Salted Caramel Christmas Brownies
I am just a little obsessed. Just a teensy, tiny . . . okay, maybe medium-sized-ly, perhaps colossally, ridiculously obsessed with salted caramel. It is sweet. And salty. Gooey, rich, an amazing melding of buttery caramel and that surprising bite into a delicate flake of sea salt. Salted caramel is, pretty much, absolutely perfect – poured into thumbprint cookies, slathered in between layers of cake, whipped up to frost cupcakes, and, today, drizzled over fudge brownies.
I first encountered the idea of baking brownies in cookie cutters from this amazing list entitled “38 Clever Christmas Food Hacks That Will Make Your Life So Much Easier” aka my favorite webpage of the past month. Because, although I have attempted to lead you astray by baking things like Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake and German Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies, I am actually quite the lazy chef.
Like, ughh do I really have to wash out the KitchenAid bowl in between different cookie batches? And, hmm, should I get out the candy thermometer for this caramel, or can I just guesstimate? (By the by, judging by the damage I generally incur on my saucepans, I’m guessing that the answer is: get out the thermometer).
In any case, I’m treating this list of Christmas Food Hacks as someone’s early Christmas gift to moi (you should really check it out too – there’s Crockpot French toast!). I was especially excited about the cookie cutter brownies, because, last year, while shopping for the essentials at Target last year, I managed to pick up a very
nonessential silicon muffin tray with Christmas-themed molds! Color my Little Miss Christmas (S)elf Ecstatic. As a side note, I should never shop for the essentials at Target because they have clearly employed my evil twin to spill all my secrets and tell them everything I could possibly want to buy – even things I didn’t know existed!
Luckily, though, this Dollar Spot purchase was definitely worth its hefty price (it was actually $2.50! – another sneaky Target trick). I simply made my Favorite Fudge Brownies batter, baked it in the cutouts, and drizzled that rich caramel sauce on top of the finished product. If you’d like, you can also make this in a pan and pour the sauce over the entire pan. Either way, the result is the same: mmmarghfufflepoiqwer. Oh, sorry, my mouth was full of brownies. I meant: crazy delicious amazing. Eat on, friends!
P.S. Check out today’s Dallas Morning News Cookie Contest article – 3Pastries got a (small but exciting) mention!
Salted Caramel Christmas Brownies (Adapted from my Favorite Fudge Brownies)
Yield: ~16 cookie cutter brownies, or one 9×9 pan of brownies
- 1/4 cup (half a stick) of butter, melted
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup fresh cream
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into half
- 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or cooking spray approximately 16 cookie cutters/silicon muffin molds, or a 9×9 inch baking pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together baking powder, salt, cocoa, and flour. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, mix butter and sugars until combined. Add eggs, then beat vigorously for 1 minute. This will create the desired “crust” on top of the brownies while baking.
- Stir in melted chocolate and vanilla. Gently fold in flour mixture until just combined.
- Pour mixture into pan and bake for approximately 15 minutes (in the molds) or 25 minutes (in a pan), or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs attached. Pour the caramel sauce on top and enjoy!
Salted Caramel Sauce
- Put sugar in a large saucepan and begin cooking over medium high heat.
- Stir as sugar melts. Swirl occasionally after sugar is dissolved.
- Cook until the sauce is a dark amber, swirling the pan around occasionally. When the sauce is a dark amber color (if you have a candy thermometer, at 350 degrees F), remove from heat.
- Immediately add the heavy cream, whisking while you do so. Careful – the mixture will bubble vigorously when the cream is added!
- When cream is combined into mixture, add the butter pieces and stir until incorporated. Finally, add the sea salt and stir to combine.