Chocolate, salt, and caramel represent three of our favorite food groups. Try this summer dessert stunner from The Fire Island Cookbook.
MAKES 8 SERVINGS
Chocolate, salt, and caramel represent three of our favorite food groups. Brownies are the quintessential American dessert, but our addition of salted caramel sauce comes from a taste sensation we discovered while driving around the western wine regions of France. Each time we stopped for gas, we would run into the truck-stop market to buy delicious chewy caramels made with the local sea salt, fleur de sel, from the Île de Ré. These brownies are a combination of the best gooey sweet desserts from two of our favorite countries.
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter (see Tip)
2 cups sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Salted caramel sauce
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon fleur de sel
1. To make the brownies: Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Butter a 9 by 12-inch metal baking pan.
2. Match a large saucepan with a metal bowl big enough to sit over, not in, the pan, to make a double boiler. Fill the pan halfway with water and bring it to a boil. Make sure the bottom of the bowl won’t come in direct contact with the water. Place the chocolate and butter in the bowl and stir until melted. Whisk in the sugar. Remove from the heat and let rest.
3. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl. Little by little, whisk the hot chocolate mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly, until completely mixed. Slowly add the flour and salt and stir until everything is well mixed. Pour the mixture into the baking pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out relatively clean and the cake begins to pull away from the edges of the pan, about 25 minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Let the brownies cool in the pan on a rack for about 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, to make the salted caramel sauce: Heat the sugar in a heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan over medium to high heat while whisking constantly. When the sugar begins bubbling, stop stirring and wait until the sugar begins to caramelize to an amber color. Add the butter and begin whisking again. After all of the butter is melted, remove the pan from the heat and add the heavy cream a little at a time. It is important to continue whisking at this stage. Don’t worry: it’s normal for the cream to foam up—just keep mixing. When all of the cream is added and the foaming stops, add the fine sea salt and stir well. Let the salted caramel sauce rest until the brownies come out of the oven.
5. While the brownies are still slightly warm (and in the pan), pour the caramel sauce over the top until evenly coated. (If the caramel sauce has begun to harden and becomes difficult to pour, just heat it up for a minute or two.) Sprinkle with fleur de sel and let cool for 2 hours. (The pan can be refrigerated for a few days if you want to make the brownies ahead of time; the hard part is keeping your housemates’ fingers out of the pan.)
Tip: Save the butter wrappers to grease the baking pan.
Vanilla, dark brown sugar, and leather notes in this formidable spirit will not be overpowered by these decadent brownies