For all their seeming simplicity, brownies can be one of the trickiest desserts to get just right. Just one little thing can make the different between perfectly chewy, chocolatey slices of decadence and just OK squares of cocoa that are somehow both too heavy and too dry. We think we’ve finally found the perfect answer with this recipe from Food and Wine. Its combination of homemade salted caramel, cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate, and unexpected touches like maple syrup take these brownies to the next level.
– 2 cups sugar
– 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
– 1 cup heavy whipping cream
– 1 tablespoon sea salt
– 3/4 cup flour
– 1/2 cup cocoa powder
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 cup butter, melted
– 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
– 1 tablespoon maple syrup
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 2 eggs, beaten
– 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Note: If you don’t have superfine sugar, you can make some at home! For every cup of superfine sugar you need, put one cup of granulated sugar plus two teaspoons into a food processer and run for 30 seconds. For this recipe, you’ll put 1 3/4 cups of granulated sugar into the food processer with 3 1/2 teaspoons of granulated sugar to get the 1 3/4 cups of superfine sugar you need. Check out this explanation of the difference between regular and superfine sugar at the kitchn.
Caramel lasts for two weeks in the fridge, so you can make this part in advance.
- Melt the sugar in a large, deep saucepan over medium-high heat, swirling the pan often to ensure it’s all incorporated and melted. Do not stir or whisk the sugar.
- When the sugar is melted, let it simmer for 4 or 5 minutes, until it becomes a golden amber color.
- As soon as the sugar turns to an amber color, add the butter and whisk until melted and combined. The mixture will foam and boil. Be careful: the caramel will be extremely hot.
- Carefully remove the mixture from the heat, and whisk in the cream until completely blended and smooth.
- Whisk in the sea salt, and set it aside for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, pour the caramel into an airtight jar and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease an 8×8-pan, and line it with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda.
- In a separate bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar, maple and vanilla extract.
- Add the beaten eggs to the butter-sugar mixture, and whisk to combine.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until smooth.
- Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared pan and spoon 3 tablespoons of salted caramel over the top of the brownie batter.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until cooked through but still nice and chewy. Test with a toothpick, making sure it comes out clean from the brownies.
- Rest brownies in the pan on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before removing.
- Carefully remove the brownies from the pan and cut into 9 equal pieces.
You can use the extra salted caramel to top the brownies, along with a scoop (or two!) of vanilla ice cream— or just gobble them up! Delicious either way! What’s your favorite way to enjoy brownies?