My youngest daughter is doing her SATs this week so I have made brownies as a treat after school. She needs all the treats she can get; it has been a stressful year with SATs practice after practice after practice. We will all be glad when Friday comes and SATs are over with.
I have made a version of these brownies before with peanut butter, but decided on salted caramel this time as we had some cream in the fridge. I have also added some chopped almonds in there for a bit of interesting texture.
The salted caramel takes a bit of making but you do end up with a jar of caramel sauce that will last about a month in the fridge. Which is always a good thing and it’s not a massive hardship even for someone like me that normally only has to look at caramelising sugar to make it go grainy. If you can’t be bothered with it then just use a jar of ready-made caramel sauce (aka dulce de leche) or omit it altogether as the brownies are delicious all on their own.
For the caramel sauce:
240g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
½ tsp salt
225g double cream
Place the water, sugar, vanilla pod and salt in a pan and heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and boil the sugar syrup until it turns a dark golden colour. Take off the heat and add the cream. It will seize up and go hard. Don’t worry. Return to the heat and stir and it will become runny again. Heat until it reaches 110°c or turns a dark golden colour.
For the brownies:
150g dark chocolate
50g cocoa powder
100g caster sugar
100g soft brown sugar
50g wholemeal spelt
50g almonds, chopped
pinch of coarse sea salt
Line a 23cm round or 20cm square tin with parchment. Preheat the oven to 180°c, gas mark 4, or use the baking oven of the 4-oven Aga.
Melt the butter and chocolate together in a large bowl over a simmering pan of water. Stir in the cocoa powder. Leave to cool slightly.
In another large bowl whisk the eggs and the sugars together until thick and moussey. Pour the chocolate mixture over the egg mixture and fold in gently. Fold in the spelt flour and the chopped almonds. Pour the batter into the tin. Pour some of the caramel over the top and sprinkle with the coarse sea salt.
Place the tin into the centre of the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes. The top should be crusty but the centre should still be wobbly. It will firm up on cooling and give that characteristic fudgey centre. Serve with a little more caramel sauce poured over the top.