This is my 150th post! For that I feel we need something celebratory here. Something that says ‘hello world, I’m still here and I have something to say’. Or something like that anyway. When I was in Paris I made the mistake (happy, waist-increasing-in-size event?) of going into Angelina’s on the Rue de Rivoli. Angelina’s is a patisserie that serves the most amazing (and expensive) hot chocolate and pastries (they’re famous for their Mont Blanc). This time we just went into the store – to look! But then I saw the hazelnut paste. And the chestnut puree. And the salted caramel.
Well, it’s fair to say that my meagre budget was a total gonner. I bought all three and the only thing that is still intact is the chestnut puree. And that’s only because I want to make this chocolate caramel chestnut cake with it and I still need to do the maths on the recipe. I’m ashamed to say I ate the hazelnut paste with a teaspoon straight from the jar over the course of about 4 days. And I was heading that way with the caramel too when I decided that I’d better make something for you all and what better way to use up caramel than chocolate brownies?
These brownies are very rich and decadent. I find they’re best served from the freezer, slightly thawed – you’re supposed to put them straight into the freezer after removing them from the oven but I have a bar fridge and a resultingly tiny freezer which is currently filled with strawberry purée and peas so there was no space for brownies. I let them cool to room temperature first before refrigerating them and then slicing them. I ate the first pieces warm, the excess caramel having settled on top. They were good but they were so much better cold. The cold solidifies the brownie and it becomes fudgy and squishy. The recipe (adapted from Tea with Bea) says you can keep them in an airtight container for 3 days but I sliced them and wrapped them and froze them so I can eat them cold. I also added raspberries. Just one for every piece – they bring a welcome tartness to the excessive richness. The original recipe has all sorts of things in it – peanut butter and hazelnuts and pecans and coconut – but I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to brownies so I edited all that excess out. Chocolate and caramel are the way forward here people.
Caramel Chocolate Brownies
Adapted from Tea with Bea
125g dark chocolate (70%)
160g unsalted butter
125g golden caster sugar
125g dark muscovado sugar
125g plain flour
6 tbsp dulce de leche
Preheat your oven to 180C and line a rectangular baking tin with baking paper. My tin is 28cm by 22cm and is the perfect size for this amount. If your tin is bigger I would scale up the recipe.
Break the chocolate into a bowl and set aside.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and pour it over the chocolate. Allow to sit for a minute or two and then stir until smooth and combined.
Stir the two sugars together – the muscovado has a tendency to clump so be sure it’s smooth before you add the eggs. Whisk everything smooth.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and stir to combine. Then fold in the flour. Don’t stir too much here, just enough to combine the flour into the mixture completely.
Pour this into the lined baking tin. Dollop the caramel onto the mixture and using a blunt knife, swirl it through. Lastly place the raspberries over the mixture.
Bake at 180C for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 160C and open the oven door for 30 seconds to help cool the oven. Bake for a further 15 minutes until the mixture has risen and is evenly coloured all over.
Allow to cool almost completely, in it’s tin, on a wire rack. Then remove it from the tin and place on the wire rack in the fridge for a few hours. Slice and store, either at room temperature for 3 days, or in the freezer, individually wrapped, for 2 weeks.