Bourbon Brownies with Salted Caramel
I think there are two type of bakers. One who plans everything and another who kind of wings it.
I used to think I was the first one.
Now I realize that even with all the lists I have on things I’m going to bake, I always end up going to the grocery store, buying the necessary ingredients for the recipes but then forget about the actual recipes I was planning to do and make something entirely different. Like these three small bottles of bourbon that I got.
I was so excited to get bourbon to make Bourbon Chicken (which looks amazing!)but never got around to it. And then I went to a friend’s place who hosted me for a full weekend that, of course, I feel obligated to thank officially with a package of baked goods. I also wanted to blow them away with rich and complex flavors so I came up with this: Bourbon Brownies with Salted Caramel. Not only it sounds amazing and impressive, it also tastes amazing and impressive!
Anyhow, I took the Macadamia Nut Buzzed Brownies recipe and tweaked it, and then pulled Smitten Kitchen’s caramel recipe from Deb’s own salted caramel brownie recipe. A few things worth mentioning: the batter is going to smell very strongly of bourbon and so is the taste of the brownies. If you are not sure of how much bourbon you can take, you can reduce the bourbon to ¼ cup and the flour by a tablespoon. Furthermore, I reduced the sugar a bit since there would be caramel bits in there. Lastly, and very importantly, this is very rich brownies with a strong undertone of the bourbon and deep bitter flavor. Definitely an adult version of brownies and you may not want to give your little kids these brownies, especially since this.
Bourbon Brownies with Salted Caramel
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tbs unsalted butter, cut into smaller pieces
about ¼ tsp sea salt
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Prepare parchment paper on a plate. This is where you are going to dump your caramel once it finished cooking and before it turns hard.
Dump the sugar in a pan (try a light colored pan so you can actually see the color of the sugar once it starts caramelizing) and put it on medium heat. Let the sugar melt for about 4-6 minutes until the color turns to amber. Take the pan off the heat and throw in all the butter. The mixture is going to bubble up (so be careful) but keep whisking. It doesn’t need to be perfectly well-mixed and that’s okay. Mix in the salt and heavy cream and put the pan back on the heat to let it simmer*. Keep whisking until the caramel turns smooth and a shade darker.
Pour the caramel out onto the parchment paper and stick it in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes or until it turns solid. After about 10-15 minutes, you can start preparing the brownie batter.
½ cup dark (bittersweet) chocolate chips + ¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips
¾ cup (1½ stick) butter
1 ½ tsp instant coffee
½ cup brown sugar + ¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup bourbon + 2 tbs bourbon
3 large eggs
¾ cup AP Flour
¼ cup cocoa powder + 2 tbs cocoa powder
¼ tsp sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Melt the chocolate chips and butter in a double-boiler*. Take the bowl off the stove and put in the instant coffee and stir it in until well-mixed. Mix in both sugars and whisk until well-combined. Pour in the bourbon into the mixture and make sure you mix it well.
Wait a little bit until the mixture has cooled off (or throw it into the freezer for a minute or two) before cracking the eggs into the mixture. This is to make sure that the eggs are not partially cooked when mixed in. Lastly, fold in the AP flour and cocoa powder into the egg mixture until well-combined. Your brownie batter is done! Pour the batter into your baking pan that is already lined with parchment paper.
Cut up the now-solid caramel into square pieces (how big or small is up to you) and then drop them into the baking pan with brownie batter. Make sure that you distribute them evenly. You can put in as much or as few (but why would you, right?) into the batter but I used about half of the caramel.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until a skewer (or toothpick) come out clean. Don’t overbake this so you can get the fudginess!
*It’s okay if the caramel turns a bit solid, just let it melt again on the stove.