First off, a note about what I said in my last post where I said that potatoes are a source of vitamin C. I just updated that post with more specific information about how to best get vitamin C from potatoes (not from boiling them), just to clarify things. Anyway, onto something completely different!
Ever since I saw David Lebovitz's dulce de leche brownies, I've wanted to make them. I bookmarked the page at least 1.5 years ago, but never got around to making them. They seemed so decadent so I guess I was waiting for a special occasion to make them. That and the fact that I was scared of making dulce de leche, as I've heard that boiling the can of condensed milk in a big pot can result in disaster. David describes a foolproof method for making your own dulce de leche though, without any possibility of an unfortunate incident (aside from water sloshing into the pie plate you've poured the condensed milk into before putting it in the oven, which happened when I was making a chocolate cake but that's another post for another day and also happens to be a David Lebovitz recipe).
I was scared that something might have gone wrong since the condensed milk/dulce de leche looked kind of weird, but once I whisked it it was fine and tasted delicious.
The special occasion was a wedding shower for a friend that loves chocolate. I finally had the perfect excuse to make the dulce de leche brownies that I had been dreaming about for so long! Unfortunately I did not have the foresight to make the brownies earlier or even the day before, but then I wanted them to be as fresh as possible. I know that you're supposed to let brownies cool before cutting them, but that is especially true for these ones. The dulce de leche is so incredibly gooey when it's warm, as I found out when it gooshed all over the place as I cut the brownie into pieces. Why did I cut the brownie prematurely knowing full well that it was a bad idea? Because I had to leave for the shower, and didn't start making them early enough to allow time for making the dulce de leche, letting it cool a bit, and then making the brownies and letting them cool a bit. Nevertheless, the brownies were tasty and people seemed to enjoy them. I'd like to see what they're like if I let them completely cool before cutting them though. I liked the different taste that the dulce de leche added to the brownie and would make these again, though only if I was giving most of them away as they are quite sweet. I'd probably cut down a bit on the sugar in the brownie batter even.
I've only actually made brownies from scratch probably less than 10 times (including these cream cheese brownies, and I now want to try out these and these in hopes of finding the perfect cream cheese brownies.) Many years ago I used to be a big fan of the brownie box mixes - those were really good. I also had a yummy recipe from a cooking class in high school. I have yet to learn the art of perfect brownie making, or perhaps I have yet to find the perfect brownie recipe. I don't like them when they're gooey and fudgey, but rather prefer them when they're dense and more cake like with only a bit of fudgeyness (good made up word). One big problem I have is how does one cook brownies evenly? The sides always seem to cook faster than the middle, which either will result in a fudgey middle and drier edges, or very dry edges and a cake-y middle. I wonder if you can cook brownies in a water bath, and if that would even help anything. I just find the uneven baking a bit frustrating.
I'm submitting these brownies to Once Upon A Tart's browniebabe of the month food blog event. My first time participating in it! She'll be posting up tons of tempting brownie photos by August 19, so check back to her blog then to see all of them.
Dulce de Leche Brownies
(Adapted from David Lebovitz's recipe)
12-16 brownies (depending how big you cut them of course)
8 tablespoons (115 g) salted or unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 ounces (170 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup (25 g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (140 g) flour
1 cup Dulce de Leche (or Cajeta)*
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 C).
Line a 8-inch (20 cm) square pan with parchment paper that covers the bottom and reaches up the sides. If it doesn't reach all the way up and over all four sides, cross another sheet of foil over it, making a large cross with edges that overhang the sides.
Melt the butter in a double boiler. Add the chocolate pieces and stir constantly over simmering water until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sugar, vanilla, then the flour.
Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan. Here comes the fun part.
Drop one-third of the Dulce de Leche, evenly spaced, over the brownie batter, then drag a knife through to swirl it slightly. Spread the remaining brownie batter over, then drop spoonfuls of the remaining Dulce de Leche in dollops over the top of the brownie batter. Use a knife to swirl the Dulce de Leche slightly.***
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. The brownies are done when the center feels just-slightly firm. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
*If you're making the Dulce de Leche, know that you will need at least 1.5 hours beforehand to let the condensed milk caramelize and then cool a bit.
***Make sure you don't put too much Dulce de Leche on top otherwise you'll have nothing to swirl!