How to make brownies with salted caramel sauce and pecans on the side.
Baking powder, flour, eggs and sugar. This is what we are taught most cakes need. But not brownies. Brownies chooses its own road. It does not want baking powder and is not fond of flour. Instead it helps itself with some extra sugar, steals some chocolate and flirts with Peggy Pecan.
Brownies are ubiquitous, but not all brownies are brownies. Some are fudgy chocolate cakes. In my opinion brownies should be a mix between chocolate cake and cookies. They should not be too dark, and they should contain so much sugar that the edges are slightly crispy but still moist and chewy on the inside. If you decrease the amount of sugar (and believe me I have tried) it will turn into a chocolate cake, not brownies.
The hardest thing about brownies is bake it just right. Long enough to avoid a mud cake, short enough to avoid it getting dry. In this respect, lots of sugar come in handy. The rich amount of sugar makes it more difficult to bake the brownies dry.
My version of brownies is pretty childish and becomes even more childish when served with ice cream, caramel sauce and pecans. If you want to make an easy dessert easier, skip the brownies and just serve ice cream with pecan nuts and caramel sauce. It is still a dessert that will haunt your guests. Buy the ice cream but make the caramel sauce yourself.
The rule of making your own caramel sauce is a spoon of butter and twice as much heavy cream as sugar. Drizzle the sauce on top of the ice cream while still warm. Also, you can easily substitute the flour with gluten-free flour. Brownies is one of those cakes that easily bares the transition from gluten to gluten-free. And the cake is also suitable for those allergic to nuts since the nuts are served on the side.
Brownies (makes 4-5)
150 g / 5,3 oz butter
50 g / 1,8 oz dark chocolate (70 %), chopped
200 g / 7 oz sugar
2 organic eggs
75 g / 2,6 oz flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1. Preheat oven to 175C/350F. Melt the butter in a pan. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Add the chopped chocolate. Stir until blended.
2. Whisk eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy, then add the melted chocolate and butter. Fold in sifted flour and cocoa powder.
3. Pour the batter in a small pan with parchment paper. Bake in the oven in the lower position for about 25-35 minutes. In contrast to other cakes, brownies should not come clean when you insert a skewer in the center of the cake. The skewer should come out with wet crumbs.
Salted caramel sauce
40 g / 1,4 oz sugar
100 ml / 3,4 oz heavy or double cream
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp flaky salt (e.g. maldon sea salt)
1. Place the sugar in a heavy-based pan and shake the pan so the sugar distributes evenly. Let stand on medium heat until the sugar melts into a light brown caramel. Have patience and do not stir. It may take about 5-10 minutes for the sugar to dissolve. Keep your eyes on the pan the whole time. When the sugar first starts to melt, it will turn from brown to burnt in just a few seconds.
2. Right after the sugar has turned brown, add the cream and stir well. The caramel will first harden and splutter. Keep cooking while you stir until the caramel has melted. Remove from the heat, add the butter and salt.
A generous handful of pecans
1 tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp water
1. Heat a frying pan on medium heat and add the pecans. Toast the nuts for about 5 minutes while you shake the pan often. They are finished when they start to smell.
2. Add the icing sugar and water, shake the pan well and remove from the heat.