Happy bank holiday to you! I hope the bank holiday weekend has provided you with sunshine (however fleeting this may have been), relaxation and the opportunity to bake. Today was the first opportunity in quite a while that I had to bake. Life has been a little crazy recently with SATs tests to organise at school, residential visits, sponsored walks and car shopping.
A couple of weeks ago, I made one of my friend’s sister’s wedding cake. As it was a Thursday wedding and she wanted a ‘naked cake’ (a stacked Victoria sponge) I had to make the cake on a weeknight which was also the same day as our lifeguard training at school. I also made 30 cupcakes with buttercream icing and hand-made fondant bows. It was all rather stressful especially as the first base sponge I made wasn’t cooked as it was so big (10 inches) so I had to start again which resulted in a very late night. Luckily, all was alright in the end and everything turned out well. Here’s a photo my friend took on her phone of everything set up:
I’d seen this recipe for salted caramel brownies recently in the BBC Good Food magazine. You can find it online here. The recipe will make 16 large-ish square brownies or 32 small bite-size brownies. You will need a 23cm square baking tin (I don’t have one so used a deep 21cm square tin which still worked). The recipe suggests cooking the brownies for 25-30 minutes but I found mine needed a lot longer (nearer to 40 minutes). I also had a slight mishap in that as I was checking them the oven shelf came flying out quicker than I expected so the tin fell to the bottom of the oven causing about a quarter of the mixture to come out leaving them looking a bit of a mess (and hence why there’s no fresh out of the oven photo). These brownies have a fudgy texture are meant to have a distinctive line of caramel running through the middle but somehow this seems to have been lost in mine! Apparently the mix of chocolate is important when making these. It’s quite easy to find 70% cocoa solid chocolate but if you’re looking for 50% cocoa solid chocolate I used (and recommend) Aldi’s dark chocolate which has a minimum of 50% cocoa solids and is quite cheap.
200g unsalted butter (plus a little extra for greasing)
100g chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
100g chocolate (50% cocoa solids)
397g can Carnation caramel
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt (plus a little extra for the top)
200g golden caster sugar
4 medium eggs (at room temperature)
100g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
1) Heat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Grease, then line a 23cm square traybake tin with baking parchment.
2) Melt the butter in a medium pan, break in all the chocolate, then remove the pan from the heat and wait for the cubes to melt.
3) In a small bowl, mix 175g of the caramel with 1 teaspoon sea salt to loosen it up.
4) Put the rest of the caramel in a large bowl with the sugar and eggs, and beat with an electric hand mixer or balloon whisk until even.
5) Whisk in the chocolate and butter to the caramel, sugar and egg mixture. In another bowl, combine the flour, cocoa and a good pinch of table salt, then sift this on top of the chocolate mix. Beat briefly until smooth.
6) Pour half the brownie batter into the tin and level it with a spatula. Using a teaspoon, spoon half of the salted caramel on top of the batter layer in 5 thick, evenly spaced stripes. Spoon the rest of the brownie batter on top and smooth it out, trying not to disturb the caramel beneath. Top with the rest of the caramel in the same stripy fashion. Drag a skewer or tip of a knife through the caramel to make a feathered pattern on the top.
7) Scatter the mixture with a little more sea salt, then bake for 25-30 mins or until risen all the way to the middle with a firm crust on top. (When ready, the brownie will jiggle just a little when you shake the tin.) Let it cool completely in the tin, then cut into squares.