For last months theme, we invited our community to share what creative hobbies help their wellbeing
Kate McAllister: Salted Caramel Brownies
One of the best things about communities is being able to share in enjoying the things that make you happy. As part of our theme 'you are what you eat' Kate shares a recipe designed to please.
These brownies are delicious and are my go-to on the days when I need a bit of baking-therapy.
Using dark chocolate in your brownies gives them a richer flavour which is not overwhelmingly sweet. The salted caramel adds an extra depth. If you aren’t a salted caramel fan, they would probably work with just a basic caramel… but seriously, the salted caramel is amazing.
If you don’t have walnuts, pecans also work really well in brownies. I prefer eating these brownies whilst they are still warm so if you can resist eating them before they cool completely, I would pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds.
They keep for days as well so if you can resist eating them all at once, you can have a little treat for a good few days afterwards!
100g walnuts, (I always use more than 100g because I love walnuts, but it’s up to you)
225g dark chocolate, chopped (I would recommend using chocolate that has a high cocoa content. If you can’t get your hands on anything, Bournville chocolate has a content of 30% and works pretty well!)
150g unsalted butter, diced
225g caster sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten (Take your eggs out of the fridge at the start so they are at room temperature when you use them)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g plain flour
A pinch of salt
50g caster sugar
50g light brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
75ml double cream
½ teaspoon of salt
23cm/9 inch square baking pan, greased and lined with baking parchment.
1. Preheat the oven to 170C, (325F), Gas 3.
2. Tip walnuts/pecans onto baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes. Roughly chop, then leave to cool.
3. Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of barely simmering water. (Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl, or the chocolate will burn!) Stir until smooth and completely combined. Leave to cool.
4. Make salted caramel. (Caramel is very attention-seeking so keep an eye on it throughout this process! I have made the error of turning away at the crucial moment, and pans have been ruined. Learn from my mistakes!!) Put sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan over low heat, and let the sugar dissolve completely (Try and make sure the sugar is in an even layer and that no part is left uncovered by water). Once dissolved, bring to the boil then cook until the syrup turns to an amber-coloured caramel. Remove from heat and add brown sugar, butter and cream (as quickly as you can!) Stir to dissolve, then return to low heat and simmer until the caramel has thickened and will coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat, add the salt, pour into a bowl, and leave to cool completely.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Add the melted chocolate mixture (make sure it is cool, or you will cook the eggs!) and stir until combined. Sift the flour and salt into the bowl, and fold in until incorporated, then stir in the nuts.
6. Pour half the mixture into the prepared baking tin and spread level. Drizzle half the salted caramel over the top, then pour the remaining mixture over that. Finish by drizzling the remaining salted caramel on top. Use a knife to swirl the mixtures together.
7. Bake on the middle shelf for 30-35 minutes. (Keep an eye though because this is what works for my oven, which is notorious for cooking slowly!)
8. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan. Remove and cut into squares and enjoy!