Soundtrack: Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ on Audible
I don’t want to read your ramblings, I just want the recipe: Salted Caramel Crack Brownies by Anna Jones
Star Rating: FIVE FUCK YEAH STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
If you want to make people feel simultaneous happy and special, and if you are also interested in being showered with love in return, then this recipe is for you. You can also make these brownies lactose-, gluten- and nut-free and they still taste incredible, meaning you can cater to various intolerances without compromising on the final product.
This is another Anna Jones recipe, and I cannot sing her praises enough. Her vegetarian cook books (‘A Modern Way to Cook‘ and ‘A Modern Way to Eat‘) over-deliver on taste and inventiveness while still being approachable and easy to make.
The reason I first made these brownies was Anna’s own intro to the recipe “Find me someone who doesn’t like these and I’ll deliver you a batch myself.” I have made these probably about 20-30 times and have never had any left over, and in one case someone swiped a whole bunch of them when I took them into work which, while annoying, is definitely high praise.
There is only one tricky bit to these and it’s the only part of the method that I don’t agree with. The caramel for these brownies takes much longer to make than the recipe would suggest, and it took me many attempts before I realised that I had to let the caramel bubble for an additional ~5-10 minutes so that it would set properly.
Also, there is a point during the caramel making process where you add the milk (or milk substitute) to the melted sugar and butter and the cool milk shocks the molten hot sugar and fat combination into a petrified candy ball. DON’T FREAK OUT. The recipe seems to suggest that you just need to put the saucepan back on the stove and in a few minutes it will be thick caramel. Instead, I always have to spend a lot of time beating that ball into submission while the milk warms up (but doesn’t boil) around it. I’ve tried using warm milk and this does help a little, but simply put the temperature at which sugar melts will always be higher than the temperature of the milk added.
Finally – make sure you use BAKING PAPER and never waxed paper to line the shallow tray you’re going to pour the caramel in. I have made this mistake so many times that I threw out my waxed paper (which I can’t recall ever having an actual use for, so I’m guess I bought in error in the first place).
Making the brownie batter is really straight forward and adding the caramel to the brownies is too. It’s also important that you line the pan they’re baking in because these are some sticky brownies.
The recipe says to cook them for 25 minutes, but I always check at 20. The caramel will have turned into molten pools of deliciousness, which can make it difficult to check whether the brownie mixture is cooked underneath. My preference is a consistency that’s like a dense fudge in the middle, with a little crunch around the edges. They will continue to cook when you take them out of the oven so I err on undercooking and they have always turned out great.
And that’s it! Once they’ve cooled they won’t last very long. They are appropriate for all occasions including (but not limited to): Holiday Parties, Break-up Commiserations, ‘Just because’ for your co-workers, Birthdays, Dinner Parties, New Babies… Really for anyone who likes things that taste nice and who you want to make the world a slightly brighter place for a moment.