Salted Caramel Crack Brownies
Find me someone who doesn’t like these and I’ll deliver you a batch myself. Deeply chocolatey brownies with a burst of melting salted caramel. I make a super-simple and speedy caramel that cools quickly, and gets chopped up and sunk into the top of the brownie mixture. The caramel melts into the brownie as it cooks and leaves little pools of chewy warm fudgy caramel throughout the perfectly crusted brownies. Sounds delicious … and I can assure you they are. The first time I made these I had to make a second batch the same afternoon, as they were eaten in a flash (not all by me). We all have a vice. These are mine.
I have tried to keep these a little lighter loaded here by using rye flour and suggesting coconut oil as an alternative to butter – it will give a slight coconut taste, which I like. I use unrefined sugar, either light brown muscovado for a dense super-fudgy effect, or coconut sugar, which works too, though not for the caramel. But let’s not pretend, these are the treat they should be.
MAKES 12 GOOD-SIZED BROWNIES
FOR THE SALTED CARAMEL
50g unsalted butter or coconut oil, plus a little for greasing
100g unrefined golden caster sugar
a hearty pinch of flaky sea salt (about 1⁄4 teaspoon)
3 tablespoons milk (I use coconut or almond)
FOR THE BROWNIES
150g dark chocolate (70%)
150g unsalted butter or coconut oil
250g unrefined golden caster sugar or light muscovado sugar
3 organic or free-range eggs
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract or the seeds from 1 vanilla pod
100g rye flour, or light spelt or plain flour
First make the caramel. Lay a piece of baking paper over a shallow tray andrub the upper surface of the paper with oil. Put the sugar into a pan and place on a medium heat. Watching it carefully, let it heat and melt until almost all the sugar grains have gone. Then quickly pull the pan off the heat, add your butter or coconut oil, and beat off the heat for a minute or so. Add the salt and coconut milk and beat again. Pop back on the heat for 2–3 minutes and beat vigorously until the mixture has darkened and thickened and any sugary lumps have gone. Pour on to the greased paper and place in the freezer to harden for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4, and butter and line a small brownie tin with baking paper (mine is 20 × 20 cm but anything around that will do).
While the caramel is chilling, make your brownie mix. Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Add the chocolate and the butter or coconut oil and let them melt, stirring from time to time. Once melted, take the bowl off the heat and stir in the sugar, followed by the eggs, one by one, and finally the vanilla and the flour.
Once your caramel has hardened, take it out of the fridge. Chop a third of it into small pieces and stir into the brownie mix. Chop the rest into chunky 1cm pieces.
Pour the brownie mix into the lined tin and scatter over the larger chunks of salted caramel. Bake for 25 minutes, until just cooked – a crust will have formed on top and the caramel will have melted into deep amber pools. Leave to cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting. I know this will be hard, but the caramel will be very hot.
These will keep for 4 days in an airtight tin. I dare you to make them last an afternoon