Sometimes, I ironically bite off more than I can chew when it comes to trying new recipes.
This week was one of those times.
I was invited to donate something to a dessert auction, and I decided it was the perfect time to try a recipe for some decadent brownies I’ve been eyeballing for quite a long time.
I naively thought that making brownies would take up far less of my afternoon than if I made a pie or cake. I was so, so wrong—but only about the timeframe. The flavor was absolutely amazing. I highly recommend making these, as long as you have a few hours to burn.
This comes from the blog “Butter Baking.” You can find the original post at https://www.butterbaking.com/2015/04/21/salted-caramel-pretzel-brownies/. I doubled the vanilla in my version and made sure to convert everything to U.S. standard measurements.
Salted Caramel Pretzel Brownies
Base Layer Ingredients
- 1/4 cup butter melted
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 1/2 cups pretzels roughly chopped
Brownie Layer Ingredients
- 3/4 cup butter
- 16 ounces dark chocolate roughly chopped
- 5 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
Salted Caramel Layer Ingredients
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 heavy cream
- coarse or flaked salt for topping
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Start by greasing and lining a nine-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, and set it aside.
- In a bowl, combine the melted butter, brown sugar and maple syrup. Stir until it’s well combined, and then stir in the pretzels, making sure to coat them evenly.
- Spread the pretzel mixture in an even, single layer in your prepared pan. (It won’t completely cover the bottom. Just spread it as evenly as you can.) Bake the pretzel mixture for six to eight minutes or until the layer is set. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside while you prepare the next layer.
- Decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- Place water in the bottom of a double boiler or in a medium-sized saucepan with a glass bowl that will fit on top (be careful not to let the bowl touch the water); heat the water over medium heat to bring it to a low simmer. Add the butter and dark chocolate to the top, stirring constantly until everything is melted and well combined. Remove it from heat and set it aside to cool slightly.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla on high speed until it is thick and a pale yellow—about three minutes. Fold in the chocolate until well combined, and then fold in the flour.
- Pour the batter into the pan over top of the pretzel layer, smoothing it out evenly.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the top begins to crack slightly and the brownie layer is mostly firm. (Try wiggling the pan a little. If it’s really wobbly still, bake it a bit longer. These won’t feel completely set when they’re done. Just pay attention to the edges and the top.) Set the brownies aside to cool.
- For the caramel, add the water and sugar into a medium-sized saucepan, place a candy thermometer in the mixture, and heat over high heat, stirring occasionally. In a second medium-sized saucepan, heat the butter and cream over low, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted.
- When the caramel turns a deep brown color and the thermometer reads 350 degrees, immediately remove it from the heat. Whisk the butter mixture into the caramel (be careful; it will fizz up a bit).
- Return the pan to high heat and cook for another five minutes, stirring continuously, until it thickens a little.
- Pour the caramel over top of the brownie layer and spread it out evenly.
- Refrigerate the brownies for about five hours or until the caramel layer is set. Sprinkle the entire top with your desired amount of coarse salt, and then cut into squares.
- Keep the brownies refrigerated in an air-tight container until you’re ready to serve them.
Holy moly, guys. These were awesome. They were very rich, but the salt from the tops and the pretzels balanced everything out really well.
In the end, all my effort to make these was worth it, and they fetched a good amount on the auction. Plus, I got to try the ugly end pieces while I was cutting them up, so it was a win-win. Next time, I’ll need to remember that just because a dessert is smaller doesn’t mean it’s easier. Lesson learned.
This piece first appeared in print on May 12, 2022.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.