I was recovering from a minor surgery, and really wanted to bake but I wasn’t supposed to move around much. So, in classic wifey fashion, I threw myself on the mercy of G, asking him to bake something, anything, to break up the monotony of a confection-less week. (We never, ever buy pre-made cakes or cookies, so if we want it, we have to make it).
My quest for the perfect brownie has been an ongoing saga, spanning dry cakey letdowns to oily crumbly messes (and those were some of the better ones). Every food blogger worth their salt needs to have a “best” brownie recipe in their repertoire, and now, I am happy to say, We have found ours.
G looked all over for easy recipes, and eventually decided he wanted to make brownies. I groaned and rolled my eyes, because,
1) When was the last time I had a REALLY good brownie…
2) See reason #1.
All that was about to change however. We discussed a few different recipes and the merits of each, this one was too eggy, that one looked like cake. He finally found what looked like a good basic recipe here, though we had no interest in the sugary frosting. What we were after was a truly good traditional brownie, with a smidgen of bling. So, we added dark chocolate chunks, and a dulce d leche caramel swirl to the top, and viola, fanshmastic badass brownies that have it all. A crispy chewy crust, a fudgy deep chocolatey base, and delicious dark chocolate chunks, just because we can. I kid you not, these are IT.
Ingredients: (Makes 12 large brownies/20 small brownies)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 100 grams good dark chocolate (the better the chocolate, the better the brownies)
- 3 tablespoons of a good quality, THICK dulche d leche spread or ribat chalav spread, made from real milk. (I use the one from comida, made at kibbutz ma’anit). Use the real stuff, not some caramel ice cream topper from a mass production company. The Latin American or Israeli brands are the best, from small dairies.
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan, or a 6×8 aluminum tin if you want them slightly thicker, like we did.
2) In a large saucepan, melt the 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, LET COOL, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.
3) Chop chocolate roughly into small chunks, and distribute evenly throughout the pan, mixing in slightly to get them below the surface.
4) Take a small plastic bag in your hand, and feed the corner into your fist, opening the rest of the bag around your hand, like this:
and then spoon the caramel spread into the corner of the bag. Press out the air, and twist the bag closed, and snip off JUST the very tiny tip of the bag, so that you now have an easy homemade piping bag. Pipe the caramel spread onto the brownies in a zigzaggy pattern, then when it is all over the surface of the brownie batter, take a fork, and gently drag it up and down the brownies from top to bottom, then from left to right. You should end up with a pretty swirl type design that will bake deep down into craggy chewy deliciousness later on.
3) Bake in preheated oven for 26 minutes for softer brownies, 28 minutes for firmer ones (We did 25 minutes first and they were a bit too soft in the middle, then another 5 minutes, but then there was a faint burnt smell, which was undetectable later. 28 minutes should be perfect but watch them and use a timer). Do not overcook.
4) Take them out, and let them cool, completely. This is the most important part. Seriously. LEAVE THEM ALONE. When they are fully cool, refrigerate them for at least an hour, and up to 3 if you can wait that long. Trust me. Have I ever steered you wrong? Eh? This is where most people ruin what could have been otherwise passable or even delicious brownies.
5) After chilling for a reasonable length of time, (I know, it’s hard), remove from fridge, cut carefully, and serve with a very tall glass of milk.