Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Dulce De Leche Brownies

There are brownies. Soft, decadent, chocolate-ey, moist brownies. And then there are brownies with Dulce De Leche. Soft, decadent, chocolate-ey, moist brownies with a sweet, gooey, creamy, caramel sauce. Dulce De Leche Brownies. Like brownies? You will love Dulce De Lece brownies!

I stumbled upon this amazing recipe when I scrolled through my bloglovin newsfeed. Brown Eyed Baker borrowed this recipe from another blogger (who might have taken it from again another blogger) and so on. Hopefully this recipe will inspire all of you bake-a-holics and we can pass on all the brownie goodness. The brownie gooey-ness. The brownie chocolate-ey ness.

Until a few weeks ago I did not even know what dulce de leche was. But boy am I happy that I was introduced to Mr (or Ms) Dulche De Leche. Also called “Doce de Leite”, this caramelised sweet (condensed) milk tastes like a creamy caramel. If you literally translate ‘Dulce De Lece’ it means ‘candy of milk’ or ‘milk jam’ (gotta love Wikipedia). There are many different variations of this beautiful cream. Various South American Countries use their own version – from unsweetened coconut milk Dulce De Leche in Puerto Rico to the Mexican cajeta which is made from goat’s milk.

Anyway, back to the brownies. This was the first time I have tried to make these brownies – and the result was bang on. Preparing them turned out to be more interesting than expected. I said to Mr BehomeforT..... Shall I call him that? That is what all bloggers do, right? Ok, Mr BehomeforT it is... Where was I? Don’t get distracted!! I said to Mr BehomeforT: “This won’t take long”. It did. It took a lot longer than expected. But I’m a beginner, so I can get away with that, right? OK, let’s get to the part you all have been waiting for: the recipe! Here we go...

Dulce De Leche 
Making the Dulche De Leche can be done in a few different ways, including cooking the condensed milk in its tin. Now, I have heard horrible stories about exploding tins and Dulce De Leche on the ceiling, so I decided to go with a safer option. Get a baking tin and empty one or two tins of condensed milk in the tin. Tightly cover the tin with aluminium foil, and then place it in a baking tray filled for ¾ with water. Put it in the oven on 180 degrees for 1,5 hours. Make sure you check the water level and that you add some water every 30 minutes to ensure that the milk does not burn. After taking the tin out of the water bath, cool it down a little, and stir like there is no tomorrow so all lumps are gone. Store in a jar in the fridge.

The brownies 
I know you are supposed to make brownies with dark chocolate. I think you are supposed to. Are you? Anyway, most recipes I have read use dark chocolate only. So does this recipe. But I like breaking the rules. I love breaking the rules. So i used half dark chocolate, and half milk chocolate. Because I can! Living on the edge! Turned out I did not have enough eggs. I made an apple/pear brown butter bread on the weekend and used a lot of eggs. Poor Mr BehomeforT had to run to the shops at 9.30pm. “I love that you love to cook” he said with an annoyed expression on his face. Is that sarcasm? I don’t get sarcasm. I don’t know whether it is the fact that I am Dutch or whether it is just me. Anyway, he was not happy. He felt a bit better when he ate some of the brownies though. More about that later.

Before I move on to the actual recipe, I want to warn you. The recipe tells you to melt the chocolate with the butter and to add the sugar after taking the pan (au bain marie) from the stove. The mixture did not turn into a smooth mixture but sort of ‘split’. A watery, oily butter substance was floating around the sugar, which slowly turned into lumps, the more we stirred and tried to mix it. This was solved once the eggs were added (make sure the mixture has cooled down, otherwise the eggs will cook!), and the mixture became smooth. I might have done something wrong. It doesn’t matter. I am not a professional chef, and I am still learning.

Ok, here is the recipe. Finally!

I have been a cheeky bugger and I have not changed the measurements/standards to the ones we use in Australia. You will have to figure that out for yourself (the ‘convert currencies’ app on my iphone was a lifesaver here).

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Dutch processed)
11 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used half dark, half milk chocolate)
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup dulce de leche

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 9x13-inch pan. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper, and butter the parchment; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cocoa powder; set aside. Place the chocolate and butter in the bowl of a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water, and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined.

Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water of the double boiler, and add both sugars. Whisk until completely combined and remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be at room temperature. Add three eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage, or your brownies will be cakey. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate.

Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until there is just a trace amount of the flour mixture still visible. Pour half of the brownie mixture into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Drizzle about ¾ cup of the dulce de leche over the brownie layer in a zigzag pattern, making sure the dulce de leche doesn't come in contact with the edges of the pan or it will burn.

Use an offset spatula to spread the dulce de leche evenly across the brownie layer, leaving about a ½-inch border around the edges. In heaping spoonfuls, scoop the rest of the brownie batter over the caramel layer. Smooth the brownie batter gently to cover the dulce de leche layer.

 Bake the brownies for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, and check to make sure the brownies are completely done by sticking a toothpick into the center of the pan. The brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Remove the brownies from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack; allow to cool completely to room temperature before cutting and serving.

The brownies can be stored, tight wrapped at room temperature, for up to 4 days.

The Review 
I don’t have to tell you how good these brownies were. The recipe says that you can store the brownies for up to 4 days. Trust me, they will be gone before that. Enjoy!


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