Salted caramel + brownies = heaven. This is made using a simple Australian way to make caramel from scratch. No candy thermometer, and the caramel soft sets rather than running all over the place. Start your diet NEXT Monday!
Caramel + Brownies in itself isn’t an original idea and if you do a Google search, you’ll find plenty. And I would have used an existing recipe if I found what I was after, but every recipe I came across either:
1. used store bought caramel;
2. the caramel was runny, more like a caramel sauce, usually drizzled on top of the brownie; or
3. required a candy thermometer to get the caramel to the exact temperature so it would soft set rather than ending up runny OR cooking it too far so it ends up like hard toffee.
While I do have a candy thermometer, it’s just not my style to use it for day to day cooking. And I very specifically wanted a soft layer of caramel inside the brownie rather than runny caramel drizzled on top.
Like this. Look at that thick, generous, SOFT layer of caramel…..
I am a frustrating combination of a foodie with a stubborn streak. When I get an idea into my head of something I want to create, I get an unhealthy obsession to make it happen. If you only knew of the epic disasters my kitchen has seen….
This Salted Caramel Stuffed Brownie is one such obsession. All I can say is that I’m thankful to have plenty of sweet-tooth friends who were happy to take the failed attempts, even when they were a complete mess. There was one that was such a mess it had to be eaten with a SPOON out of the PAN. Seriously!
The caramel for this brownie is made using condensed milk. Simmer it with a bit of butter and golden syrup (or maple syrup) and it turns into a pale golden brown, then it sets and becomes a darker colour when baked. It’s an “Australian way” of making caramel which is traditionally used in Caramel Slices (cheesecake style coconut crumb base topped with caramel then chocolate. It is SO GOOD. I’ll share that soon!)
It proved impossible to create a neat layer of the caramel in the brownie, but I’m totally cool with that. It might not be the neatest looking slice in the world, but it tastes just as it should – indulgent, rich, gooey chocolate brownie with rich, smooth, soft salted caramel with a surface that has little bits of ever so slightly chewy caramel.
Words fail me to describe how good these are.
What are you waiting for? Get into your kitchen and make these!! Our diet can start on Monday!
PS I am based in Australia and one of the reasons I don’t post much sweet baking recipes is because of the difference between cup and tablespoon measures between the US, UK, Australia and other parts of the world. Unlike most savory cooking, cakes etc require very exact measurements. However, this recipe is very forgiving and will work whether you are using US, Australian or UK measures. I made this using both (i.e. US and UK/Aus which are very close).
- 7 oz/200g unsalted butter
- 7 oz/200g dark chocolate (US - semi sweet chocolate chips, Aus - melting chocolate) (Note 1)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs, lightly whisked
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (or essence)
- ½ cup plain flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- Pinch of salt
- 14oz / 395g can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tbsp golden syrup or maple syrup (Note 2)
- 2 oz / 60 g unsalted butter
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 170C/340F.
- Butter and line a 8 x 8” / 20 x 20 cm square tin with parchment (baking) paper.
- Place the butter and chocolate in a bowl placed over a small amount of simmering water in a pot. (Note 3) Leave it until the chocolate and butter are melted – about 5 minutes. Mix to combine until smooth, then remove the bowl from the pot and allow to cool slightly – 5 minutes.
- Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract into the chocolate and mix well to combine. Add the flour, cocoa powder and salt and mix until just combined.
- Measure out ½ cup of brownie batter and set aside. Pour the remaining batter into the prepared tin.
- Pour over the Salted Caramel, spreading it to cover the brownie batter.
- Dollop the reserved ½ cup of brownie batter randomly over the Salted Caramel. Use a knife or skewer to make “swirls” (see photo below).
- Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes (for very gooey brownie) to 30 minutes (for moist but not gooey brownies). I baked the one in the photos for 28 minutes. (Note 4)
- Leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a rack (Note 5). Once cooled, cut into 16 squares.
- Place the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Stir occasionally for the first 1 minute, then when it is heated (when you see wisps of steam), whisk constantly (leisurely, not vigorously!) for 7 minutes. (Note 6) It should be a very pale golden colour.
- Remove from stove and whisk for 30 seconds. (Note 6)
2. Golden syrup is like a cross between honey and molasses – it is thick and sweet (but not as thick as molasses). It is mainly used for colour in this recipe so you can substitute with maple syrup, or even leave it out.
3. Get a pot and a glass or metal bowl that are the right size so that the bowl will sit in the opening of the pot without touching the bottom of the pot. Pour in 1 inch/2 cm of water into the pot and bring to simmer on the stove over medium low heat. Place the bowl into the opening of the pot, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. The heat from the simmer water will gently melt the chocolate and butter, ensuring that the chocolate doesn’t burn.
Alternatively, you could microwave the chocolate and butter in 30 second bursts, stirring in between until melted and smooth.
4. The baking time for this brownie is slightly longer than the time when you are making a plain brownie because of the caramel layer which means it takes longer for the brownie to cook.
5. This is how I turn out cakes from pans: place a cutting board on top of the pan. Flip it so the brownie comes out. Peel off the parchment/baking paper. Place a cooling rack on the base then flip it again. Then the brownie will be on the rack, right side up!
6. The condensed milk has a tendency to catch on the bottom of the saucepan which will result in golden bits stirred throughout. Don’t despair if this happens, you will barely notice it once baked. But you do need to whisk consistently to ensure you don’t end up with a sticky, burnt mess in the saucepan!
6. The brownie batter in this recipe is my “go to” brownie. You can make just the brownie if you want!
7. Tablespoon and cup measures differ from country to country. For this recipe, the difference is not enough to impact it. I have made it with both US and Australian/UK measures and could not tell the difference.
Nutrition per brownie, assuming you cut it into 16 squares as directed, rather than into 4 very large squares (tempting as that might be).