Big fat drops of water have been falling from the sky these last few days, a phenomenon that seems strangely familiar to me. It turns out that our long stretch of beautiful spring sunshine does not transform Ireland into the Cote d'Azur and I'm glad I didn't pack my coat and scarf away. Let's hope that whoever is in charge of the weather realises that three weeks of sun in April does not a summer make.
Not having to feel guilty about being chained to the oven while the sun chastises me through the kitchen window I am contributing to another blogging event, which I came across while drooling over Kieran's Kahlua Brownies. With the impossible to resist title Brownie Babe of the Month, it is hosted by Myriam over at Once Upon A Tart. I bake brownies four or five times a week to sell, and the recipe I use is Nigella's from How to be a Domestic Goddess. I am of the opinion that less is more when it comes to brownies but Myriam was looking for recipes that push the boat out, so I did a little trawling (no appalling pun intended) and came up with a Darwinian evolution of two recipes.
Part of a quintuple chocolate brownie recipe in Dorie Greenspans Baking: From my home to yours combined with a recipe for turtle brownies (I don't know why they're called that either) found on Epicurious (sorry this post seems to be littered with links (and brackets.)) Dorie's recipe for a brownie that contains chocolate in five different guises has a suggestion to try salted cashew nuts as an added extra so I thought of taking her up on her kind offer. Seeing as brownies are an American creation and American's tend to have something of a sweet tooth I was hoping to get some caramel in there somewhere. The Epicurious recipe had a brownie topped with a caramel and pecan layer so the two kind of melded together with a variation of Dorie's dense chocolate chip brownies ending up with a layer of salted cashew nut caramel on top. Sweet.
threaten promise you another chocolate inspired recipe and I hope this one nudges a boundary or two. I can't think of what to name them so I'll just call them Salted Cashew Nut Caramel Layered Chocolate Chip Brownies. Enough said.
SALTED CASHEW NUT CARAMEL LAYERED CHOCOLATE CHIP BROWNIES
FOR THE BROWNIE:
- 70g plain flour
- 30g good quality cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 115g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 175g dark chocolate (I used 60%)
- 2 tbls strong coffee
- 200g demerera (or caster) sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 175g milk chocolate chips, or chopped up bars of milk chocolate
FOR THE SALTED CASHEW NUT CARAMEL:
- 150g caster sugar
- 80ml golden syrup
- 3 tbls water
- 80 mls double cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 175g roasted, salted cashew nuts
- To make the brownies: Line a 9 inch square tin with foil and preheat the oven to 170 C. Sift the flour cocoa and salt together and set aside. Melt the butter, chocolate and coffee together in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Don't let the mixture get to hot and don't let any steam come into contact with the chocolate. Stir gently until smooth and leave to cool for five minutes.
- Using a rubber spatula, beat the sugar into the chocolate mixture, you don't want to get air into the batter and don't worry about graininess. Stir in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla. You should have a smooth glossy batter. Gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing until just incorporated. Lastly, stir in the milk chocolate chips. Scrape the batter into the pan.
- Bake for about 35 minutes (but start checking before this) or until a thin knife, or skewer comes out streaked but not coated in batter. Transfer, in the tin, to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
- To make the caramel: Over a moderate heat bring sugar, golden syrup, water and a pinch of salt to a boil in a medium sized, heavy-based saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Boil, without stirring, until the mixture turns a golden caramel colour, about 10 minutes. I could have taken my caramel a little further but I was nervous of burning it. Still tasted good though! When you have the right colour remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the double cream and vanilla. Mixture will bubble and steam briefly. Stir in the cashew nuts and immediately pour over brownie layer. Cool completely in tin on rack. Leave to set for about 4 hours, if you can.
Serves? It depends on how big a brownie you want!