Everyone has a favorite brownie recipe, but we think our version, which is spiked with luscious dulce de leche, is outstanding.
The inspiration for this concoction is Leslie’s Caramel Brownies, a recipe developed by one of my pastry chefs at the Sconset Café in the 1980s. The original featured Kraft caramel candies and devil’s food cake mix.
This version, calling for artisanal chocolate and butter, is more upscale, to say the least! And best of all, there’s no need endure the tedium of unwrapping hundreds of cello-wrapped caramels, thanks to our star ingredient — smooth, thick, rich dulce de leche.
The brownies are simple to make, but for the best flavor and texture, they need at least 8 hours of refrigeration. The chill step transforms a fairly cakey brownie into something as dense and moist as fudge. Dulce de leche can be purchased at specialty shops, but our sous vide version is dynamite, and costs just a fraction of the price of fancy brands.
Makes about 16 brownies
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Butter the foil or parchment and the sides of the pan.
- Place the two chocolates and the butter in the top of a double boiler and melt over gently simmering water, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool for 5 minutes. Alternatively, microwave the chocolates and butter in a glass bowl at low (50%) power for about 3 minutes, rotating the bowl and stirring the mixture every minute or so. Remove from the microwave when most but not all of the chocolate is melted and stir until completely melted. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the eggs in a large bowl and whisk until thick. Add the sugar, ¼ cup at a time, whisking to blend. Whisk in the vanilla. Stir in the chocolate mixture and the walnuts.
- In another small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate batter and mix just until combined. Do not overbeat.
- Transfer half of the batter to the prepared pan. Using a teaspoon, drop dollops of dulce de leche over the batter, using slightly less than half of the caramel. With the tip of a knife, lightly swirl the caramel into the batter. Just three of four passes with the knife will suffice. Top with the remaining batter. Drop teaspoonfuls of the remaining dulce de leche over the top of the brownies. Using the tip of a knife, lightly swirl the caramel into the brownies. Don’t cut through the batter – just incorporate the caramel into the top ¼ inch.
- Bake until the brownies have puffed and pulled away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, 43 to 50 minutes. Do not overcook the brownies or they will be dry. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 3 days.
- Turn the brownies out of the baking pan onto a flat plate and remove and discard the foil or parchment. With a sharp knife, cut into squares. The brownies will keep, covered, for 3 or 4 days (for best results, keep refrigerated until about an hour before serving time).