocolate
4 eggs
70g plain flour
small handful of cocoa nibs

Tip the sugar into a big heavy-bottomed pan in an even layer. Place over medium-high heat. Wait until the edges start to liquify 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 unmelted sugar into the liquid bits until you just have a liquid. Keep cooking until it reaches a deep golden-bronze, almost the colour 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 160C/325F. Line a 20x20cm tin (at least 2.5cm tall) 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 throughly until very smooth. Pour into the prepared tin.

By now your caramel should be gloriously thick, as in the picture above. 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. Serve cold, warm or at room temperature - up to you!

(Makes about 16-20 small but rich squares)

NOTE 19/02 - I've found these freeze really well and come out perfect & ready to eat if you like them cold - they've generally firmed over time. I think the flavours have intermingled and improved too.



Three more caramel posts:
Caramel Popcorn
Cider Caramel, Sautéed Apples & Cinnamon Ice Cream
Butterfly Salted Caramel Cake

65 comments:

  1. I might have to declare this your best post yet, Emma! These look absolutely amazing and unlike any other brownie I've seen.

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  2. Oh goodness why would you torment me with this when I am trying to have a 'healthy eating' week. /day. /hour.

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  3. Oh my. These look devilishly good. I love cocoa nibs, I love salted caramel and I love brownies. So I have no choice but to make these!

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  4. Emma, these look so dangerously delish! How can you do that to us! That photo of the spoon in the caramel is pure decadence:)
    -E

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  5. I'm with Steph. Holy shit. These look like... the creamiest silkiest most delicious things ever!

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  6. They look amazing! I feel a bit faint just looking at them.

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  7. Wow, had to fight myself to not try licking the screen! May have to cry to myself while eating my apple, dreaming of these brownies...

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  8. They look incredible. I too was in Paul A Young recently and was tempted by those same brownies. I have to make these very very soon! Thank you!

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  9. I just almost licked my screen....

    Thank you!
    xx

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  10. Totally agree with the comments above - these do look absolutely amazing. I love anything with salted caramel and the crunch of cocoa nibs is such a great addition. You can get them in the chocolate shop on the corner of Borough Market (which I think is part of Hotel Chocolat) if you're ever looking for them again :-)

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  11. they look amazing. when i make these, i don't think i'm sharing with anyone...... :)

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  12. Oh my, these sound mouthwateringly, lusciously good! These are so on the to do/eat list...

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  13. Oh my! I am stuck for words! How good are these! I am salivating!

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  14. Delicious! Really fudgey looking and oh how I adore salted caramel. Who doesnt right??

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  15. I absolutely adore Paul A. Young's book and his brownies are my favourite. How lucky you are to be able to step into his store *cries*.

    But omg, salted caramel just took these brownies off the charts. I'd push over old ladies for a piece!

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  16. Oh my god...these look amazing!!! Chocolate and salted caramel....I'm in heaven.

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  17. This looks wonderful and I'm all for small and delicious than large pieces of sugary goo.

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  18. Goodness, these look so delectable as do all of your photos. I've heard about Paul's brownies, I've got the book but have never tried one. It looks like yours might be even better.

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  19. Emma, the brownies look delicious and I'd love to make them myself but I'm confused. The ingredient list includes 4 eggs, but the instructions don't mention them at all. When do they go in?

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    1. Oh dear! Sorry about that - must have slipped my mind in the sugar coma. You break the eggs up in another bowl then beat them in after the chocolate and before the flour. I'll update the recipe - thank for pointing it out!

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    2. No problem, thank you for responding so fast!

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  20. Kulsum - Can't wait to hear how it goes!

    Madison Mayberry - They're quite different but oh so good. Glad you like it!

    Elly - Apologies for the torture ;)

    Stephcookie - No choice at all! They're addictive and amazing - would love to see what you thought of them!

    Erin - They are pretty damn dangerous, I have to admit! Apologies for the temptation.

    Steph (desserts for breakfast)- Hehe!

    Kaitlin - :D creamiest silkiest is a good description.

    Suz - They make me a bit faint too! Glad you like them.

    Kate@whatkatebaked - I struggled for words too :)

    Claire from Best Sunday Roast - There seems to have been quite a lot of screen-licking going on... Hope they didn't actually reduce you to tears!

