Salted caramel pretzel brownies

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Don’t you just love it when TV shows or movies do crossovers? Like how characters from The Arrow do guest appearances on The Flash or the many heroes of Marvel that join forces to create The Avengers? Maybe that’s a bad analogy, but my excitement is synonymous to the way I feel about food- when my favourite elements combine in one dessert. It’s reminiscent of how Remy’s taste buds are exhilarated by combining cheese and strawberries together..

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 I’d gladly eat a handful of chewy caramel candy

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Thus, I’ve been longing to make this killer combo: pretzels, caramel and brownie. Say what?

You have the classic salty and sweet combo, and the ever chewy, fudgey brownie all in one bite. And while making the caramel, you won’t be able to refrain from eating morsels upon morsels.

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These will come out warm and sticky, so it’s best to leave it in the pan to cool for a while. Certainly most delicious when eaten fresh, but the flavours develop if you wait overnight… Frankly, I don’t know the science behind it, but somehow the chocolate flavours becomes more rich and delicious. Either way, you know it’s delicious when you see that paper thin, crackly top. In these pictures, you can’t quite see the oozing caramel like Smiten Kitchen’s, but the caramel was mixed directly in the batter and wasn’t scattered on the top. I assure you that the caramel was 100% distinct.

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Just look at all that fudginess 

Caramel pretzel brownies

Crust

  • 1 & 1/4 cup pretzels
  • 75 g (or 5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • Crush pretzels in a

1. Crush pretzels in a food processor until fine

2.Mix in unsalted butter & brown sugar

3. Put in an 8 x 8 inch pan (18 cm x 18 cm), lined with baking paper & press down the crumbs until it makes an even layer. Bake at 350 F/180 C for 8 minutes.

Caramel & brownie

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Caramel

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter (or salted, but then ease up on the sea salt)
  • Heaped 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt (or 1/8 teaspoon table salt, more to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream

Brownies

  • 3 ounces (85 grams) unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 stick (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • Heaped 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt or 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 2/3 cup (85 grams) all-purpose flour

Make caramel

1.Set a square of parchment paper over a medium-sized plate. Lightly butter or coat the parchment with a spray oil, just as an added security measure.

2.In a medium, dry saucepan over medium-high heat, melt your sugar; this will take about 5 minutes, stirring if necessary to break up large chunks. By the time it is all melted, if should be a nice copper color; if not, cook until it is. Remove from heat and stir in butter. It may not incorporate entirely but do your best.

3.Stir in cream and salt and return saucepan to the stove over medium-high heat, bringing it back to a simmer and melted again any sugar that solidified. Cook bubbling caramel for a few minutes more, until it is a shade darker.

4.Pour out onto parchment-covered plate and transfer plate to your freezer. Freeze until solidified, which can take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes in a decent freezer to 40 minutes in my terrible one.

Meanwhile, or when your caramel is almost firm, make your brownies

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment, extending it up two sides. Butter the parchment or spray it with a nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a medium heatproof bowl over gently simmering water, melt chocolate and butter together until only a couple unmelted bits remain. Off the heat, stir until smooth and fully melted. You can also do this in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each.

3. Whisk in sugar, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and salt. Stir in flour with a spoon or flexible spatula.

Assemble brownies: When caramel is firm, remove it from the freezer and chop it into rough 1-inch squares. Gently fold all but a small amount of caramel bits into batter. Scrape batter into prepared pan, spreading until mostly even. Scatter remaining caramel bits on top. Bake in heated oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool thoroughly — a process that can be hastened in the freezer, which will also produce cleaner cuts — and cut into squares or other desired shapes.

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