Rich has been hankering for a caramel brownie for a few months now. Something always seemed to get in the way – a lack of ingredients, a glut of Christmas cookies or a need to make something else for a party or other obligation. Finally the stars aligned this weekend to satisfy his craving.
Our creation on Saturday started with a long-ago Cooking Light recipe for Caramel Fudge Brownies. We have since lost it, but it served as the inspiration for the brownies we made. The original brownies were more of a brownie crust with a caramel filling, and they were heavenly. If you ate just one, they did actually qualify as light, at least for a dessert. I don’t think we ever ate just one. Our weekend version ended up as dark, fudgy brownies with a thick ribbon of caramel, punctuated by a pool of chocolate here and there from the chocolate chips. They do not qualify as light.
We made the swirl with the last bit of the salted caramel Rich got for Christmas from his parents. It was divine, but you can certainly use regular grocery store caramels for this (we will have to next time, since the fancy stash is now gone).
I am not including a recipe, but more of a method. We started with a half recipe of One Bowl Brownies. I did fudge (pun intended) on the eggs a bit and used two. The full recipe calls for three and I didn’t want to mess with dividing an egg. I also took Rich’s suggestion and used the full amount of vanilla instead of cutting it in half. I baked the half recipe in a 9-inch square pan for about 25 minutes total.
While the brownies started baking, I melted about three ounces of caramels and a splash of milk in the microwave for about 30 seconds, or until they were melted. I estimate that is about the equivalent of eight grocery store caramels. Next time I will use about twice that to get more caramel swirls. After the brownies were half-baked, I drizzled them with the melted caramel and sprinkled them with about ¼ cup of dark chocolate chips. I put the whole concoction back in the oven for 15 minutes, until the middle was set and the edges were pulling away from the pan.
Restrain yourself for at least 30 minutes, so the brownies can set up a bit before you cut them. If you have any leftovers you can zap them in the microwave for a few seconds to get them warm and melty before you eat them.
This experiment was as successful as our cream cheese brownie recipe. We have also made spicy s’mores brownies that were a huge success. I am already thinking of other ways we can jazz up plain Jane brownies the next time we feel the need – brownie sundaes, almond paste-filled brownies, mint brownies, double chocolate brownies, triple chocolate brownies…