Brownies are so right. Everything about them, from their chocolatey gooiness, to the way that it’s hard to just have one small piece, without going in for seconds. Rachel shares one of her favourite chocolate brownie recipes - salted caramel pecan brownies.
All brownies are not equal; some are better than others. And this one, I have to say, is pretty darn great.
I don’t even have a sweet tooth, but the combination of salted caramel, crunchy nuts and gooey chocolate brownie is irresistable.
There are a few stages to making it, and if you’re not confident making caramel, you soon will be. There are lots of caramel-making tips online, and David Lebovitz has a great page where he talks you through the process.
The main things to remember are don’t stir, just swirl if necessary, keep an eye on the sugar, and do not touch hot sugar, or be tempted to taste or touch anything until it has cooled – at over 160°C it’s not as tempting as it looks.
You could stop once you’ve just made the brownie base here, and end up with a lovely brownie, but I urge you to try the three layers. It will make you very popular!
Salted Caramel Pecan Brownies
Makes about 28 portions
For the brownies
200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
175g unsalted butter
325g caster sugar
130g plain flour
For the caramel pecans
200g caster sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
For the salted caramel topping
175ml double cream
50g unsalted butter
220g caster sugar
1 tablespoon glucose syrup
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
A 33x23x5cm baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water). Leave until melted and smooth.
Remove from the heat. Add the sugar and stir until well incorporated.
Add the flour and stir until well mixed.
Finally, stir in the eggs, and mix until thick and smooth.
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tray and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until flaky on top and still soft in the centre. Be careful not to overcook. Leave to cool in the baking tray.
For the caramel pecans, prepare a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Heat the water and sugar into a stainless steel saucepan over a medium heat.
When the sugar is dissolved, increase the heat until the liquid simmers, and continue to simmer briskly until the syrup starts to colour. Swirl the pan occasionally to ensure an even colour, but don’t stir.
Once you have a caramel with an amber colour, stir in the pecans and salt, pour the mixture onto the baking tray and leave to cool. Sugar turns to caramel at 160°C -190°C so be very careful about burning yourself and don’t be tempted to try the nuts until the caramel has cooled completely.
When cooled, chop the caramel and nuts roughly and set aside.
To make the caramel sauce, warm the cream and butter together in a small saucepan and set aside.
Heat the sugar, water, glucose and salt together in a stainless steel saucepan as before until a golden amber colour.
Remove from the heat, and add the cream and butter, whisking until smooth.
Pour the caramel sauce over the brownie, and sprinkle on the caramelised nuts.
Allow to set, then cut into small pieces, and enjoy!
(To clean a pan used to make caramel, stand back from the pan and fill with water. Heat gently until the caramel melts into the water. Then wash as normal.)
Inspired? For more delicious chocolate recipes from some of the country’s finest chefs visit Great British Chefs collection.