I have a nemesis. Its boxed brownies. Being a guy that likes to make everything homemade, the problem is this, boxed brownies always come out perfect. I could never make any brownies that match up. This goes double for my wife. Of the countless homemade brownies I have made over the years she has never loved or sometimes even liked them. I have tried the Cooks Illustrated brownies. They didn’t go over well. I have also made cheesecake brownies, peanut butter cup brownies, and countless other brownies. None of these were any good for my sweetheart.
I kept searching all the recipe blogs I follow for something that sounded like a solution. Then I started to hear of some brownies from a bakery called Baked. The owners of that bakery have published two books, which I found at our local library. I checked them out and found that there are two brownie recipes in them. One was their original brownie recipe and the other was a sweet and salty brownie recipe, essentially the original recipe with tasty salty gooey caramel in the center.
Having thought the sweet and salty version was up my alley, I decided to make this for my wife and her family. I wanted to see if it would pass the test. She was skeptical as always. That was until she went back for seconds! We all licked the pan clean in a matter of minutes. I believe I finally found the best brownies recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as my wife and I do.
Sweet and Salty Brownie aka. Best Brownies Ever
Caramel Filling Ingredients
- 1 C. sugar
- 2 T. light corn syrup
- 1/2 C. heavy cream
- 1 t. Fleur de Sel (I don’t have this fancy stuff so I use kosher salt)
- 1/4 C. sour cream
- 1 1/4 C. all purpose flower
- 1 t. salt
- 2 T. dark unsweetened cocoa
- 11 oz. quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped.
- 1 C. (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into 1″ cubes
- 1 1/2 C. sugar
- 1/2 C. firmly packed light brown sugar
- 5 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 t. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 t. fleur de sel (again no fancy stuff just kosher for me)
- 1 t. coarse sugar
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/4 C. water, stirring them together so they don’t splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat until a thermometer reads 350 degrees F, or until the mixture is dark amber in color (keep a close eye on the caramel at all times as it can go from golden brown to black and burnt very quickly), 6 to 8 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add the cream (careful, this will bubble up and steam) and then the salt.
- Whisk in the sour cream. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (In my experience a convection oven works better than a normal oven, but it will work, it just may need longer to cook.)
- Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light colored 9×13 pan. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper, and butter the parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa.
- Place the chocolate and butter in the bowl of a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water, and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water of the double boiler, and add both sugars. Whisk until completely combined and remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be at room temperature.
- Add three eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage, or your brownies will be cakey.
- Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate. Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until there is just a trace amount of the flour mixture still visible.
- Assemble the brownies: Pour half of the brownie mixture into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Drizzle about 3/4 cup of the caramel sauce over the brownie layer in a zigzag pattern, making sure the caramel doesn’t come in contact with the edges oft he pan or it will burn. Use an offset spatula to spread the caramel evenly across the brownie layer, leaving about a ½-inch border around the edges. In heaping spoonfuls, scoop the rest of the brownie batter over the caramel layer. Smooth the brownie batter gently to cover the caramel layer. (In the book they say don’t give in to the desire to put more caramel in the brownie than directed, a little goes a long way! Keep the rest and pour it over the brownie or ice cream or whatever.)
- Bake the brownies for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, and check to make sure the brownies are completely done by sticking a toothpick into the center of the pan. The brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
- Remove the brownies from the oven and sprinkle with the fleur de sel and coarse sugar.
- Cool the brownies completely before cutting and serving. (Yeah right! Good luck with that one!)
- The brownies can be stored, tight wrapped at room temperature, for up to 4 days. Or freeze them for another day.