Our Top Pick in Cookbooks for December is Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, with nearly 100 recipes that are "pure Ina: inspiring, totally trustworthy, confidence-building, packed with full-page photos and generously seasoned with tips for getting everything planned, prepped and plated."

Barefoot Contessa Foolproof is also one of our Top 10 Cookbooks of 2012! Who else is making these brownies tonight?

Salted Caramel Brownies

Makes 12 large brownies

Salted Caramel Brownies

  • ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter

  • 8 ounces plus 6 ounces Hershey’s semisweet chocolate chips

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate

  • 3 extra-large eggs

  • 1½ tablespoons instant coffee granules, such as Nescafé

  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided

  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 5 to 6 ounces good caramel sauce, such as Fran’s

  • 2 to 3 teaspoons flaked sea salt, such as Maldon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9 x 12 x 1½—inch baking pan.

Melt the butter, 8 ounces of the chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate together in a medium bowl set over simmering water. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature (see note).

In a medium bowl, sift together ½ cup of the flour, the baking powder, and salt and add to the chocolate mixture. Toss the remaining 6 ounces of chocolate chips and the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour in a medium bowl and add them to the chocolate mixture. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.

Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Don’t overbake!

As soon as the brownies are out of the oven, place the jar of caramel sauce without the lid in a microwave and heat just until it’s pourable. Stir until smooth. Drizzle the caramel evenly over the hot brownies and sprinkle with the sea salt. Cool completely and cut into 12 bars.

Note: You’ll want to find true caramel sauce rather than dulce de leche, which has a lot of milk or cream added. Fran’s can be ordered at franschocolates.com.

Note: It is very important to allow the batter to cool before adding the chocolate chips, or the chips will melt and ruin the brownies.

Reprinted from the book Barefoot Contessa Foolproof copyright © 2012 by Ina Garten.  Photograph copyright © 2012 by Quentin Bacon. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc. Read our review of this book.

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