Sweet & Salty Brownies

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A deep, dark gooey brownie, with a miso caramel layer nestled between the chocolate-y layers. It’s delicious enough, but then those gooey brownies are topped with crunchy demerara sugar and flaky sea salt to finish it off. This heavenly brownie from Baked was featured on the Food Network, where it was praised as one of the best salty foods in the United States. Considering the positive responses I got when I made these, I think I would have to agree. Some people thought the amount of finishing salt made them too salty, so I took the original 1 1/2 teaspoons down to 1/2 teaspoon. However, feel free to add up to 1 1/2 teaspoons depending on your penchant for salt. This was the tastiest dessert I’ve had in a long time (and I’ve had a lot of amazing desserts!) . This may now be in my top 5 desserts- ever. To be fair to Baked, I exchanged their salty caramel recipe for my husbands kick-ass miso caramel which is also salty, with the added mystery of white miso. That caramel is so amazing we have made it 4 times so far to use in apple dessert recipes, as well a dipping sauce for fruit and pretzels. It goes really well in this recipe.

adapted from: Baked Explorations
makes: 12 large or 24 small brownies

miso caramel filling

2 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup white miso paste

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1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces quality dark chocolate (60-72%), coarsely chopped (I used Ghirardelli)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

assembly

1/2 – 1 1/2 teaspoons fleur de sel
1 teaspoon coarse sugar

make the miso caramel filling

In a large saucepan (the mixture doubles in size when the cream cooks, so use a large pan to prevent boil-over) over medium heat melt the butter. Once melted, stir in the brown sugar and cook 3-5 minutes until the mixture begins to look like caramel. Add the heavy cream and stir to combine. Continue to cook the mixture over medium heat for 10 minutes, whisking constantly once the mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla and miso paste until combined. Set aside on a cooling rack to cool.

make the brownie

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 9-by-13-inch 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 powder.

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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 from bowl from the pan. The mixture should be at room temperature.

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Add 3 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 state, or your brownies will be cakey.

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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 visible.

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Assembly

Pour half of the brownie mixture into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Drizzle 3/4 cup of warmed, but not hot butterscotch sauce over the brownie layer in a zigzag patter, taking care to make sure the sauce does not come in contact with the edges of the pan or it will burn. Use an offset spatula to spread the caramel evenly across the brownie layer. In heaping spoonfuls, scoop the rest of the brownie batter over the caramel layer. Smooth the brownie batter gently to cover the caramel layer.

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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 (along with some caramel).

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Remove the brownies from the oven and sprinkle with the fleur de sel (starting with 1/2 tsp) and coarse sugar. Cool the brownies completely before cutting and serving. The brownies can be stored, tightly wrapped at room temperature, for up to 4 days.

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