Sunday, 11 September 2016

Tanya Bakes: Salted Caramel Brownies

In all honesty, I probably have the sweetest tooth that you could ever imagine. Whether it's chocolate, caramel, fudge, toffee, or anything else that springs to your mind - I would most probably have demolished the whole thing within no time at all! I can't even help it.

So, when I received Tanya Bakes, and I saw that there was a recipe for salted caramel brownies, I just knew that it was going to be the perfect sweet treat for me, and I couldn't wait to share it with all of you.

Similarly to my Victoria sponge blog post, I'm going to be writing out the ingredients, and then the step by step instructions, but if I did do anything differently, then I'll be saying what I did, as well as what Tanya did too, so you can pick your preferred option!

First of all, I just want to start by saying that this particular recipe makes roughly between 16-20 brownies. Now, that's a lotta brownies, even for someone with as sweet a tooth as myself! I wouldn't recommend that you eat them all at once, as you may become sick, and poorly from a sugar overload, but one, or two every so often won't hurt! You can also share them with your loved ones, if you're a little less greedy than myself (who am I kidding, most people are greedy when it comes to food!), or take them to any events that you have planned, like birthdays, parties, family gatherings, and so on.

The prep time typically takes about 15 minutes according to the book, but I found it took me more like 25 minutes, and then you pop them in the oven once they're ready for about 25 minutes, and I found that to be the perfect amount of time for this particular bake.

You will need a baking tin that's roughly the same size as the one that I have got pictured above, but any that you can find in the kitchen will do, I'm sure. Who really has time to measure baking tins anyway?

For the ingredients, you will need:
200g butter
300g dark chocolate
300g golden caster sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
160g plain flour
60g cocoa powder
1 tin of Carnation caramel
1 teaspoon of sea salt flakes

That's all! It's super simple, don't you think? When I was preparing the night before to see what ingredients I needed, my mum and I were a bit stumped when we came across the words 'Carnation caramel', and 'sea salt flakes'. For the life of us, we just didn't understand what it meant! So, after some researching and Google imaging, we realised that you could buy Nestlé's Carnation caramel in a tin, and it's literally just like thick caramel, which you add to any recipe. I would never have guessed! As for the sea salt flakes, you can find them in a little tub, probably 150g, and it usually says that they're from Cornwall! If you pop into your local supermarket, just have a look around, but if you're still confused, then you can always ask someone that works there.

As always, the first step to any bake is to pre-heat the oven. Like the Victoria sponge, you're going to want to bump up the heat to 180ºC, which may also be 350ºF, or Gas Mark 4. After you have done that, it's recommended that you line the baking tin with greaseproof paper. My mum, and I struggled with this part yet again, similarly to how we did with the Victoria sponge, but if you know how to do it, then it will definitely make the whole bake much more successful, not to mention easier.

Once that steps completed, then you can get onto the actual baking - woo hoo! Start by melting the butter, and the dark chocolate in a bowl, over a pan of simmering water. Make sure that the water is actually simmering, and not boiling, or bubbling over, because that's just a whole other problem otherwise! Just get a boiling pan set up on the hob, and then set some sort of mixing bowl on top of it with the butter, and dark chocolate in, then use a wooden spoon to stir it every now and then just to help speed the process up a little bit. Make sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water though!

When the butter, and dark chocolate has completely melted (or, near enough) then it's safe for you to remove the bowl from the pan. I just poured the hot water down the sink, but an oven glove would probably be appropriate at this point. Now, you can whisk your sugar into the melted chocolate, and butter. I found this bit tricky, as I didn't have a proper whisk, but just make sure that it's 100% mixed in, regardless of how long it may take, and then you're good to go! Next comes the 4 eggs, and the vanilla extract. I'd suggest that you crack the eggs on the side of the work surface, or in another jug, or bowl before you put them into the bowl, because you might get shell in the mixture otherwise, which is a mistake that I've made myself quite a few times before! Remember, you only need 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, so make sure that you don't put in any more than that, as much as you may want to, you'll just have to resist the temptation! You then need to whisk well until the mixture is light, and bubbly. This shouldn't take too long, but as long as the mixture appears pretty fluffy, then it will be fine!

Once you have done that, you want to sift the flour slowly, and then carefully fold it into the rest of the mixture a bit at a time, so that it doesn't go too lumpy. You then do the same for the cocoa powder, and make sure that it's all mixed thoroughly, including the residue around the outside. That needs to be mixed in too!

Finally, pour half of the brownie mixture into the baking tin, and then pour the tin of caramel over the top. Spread it out evenly whilst you're doing so. You're then meant to sprinkle it with the sea salt flakes, and pour over the remaining chocolate mixture, but I poured over the remaining chocolate mixture straight away, and then sprinkled the sea salt flakes over the top before putting it in the oven to bake for 25 minutes, and I found that worked well, and it probably wouldn't make much difference anyway.

Allow it to cool completely while it's still in the tin, and then turn it out, and cut it into squares, ready to serve, and eat!

Honestly, Tanya was right. This will end up being your favourite brownie recipe! It's quite literally the best, and it's so, so easy to make as well.

Let me know if you're going to try out this recipe, and be sure to show me some pictures if you do! What sort of baking post do you want to see next?
Lots of love always,
Jade xo

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