Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Salted Caramel Blackberry Brownies

Blackberry Brownies
recipe adapted from Food Mouth
makes one 8" square pan
55g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
52g (1/4 cup) coconut oil, melted
70g (approx. 1/3 cup) granulated sugar
100g (approx 1/2 cup) golden brown sugar
85g (3/4 cup) extra dark cocoa powder*
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
85g (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
170g (6 oz.) blackberries
3/4 cup salted caramel sauce (see recipe to follow)
*60g natural unsweetened cocoa powder + 25g instant coffee powder

Subbed 30% cocoa powder with instant coffee powder.
Whisk together sugars, cocoa powder and melted oil.
Whisk in eggs and vanilla until smooth.
Sift in dry ingredients.
Fold in blackberries.

Pour into prepared pan.
Do not drizzle salted caramel as shown.
1. PREP: Preheat oven to 350F and line a 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
2. WET: Melt butter and coconut oil using double boiler or microwave. Combine sugars and cocoa powder in bowl and stir in butter/oil until smooth.
3. Add eggs and vanilla, incorporating until smooth.
4. DRY: Sift baking powder, salt, and flour in separate bowl. Stir in wet mixture until almost combined.
5. BERRIES: Fold blackberries in.
6. ASSEMBLE: Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spoon caramel over top in an even layer. Spread remaining brownie batter on top.**
7. BAKE: Bake 25-30 minutes until a tester comes out clean.
**Did one layer and drizzled caramel on top. Do not do this as caramel burns ):

Burnt caramel?
Fresh out of oven.

Salted Caramel Sauce
recipe adapted from Made with Chobani
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp butter, unsalted, cut into pieces
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
Swirl sugar around pan until evenly caramelized.
Final product- darker than I wanted.
1. HEAT: Place sugar and salt in a medium sized pot and turn on medium high heat. Do not stir. Swirl pan to avoid sugar burning.
2. KEEP AN EYE ON THIS: Let sugar come up to 315° or till it turns red-brown. Once sugar has reached desired temperature/color, remove from heat.
3. WHISK: Add cream all at once and whisk to incorporate. Then add butter and whisk to incorporate.
4. COOL: Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. 

I never had blackberries in brownies, but this combo works! The tartness of the blackberries is refreshing and resets the palette with each bite against the rich and indulgent chocolate. Since I didn't have enough cocoa powder, I took a leap of faith and subbed almost 30% with instant coffee powder. The batter smelled absolutely delicious and the result is serendipitous. The coffee cuts down the sweetness and intensifies the chocolate in these brownies, making it more grown up friendly.

I doubt this is the first time I make salted caramel, but I really can't recall when was the last time. I am happy to say though that this latest (and possibly first) attempt of salted caramel was a success! I don't have a candy thermometer so I timed everything based on color. My sugar actually started to sizzle and bubble when it was near red brown which could've been a sign that it was burning. The salted caramel has the faintest burnt taste, but it could be me being paranoid from the sizzling.

Also, lesson learned- do not bake salted caramel. it burns! I got lazy trying to spread the first thin layer and dumped the idea of sandwiching caramel in between the batter. I should've just left it out all together and drizzled it on post bake. The salted caramel drizzle ended up turning slightly dark in the oven and added a slightly roasted flavor (or bitterness?) to the brownies. 

Taste: 3.5 stars out of 5
Rich and intense chocolate flavor without any melted chocolate! Roasted coffee flavor. Slightly bitter from burnt caramel.
Texture: 4 stars out of 5 
Enjoyed these both fresh out of the oven and chilled. When hot/warm, it's extremely moist resembling a molten chocolate lava cake. I prefer them chilled when the berries are cold and the brownie texture is dense and fudgy.

Sweet tooth satisfied.

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