    Annie - It's a wonderful shop, isn't it. Hope you enjoy them.

    Liz B - Hehe sadly I don't think the screen has a taste function!

    thelittleloaf - Good to know for the cocoa nibs, I love the Rabot Estate shop. I saw them on amazon too.

    amy - They're pretty rich! I'm keeping them in the freezer and nibbling through slowly.

    Marie - Glad you've put them on the list - they really are mouthwatering.

    German - Thanks, it's a great recipe :)

    Marcellina - Hehe they do tend to take away your words! Enjoy.

    Karen | Citrus and Candy - Hope there aren't too many old ladies on the flight here then ;)

    Jennifer (Delicieux) - Glad you like them, they are pretty damn delicious.

    Domestic Executive - Definitely - I served teeny inch wide squares to a friend after dessert with tea the other day - they're perfect to have a tiny bit of as they're so incredibly rich.

    Choclette - Definitely give one a go, they're amazing. I think he does a few flavours - these were the Valentines special so I don't know if they'll still be in shops.

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  21. Oh my, these look absolutely wonderful!! Salted caramel brownies was the first recipe I wrote on my blog all those months ago but these look so much better. I think the cocoa nib are a brilliant idea as they will cut through the sweet caramel and add texture. Double thumbs up.

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  22. Just made these, they are AMAZING (already feel ill from eating too many...). Through the eggs in at the end and it came out just fine. The same with the salt in the caramel, which I think you left off the recipe too.
    I will have to make a trip to Paul A Young's shop, I've only ever managed to walk past when it's been closed.
    Great to know you can buy cocoa nibs on Amazon, I always trek up to Whole Foods.

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  23. ruthie@thetwicebitten - The cocoa nibs really do add something - I love contrast in things like this. I'll have to have a look at yours too :)

    Alex - Oh no - I'm so sorry! I added the salt in at the end with the butter, can't believe I was that forgetful, I'm really embarrassed. Glad you love them though! It's definitely worth a visit, the chocolates are delicious.

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  24. Hmmmmmm yummy! On adore ça chez Lily Kitchenette <3

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  25. mine came out really soft... you have to eat it with a spoon! It has been in the fridge overnight and then in the freezer for like 12 hours. Any idea of what could have gone wrong? It was very wobbly when it came out of the oven. Still tastes amazing tho!

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  26. Lily Kitchenette - Thanks, glad you like them!

    Filoner - They are really soft - not like normal cakey brownies but more like truffles or ganache. I've found after a few days in the freezer they firmed up quite a bit. But still, they're more like toffee/truffle than cake or a chewy bar - they should hold their shape when cut though. Glad you like the taste!

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  27. This looks incredibly perfect. I am SO having to make these otherwise I don't think I would ever forgive myself!!!

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  29. Hi, these looks AMAZING! What can you use instead of cocoa nibs? Liz x

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    1. Liz - So sorry that I didn't pick this up in March. In case you do happen to come back or anyone else is interested: I'm not really sure. They're quite unique - adding crunch and a smoky chocolate flavour. I guess the easiest thing to do would be to leave them out completely.

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  30. My caramel is crumbly! What went wrong?? I sooo want to eat these though!! xxx

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    1. Anon - Oh dear! Sorry to hear that. Is the crumble white or caramel coloured? This is a good guide with step photos to making a dry caramel like this. Overenthusiastic stirring is probably the cause. Perhaps try putting it over a low heat and try to melt it - don't stir. Hopefully it'll slowly liquify again and then you can turn the heat up to caramelise it fully. If not I'm afraid it's probably best to try again. Hope it goes well!

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    2. Well when I put the cream in it went an opaquey colour. I don't have a whisk i can use in my pan so it was probably the stirring! Thank you for the quick response! xxx

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    3. Ahh I see - it can do that it you don't whisk it in fast enough, go in sort of large lumps - it should be opaque (as in the photo at the top) but shouldn't be crumbly? Hope that helps.

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  31. I was looking through the web for a caramel brownie and your recipe looks delicious. A quick question, the number of eggs in this recipe is worrying me; wouldn't the batter be too liquid?

