Today was a chocolate day. One of those days where, no matter what you distract yourself with or allow yourself to indulge in, you will always feel just short of satisfied. In these situations, it is wise to give in to temptation. Until you placate this hankering for something sweet, you will fail to lift the drab filter veiled over everything else you eat. Science has suggested that foods which are high in fat or sugar stimulate the brain’s pleasure centre, which in turn influences our mood. So I implore you to give into science, conduct this experiment and see if we can substantiate this theory.
Earlier in the week I had fraternised with the idea of salted caramel brownies in response to a suggestion from a friend for a Creme Egg brownie, which everyone seems to obsess over once the Christmas selection boxes have given way to all the echelons of Easter confectionary. However, my deep dislike for the sickly and synthetic fondant centre of Creme Eggs means I will never capitulate into this trend. With that in mind, a brownie with another kind of oozy, sweet filling seemed like a fitting compromise. One of my favourite food bloggers turned food writers The Smitten Kitchen has an alluring recipe for salted caramel brownies which I had enthusiastically decided to try; Salted Caramel Brownies, The Smitten Kitchen.
However, much to my delight, my copy of Delicious. magazine, which gazed up at me when I returned home after a stressful and draining week at work last night, also contained an enticing and seductive salted caramel brownie recipe. Fate, it seemed had intervened. The Delicious. recipe used a shortcut ingredient to create a gooey stream of caramel running through dark and fudgey chocolate brownies, one of my favourite little caramel/chocolate morsels; rolos. Now, I must confess that I am not new to the nuisances of rolo brownies. Many a Sunday afternoon in my difficult teenage years was devoted to sitting in front of the oven with my best friend watching a sumptuously thick, brown batter bake into a delectable slab of brownies. However, over a decade ago, using salt in something sweet was a nonsensical idea. I was therefore looking forward to putting a modern(-ish) twist on a classic from my childhood.
This batter was relaxingly simple to make; no bain marie necessary, no panicking about butter coming to room temperature for creaming and limited washing up. Simply melt the chocolate and butter together in a small saucepan, fold into the whisked eggs and sugar, then carefully mix in the dry ingredients and rolos. Easy! In fact, the hardest part is waiting for the brownies to cool before cutting them into squares and lifting cake to face. I failed slightly here and compromised on cracked edges to my brownies in order satiate my chocolate cravings soon after I had removed the tray from the oven….
Delicious. Magazine’s Salted Rolo Brownies
200g unsalted butter (plus extra for greasing)
200g plain chocolate, broken into pieces (70% cocoa solids)
125g light muscovado sugar
125g caster sugar
4 medium free-range eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g plain flour
1 tbsp cocoa
1/2 – 1 tsp sea salt (to taste)
126 g bag of rolos, half chopped and half left whole
Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/Fan 150°C/Gas 3.5. Grease and line a 20cm baking tin so that the baking paper comes higher than the tin. The discerning among you will remember that I do not own a 20cm square baking tin, therefore in this instance I used my trusty brownie tin (32 x 20cm) and folded in one side of the baking paper, to make a seam, to stop the batter spreading the length of the tin.
Melt the 200g of butter and chocolate together in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Take care not to over heat as the chocolate may seize. Allow to cool slightly.
In a mixing bowl whisk the eggs, sugars and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Fold in the cooled chocolate mixture.
I took great delight in muddying the light, pale and airy eggs with a dark pool of rich, melted chocolate.
Sift in the flour and cocoa, then fold through sea salt to taste. I have to confess that I doubled the amount of salt, upping it to two teaspoons. I will readily admit that my taste buds require an unhealthy amount of salt to appreciate its impact on flavour, but feel free to use as little (or as much) as you like, I fear that I’ve already led you down the path of indulgence so why hold back now?
Mix in the chopped rolos.
For me, rolos are a considerably under rated chocolate. An oldie, but a goodie, these little pots or caramel, encaptured in chocolate, ensure a speedy route to oozy and squidgy brownies. Resisting the temptation to eat half of your rolos is something I shan’t try to warn you against. Instead, my advice is to buy more than you need, that way you need not feel guilty for any misdemeanors which may occur whilst baking…
Pour the batter into your prepared tin (or makeshift tin in my case) and press the whole rolos into the surface.
The thick, dark batter needs to be spread evenly across the tin to ensure an even bake. Pressing in the rolos slightly will encourage the caramel to joyously seep into the centre of your brownies.
Bake for 25 – 30 mins. Now, the recipe led my astray here. I set my timer and instinct took over and told me to check after 22 minutes. I think I was two minutes too late and worried that I had passed the point of “gooey consistency”. To rectify this I put the tray straight into the fridge to impede any further cooking. This resulted in slightly squidgy brownies, helped along by the sticky caramel centred rolos. Nonetheless, next time I will be checking after 18 minutes. It is worth noting that all ovens are different so please do alter recipe timings based on the nuisances of your own oven.
Ramshackle, slightly warm, gooey brownies. An excellent way to ease you into the weekend.