Friday, February 27, 2015

Caramel Fudge Brownies

Anything with caramel is typically a big hit at work and I hadn’t made any caramel treats in a while. I’ve probably made some sort of caramel and pecan brownie before, but each recipe is a little different. Caramel and pecan is a classic combination, so how can it be bad? This is a fairly traditional one bowl brownie (which I make in two bowls because it’s hard to mix in a saucepan) topped with a swirl of caramel and a sprinkle of chopped pecans.

The original recipe called for 14 ounces of caramels, which you have to unwrap and that’s really a pain. Now they sell caramel bits, but they come in 11 ounce bags. The wrapped caramels also come in 11 ounce bags now, too, so you have to make an adjustment. I didn’t use less evaporated milk, I used ½ cup that the original recipe called for, and so my caramel was pretty runny. I also made it harder to swirl, but eventually it made a nice swirl.

One problem with the caramel in these brownies is that it’s really hard to know when they are baked through. I baked them for 35 minutes, and testing with a knife they were still really soft. I kept adding a few more minutes, and I honestly don’t know how long I baked them. I hoped for the best, but figured a caramel-y gooey brownie would probably be ok. When I cut them, they are on the gooey side, but still very nice. They are gooey and the caramel makes them more gooey, which is not a bad thing at all!

Caramel Fudge Brownies
11 ounces caramel bits
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, divided

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9” x 13” pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small saucepan, heat caramel bits and evaporated milk over low heat, stirring frequently, until caramels are melted and smooth. Set aside.

In a small saucepan or in the microwave, melt the butter. Transfer the melted butter to a medium mixing bowl. Add the sugar, vanilla and eggs and whisk to combine. Add the flour, cocoa powder and salt and fold in using a spatula. Stir in 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips and 1 cup chopped pecans. Spread the mixture in the prepared baking pan. Spoon the caramel over the unbaked brownies and swirl with a knife.
 Bake for 35-45 minutes or until set.

Once you’ve removed the brownies from the oven, melt the remaining ½ cup of chocolate chips in the microwave. Drizzle over the warm brownies and then sprinkle with the remaining chopped pecans. Cool for 20 minutes, then refrigerate for an hour before cutting into bars.

Lift the brownies from the pan and peel away the foil. Cut into bars.

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