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    1. Hi - I've checked back with my notebook and the book I adapted them from and it is four eggs. It is a very liquid batter and the brownies are very gooey and almost like a truffle - they're definitely not cakey. I'd love to hear what happens if you try with three eggs. Hope that helps.

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  32. OMG these are amazing! I'm organising an Alice in Wonderland tea party for my daughter's birthday and came across this. I made them yesterday to try them and wow! Really like pecans and salted caramel so swopped the cocoa nibs for pecans. They turned out great! Can i just ask for freezing is it best to freeze them in pieces or one big slab?
    Thanks so much for this amazing recipe!

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    1. Pecans sound like a delicious addition! I froze them cut up on a sheet, then put them into a bag separated with bits of baking paper. Hope that helps.

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    2. That's great thanks so much! I keep sneaking to the fridge for little bites yum!

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  33. These sound incredible - I am massively into my salted caramel at the moment, so may just try these out!

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  34. These look amazing. I tried a Paul A Young brownie for the first time at the weekend and they are amazing. Like you I ate it in stages so I could savour each amazing slice. They were unlike any brownies I've ever eaten before. I will certainly have to try this recipe.

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  35. These look great, I got converted to Paul A Young brownies just before I left London (annoyingly, since I'd been living around Angel for over a year!) and definitely miss them now.

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  36. These look incredible! I'm going to try making them tomorrow night. :-)

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  37. I recently made these, they were wonderful- I love your site, there are so many great recipes!

    http://thesugarlump.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/salted-caramel-brownies.html

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  38. oh my hat I just died a little inside. Putting these on the to do list!

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  39. I made a wheat-free version of these on the weekend. They were amazing.

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  40. poiresauchocolat27 March 2013 16:07

    I'm glad you like them! How did you make them wheat-free?

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  41. I just made them last night. They were almost as good as Paul's! My caramel went a bit dry and sticky in the oven though, a little tweaking and I bet it'd be perfect. Thanks for the amazing recipe Emma!

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  42. Rebecca @ Sprinkle with Sage22 April 2013 15:11

    Hey Emma,
    These were fantastic! I made them here, what do you think? Thanks for an awesome recipe.

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  43. I forgot to leave
    a message after baking this a few weeks ago! But it was a MAJOR success. I left
    out the cocoa nibs (as I didn't have any), but added lemon zest to the dough. I
    loved the caramel on top, and everyone at the party loved it too.

    So thank you fora great recipe, I will most definitely be making this again!

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  44. Hi Emma,
    I'd love to make these, however, I can't get golden syrup where I live. I googled around a bit, and the most common recommendation is to substitute with honey. I'd prefer not to put any honey in because I don't think it would be the greatest flavour combination, so I was wondering if I could just increase the amount of brown sugar? Do you reckon that would work?
    Thanks in advance!

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  45. poiresauchocolat17 June 2013 17:59

    Hi Franziska,

    Sorry it has taken me a few days to reply, I've been offline on holiday. The reason the golden syrup is in there is that it is a syrup rather than crystals, which changes the texture. Honey does the same job, but as you say it does have a flavour. Can you get liquid glucose? They sell it here in the UK - here for instance. If not then do try the brown sugar but I'm not sure how the texture will change :) Hope that helps!

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  46. My wife whipped us up a batch of these today and I am in awe, they are exactly like Paul's, which we spent over £30 on to have delivered a few weeks ago! She just made the plain version(no caramel etc), I normally take the leftovers I to work but these are going I the freezer :D they are like chocolate butter. Thanks for the recipe I'm now going to buy the book. BEST BROWNIE I'VE EVER TASTED

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  47. Making them right now. Excited!

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  48. Sara Jung-Claßen16 January 2014 14:28

    I just made these as a thank-you for my in-laws after they helped us out of a bit of a pickle and OMG, these are the best. If I never had to eat anything but these, I wouldn't mind at all. Thank you so much!

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  49. Sahar Hawasli29 March 2014 05:31

    I am sure it tastes as beautiful as it looks... Thank you for sharing.

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  50. Hi Emma, I made these for my friend's 25th and they were devoured within seconds. Thanks for the great recipe!

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  51. Emma, thanks for this, these were a joy to make and even better to eat! Brought them into work today and they lasted minutes!

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  52. That's great! Thanks for letting me know.

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