Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mari Tuttle's Caramel Sea Salt Brownies

One food 'trend' I really love is the combination of chocolate and sea salt. I love little truffles topped with sea salt. I even love the simple combination of chocolate-covered pretzels. So naturally I was drawn to this recipe, which received great reviews. We both agree that the chocolate and salt combination is delicious, but the caramel piece seems to be a little iffy. We didn't really taste it that much. It doesn't contribute a whole lot except probably the extra sugar. If I were to make these again, I would either leave out the caramel or use a jarred caramel, but making it from scratch wasn't worth the effort.

To top them, we used this beautifully gray fleur de sel from Penzeys. It's my "special" salt that I rarely use except for things like this where the salt is the star of the dish. Look how wonderful it is!

Mari Tuttle's Caramel Sea Salt Brownies
Adapted from

1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup caramel sauce, warmed*
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, preferably fleur de sel

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Grease an 8 x 8 square pan. Line with parchment; grease again.Sift flour; measure; resift with salt. Over double boiler, melt butter. Once melted, add chocolate; stir until melted. Remove from heat.With hand or stand mixer, whisk eggs, sugar and vanilla extract together until fluffy and light in color; add chocolate mixture; mix until combined; fold in flour.Pour half the batter into pan; smooth top; pour half the caramel sauce over mixture; smooth evenly; pour remaining batter over caramel; smooth top again. Drizzle remaining caramel sauce over top, in one continuous zig-zag pattern. Turn pan 90 degrees; with toothpick, drag tip through top caramel and batter layer making same zig-zag pattern. Bake for 20 minutes, turn pan and bake for 15 minutes more.Remove from oven and sprinkle sea salt on top. When cool, cut into squares or bars. Enjoy!

**Caramel Sauce**
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup hot water
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour sugar into heavy skillet and caramelize over low heat; constantly stirring until it has completely melted and is light brown in color. Remove from heat and very slowly stir in hot water. Don't worry if sugar clumps, it will melt again when you reheat the mixture.Return the pan to medium heat; stirring to melt sugar clumps. Mixture will begin to boil. Continue boiling until mixture thickens and the boil isn't as rapid. Remove from heat; add butter, salt and vanilla. Strain if there are remaining sugar clumps.

Yield: 1 cup

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