Bittersweet Chocolate–Caramel Swirl Brownies Recipe

Bittersweet Chocolate–Caramel Swirl Brownies Recipe
Staff Writer
Brownies
Glenn Cormier

Brownies

It’s hard to beat the taste of bittersweet chocolate and caramel. For these brownies, rich and creamy caramel is swirled through the batter, creating not only incredible flavor but an eye-catching design.

Adapted from “Intensely Chocolate” by Carole Bloom

Ingredients

For the caramel swirl:

  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup (1 ½ ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon (½ ounce) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the brownies:

  • 1 tablespoon (½ ounce) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (66-72% cacao content), finely chopped
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces (8 tablespoons/1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small dice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher or fine-grained sea salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (3 ½ ounces) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (3 ½ ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup (2 ¼ ounces) all-purpose flour

Directions

For the caramel swirl:

Warm the cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until it forms bubbles around the edges. At the same time combine the granulated sugar, water, and corn syrup in a 1-quart heavy-duty saucepan and cook over high heat, without stirring, until it boils. Dip a clean pastry brush in warm water and run it around the inside edges of the pan to prevent sugar crystallization. Do this once more as the sugar cooks. Cook the mixture until it turns amber, about 5 minutes.

Stir the hot cream into the caramel using a long-handled heat-safe silicone spatula. Be careful because the mixture will bubble and foam.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter until it is completely melted. Stir in the vanilla. Transfer the caramel to a bowl, cover tightly, and cool at room temperature while preparing the brownie batter.

For the brownies:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, letting it hang about 2 inches over the sides. Use a paper towel or your fingers to coat the inside of the foil with the softened butter.

Place the bittersweet chocolate, unsweetened chocolate, and the diced butter in the top of a double boiler over low heat. Stir often with a rubber spatula to ensure even melting. Or place the chocolates and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and melt on low power in 30-second bursts, stirring after each burst. Remove the top pan of the double boiler, if using, and wipe the bottom and sides very dry. Stir in the vanilla and salt thoroughly. Let the mixture cool while mixing the rest of the batter, stirring with a rubber spatula occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on top.

Place the eggs in the bowl of an electric stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl. Using the wire whip attachment or a handheld mixer, whip the eggs until they are frothy. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and whip together until the mixture is very thick and pale yellow and holds a slowly dissolving ribbon when the beater is lifted, about 5 minutes.

Add the melted chocolate mixture and blend completely on low speed. Stop and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with the rubber spatula.

Over a bowl, sift flour and in 3 stages add it to the batter, blending well after each addition. Stop and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with the rubber spatula, to help mix evenly.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use the rubber spatula to spread it evenly. Drizzle the caramel mixture over the top of the brownies in a random pattern. Use the point of a knife or a toothpick to draw through the caramel, creating a swirl design. Don’t mix the caramel and the batter together completely or the brownies will lose the design as they bake.

Bake the brownies for 30 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it.

Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely on a rack.

Lift the brownies from the pan by holding the edges of the foil. Peel the foil away from the sides of the pan and cut into 4 rows in each direction. Serve the brownies at room temperature.

Store the brownies between layers of waxed paper in an airtight plastic container at room temperature up to 4 days. To freeze up to 4 months, wrap the container tightly in several layers of plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Use a large piece of masking tape and an indelible marker to label and date the contents. If frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.

Chocolate Shopping Tip

There are so many varieties of chocolate on the shelves today it can be overwhelming to pick one – as a general rule of thumb, the fewer the ingredients, the better the chocolate.

Chocolate Cooking Tip

When melting chocolate, use a double boiler and stir occasionally to avoid scorching chocolate at the bottom of the bowl.

Chocolate Wine Pairing

Sweet chenin blanc, muscat, or amontillado sherry with nut-based desserts; sauternes or sweet German wines with pound cake, cheesecake, and other mildly sweet desserts; sweet chenin blanc or muscat or Alsatian vendange tardive (late harvest) wines with sweeter desserts; sweet chenin blanc or muscat or Alsatian vendange tardive (late harvest) wines, port, madeira, late-harvest zinfandel, or cabernet sauvignon or cabernet franc with chocolate desserts.