Bake-Off Wednesdays: Salted Caramel Blackberry Brownies

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The Bake-off’s back (sort-of – it’s a comic relief one)… and what better way to celebrate than with brownies? I had some excellent brownies baked for my birthday recently by my mother-in-law, and they reminded me that I still hadn’t put this recipe up which is a crying shame as it is so tasty. Well here it is:

Salted Caramel Blackberry Brownies

A lot of good words in one sentence.

When my sister, brother-in-law and nephew came to stay a while back, I wanted to bake them something, but my sister is a mega-picky eater so I felt like I couldn’t do anything even vaguely crazy – which made me want to even more 😉 Instead, I thought of a way to satisfy her, and me (and the rest of the family), by making a normal brownie with half of the brownie mix, and putting salted caramel and blackberries in the other half! Success. The brownie mix is really fudgey and tasty on its own which is great, but put a layer of salted caramel and some blackberries in the centre and it becomes ridiculously good.

Recipe taken and adapted slightly from Edd Kimber here

Salted Caramel Blackberry Brownies

makes around 20 brownies (depending on how greedy you/your recipients are!)

180g plain flour

3 tbsp cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

300g dark chocolate 65-75% cocoa solids

150g unsalted butter

220g light brown sugar

150g caster sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the salted caramel filling:

150g granulated sugar

125ml double cream

10g salted butter, softened

Pinch of sea salt (to taste)

Handful of blackberries (optional)

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For the sauce: Put the sugar in a pan over medium heat and heat until it turns a dark brown colour – keep an eye on it, as it will burn if you’re not careful. Remove from the heat before it starts to smoke and pour in the salt and half the cream. The mixture will bubble and spit at you (rude) so be careful! Once it’s calmed down, add the remaining cream and the softened butter. Put back on the heat and stir until smooth. Set aside.

For the brownies:  Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a brownie tray and line with baking paper.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.

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Put the chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until melted, then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Whisk the eggs and sugar together until thick and pale in colour.

Whisk in the cooled chocolate/butter mixture.

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Add the flour/cocoa powder/salt mixture and fold until just combined, don’t over-stir – you want some air left in the mixture.

Pour half the mixture into the prepared pan and level out.

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Dot the blackberries over the mixture, then add a thin layer of salted caramel sauce. Carefully spoon over the remaining brownie mixture and level it out.

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Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out almost clean (a few crumbs are fine).

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Enjoy the fruits of your labour – try not to eat them all in one go!

If you want to make normal brownies just leave out the sauce and blackberries, if you want to do half and half just halve the mixture for each type 😉

P.s. If you want to donate to comic relief you can text BAKE to 70005 (for a £5 donation)

Christmas Gift Ideas: Last-Minute Salted Butter Caramels

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It’s entirely possible (and preferable), that anyone reading this is doing so snug at home, relaxed and ready for Christmas with the presents all wrapped, the food all bought, drinks all chilling in the fridge… if so, I salute you and you can keep that smug smile on your face for as long as you like!

If you’re a present or two short, or you want that homemade touch without bags of effort then I hope I can help. Firstly, who doesn’t like salted caramel? Or homemade sweets? Secondly, these homemade salted caramel sweets are quick and pretty easy to make (if you keep an eye on them), and they only need a couple of hours to set, so they can be made this evening or tomorrow morning and be ready in time for Christmas day. Thirdly, they are made from things you probably have lying around the house anyway – the only exception possibly being a sugar thermometer*.

*In which case, a jar of salted caramel sauce would also make a nice present for someone – just follow the recipe until the sugar thermometer goes in, and instead, cook on a medium heat for another 3 minutes, then pour into a jar or bottle.

So without further ado, I give you:

Salted Butter Caramels

85g granulated sugar

100ml double cream

40g butter

30ml honey

1/2 tsp salt (plus extra if desired)

You will need a sugar thermometer and a loaf tin (or equivalent) for this recipe

Recipe taken (and adapted slightly) from A Beautiful Mess via Rachel Khoo

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Line a loaf tin or square tray with baking/greaseproof paper and set aside – this will be what the caramels set in. Put the sugar in a medium saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water. Cook over a medium/high heat until the sugar dissolves and starts to bubble. Keep cooking the sugar syrup until it turns a dark amber colour (see photo above). This can take a few minutes but the colour/smell can change quite quickly so keep an eye on it and take it off the heat as soon as it looks ready.

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Once you’ve taken it off the heat, add in the rest of the ingredients – the mixture will bubble up and may spit at you so be a bit careful! When stirred in, put the saucepan back on the heat and add the sugar thermometer. Heat the mixture until the temperature on the sugar thermometer reaches the ‘hard ball’ stage (260F). As soon as the temperature hits 260F remove from the heat and pour into the prepared loaf pan or dish you are setting the caramels in. If you wish, you can add some more flaked sea salt to the top of the caramel.

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Let the caramel cool for a couple of hours before cutting into squares or strips and wrapping in baking/greaseproof paper. I found cutting with a greased knife made it a smoother process.

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And Voila! You have another tasty little homemade gift for someone 🙂

Here’s a photo of my salted caramels and Limoncello/Arancello bottles ready to be given to family this Christmas!

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All that remains is to say:

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Because if a clown and hoop la-ing pigs doesn’t say Merry Christmas, what does?!