Caramel Brownies

I am going away on Wednesday. Home, to be precise. For the first time in a year. To say I am excited is to underestimate my capacity for excitedness. I have a day of fieldwork and focus groups tomorrow and then I will be free, for three whole weeks. Of course I mean this in a PhD-free kind of way which means that there are books and transcriptions going with me as I cannot actually not work for three whole weeks. But I will be working in the sun. And there might be a thunderstorm. And there will be steak. And wine with bubbles. And friends.

But first there are these brownies. I know. This blog has at least four brownie recipes on it – and at least two other caramel brownie recipes. If you think a fifth is too many, I apologise and we can part ways now. But if you choose to stay, you will not be disappointed. These brownies are epic. Bitter, truffley, chocolateness rounded out with a salted caramel finish.

And they’re wheat-free. You see, the other thing I’ve been doing in the last few weeks of silence is not eating wheat. There. I said it. I feel like a traitor. This blog, after all, is about the good things in life. But I’ve decided to do an experiment and go wheat-free for a month. I want to see where I end up. The good news is that I still feel compelled to eat chocolate brownies. We’re not going all salads and vegetables on this blog. I’m just adapting things. And experimenting. So, about these caramel brownies.

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This recipe is adapted from one on Poires au Chocolat, a blog I read fairly regularly. It’s entertaining and the recipes always look like something out of a shop. Emma’s recipe has regular flour in it though so I experimented with ground almonds and spelt flour and have ended up with truffle-like brownies, almost bitter from chocolate but cut through with the sweetness of the caramel. (Although there’s a bitterness to my caramel too because I took it quite far along the caramel stage…) One is enough but there is the temptation of a second. The texture is just insane.

Caramel Brownies

Adapted from Poires au Chocolat

For the caramel:

75g golden caster sugar

60g double cream

10g unsalted butter

1/8tsp sea salt

For the brownies:

100g butter, unsalted

200g golden caster sugar

50g dark brown sugar

275g dark chocolate, 70%

4 eggs

40g ground almonds

30g refined spelt flour

Make the caramel first by placing the golden caster sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. (I use golden caster sugar because that is what I have in stock but beware, it reaches caramel stage faster than ordinary caster sugar). Heat, without interfering, until the sugar starts to caramelize around the edges, then swirl the pan to distribute the melting sugar. Continue to swirl as the sugar darkens and cook until it’s a deep golden colour. Take it off the heat and pour in the cream. Stir and return to the heat if necessary to combine and melt the last of the sugar. Add in the butter and lastly sprinkle on the sea salt. Leave to one side to cool.

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Preheat the oven to 160C. Melt the butter, sugars, and golden syrup together until the sugars have dissolved and everything is combined.

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Chop the chocolate roughly and add in to the mixture, off the heat. Leave to sit for a few minutes before stirring. Beat the eggs lightly and then beat into the mixture. Lastly fold in the ground almonds and spelt flour, be careful not to over-mix as there is a risk the mixture will split. Pour this into a lined baking tin (either square or rectangular will do). Pour the caramel over the brownie mixture.

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Use a knife to swirl the caramel mixture into the brownie mixture. Bake for about 30 minutes. You want the mixture to be set, so it wobbles like a custard or chocolate tart. If you over-bake it you’ll lose the truffle-like texture. A knife inserted won’t come out clean. Leave the brownies to cool in the tin and then place them in the freezer overnight.

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The brownies will be risen when you take them from the oven but will sink back down once cooled and will pull away from the sides of the tin and shrink slightly in the freezer. Allow to thaw slightly before slicing into squares. Store them in the freezer, individually wrapped in baking paper and clingfilm. Allow them to thaw for about 15 minutes before eating.

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