November 16, 2010

Salt Brownie Recipe and SALT CARAMEL Toffee Brownie Recipe

I need to start by giving you my Salt Brownies recipe, because I originally published it on a web site that is now defunct. These brownies are particularly good for hormone-based chocolate/salt cravings, but I make these pretty much every time I make brownies, emotional uproar or no. The salt is definitely noticeable: the last time I published it, someone commented that they were good brownies but she could "taste the salt." HA HA HA! Oh really? You can taste the salt in something called "Salt Brownies"?

A note to non-U.S. peeps: whenever I post a recipe calling for baking chocolate, someone asks what that is. It's a solid chunk of chocolate, in this case without sugar though it also comes in semi-sweet (kind of like dark chocolate). In the last discussion on the topic, someone from...somewhere else (England? my memory is fuzzy) concluded there was no equivalent there---or at least nothing worth eating. If you have unsweetened cocoa powder, you can reportedly substitute 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of cocoa plus 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of butter for each 1 ounce of baking chocolate---in this recipe, you'd need about a cup (225 ml) of cocoa plus 5 tablespoons (75 ml, or about 70 grams) of butter (in addition to the butter already in the recipe). I don't know AT ALL if it would work, but that's the theory.

Also, I feel dumb saying "ml" for dry ingredients. Is that...right? Should I be using grams? What do metric measuring utensils say on them? (I'll bet ml, since non-metric measuring cups are in liquid ounces, which makes sense because dry ounces can't be measured in consistent volumes.) And what about butter, how is that measured? Grams or ml? Probably can be either, just like in non-metric where it can be measured in ounces (dry) or tablespoons (liquid).


Swistle's Salt Brownies Recipe

5 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
1.5 sticks (12 tablespoons, or 3/4 cup, or 170 g) butter
2 cups (480 ml) sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) flour
rounded 1/2 t. kosher (big crystals) salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C) and butter a 9 x 13 baking pan (that's like 23 x 33 centimeters, but I don't know what sizes standard metric baking pans are). In a large saucepan (mine is 3 quarts or about 3 liters), melt the baking chocolate and butter. When melted, remove pan from heat and add sugar. Stir, then add eggs and vanilla and stir, then add flour and stir. Add salt and stir as little as possible (you don't want the salt to start dissolving---you want big pieces). Put in pan and bake 30 minutes.

********

So then I saw Heath bar bits at the store and wanted to try them on something, and I made THESE:


Swistle's Salt Caramel (or Toffee) Brownies Recipe

5 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
1.5 sticks (12 tablespoons, or 3/4 cup, or 170 g) butter
2 cups (480 ml) sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) flour
rounded 1/2 t. kosher (big crystals) salt
8 ounce (225 gram) bag Heath Bar bits (1 and 1/3 cups, if you want/need to crush your own)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C) and butter a 9 x 13 baking pan (that's like 23 x 33 centimeters, but I don't know what sizes standard metric baking pans are). In a large saucepan (mine is 3 quarts or about 3 liters), melt the baking chocolate and butter. When melted, remove pan from heat and add sugar. Stir, then add eggs and vanilla and stir, then add flour and stir. Add salt and stir as little as possible (you don't want the salt to start dissolving---you want big pieces). Put in pan and bake 30 minutes.

As soon as the pan comes out of the oven, empty the whole bag of Heath bits evenly over the hot brownies. Allow to cool. Die of love.



If you want regular toffee brownies, you can leave out the salt. But the salt PLUS the toffee gives them the coveted salt caramel flavor.

33 comments:

Pigeon said...

Mmm, this sounds delicious. I will have to try them. I have been on a choc chip cookie baking streak every day for the last week. Why no, I'm not eating an entire batch of choc chip cookies every single day. I let the kids have one or two. Why do you ask?

Miss Grace said...

And just like that. Cravings.

I LOVE salty salty goodness. These (both recipes) sound perfect!

Anonymous said...

OOOOOHHH...have just discovered the salty caramel hot chocolate at Starbucks and couldn't believe the love my tongue felt. Will have to try these in solid form (though...we don't have heath bars in canada...will have to substitute. Though we do have baking chocolate).

Swistle said...

Anon- Do you have Skor bars? Those might work too.

Susan said...

oh noooo!!! now I'll have to make them! (but thanks, seriously sounds delirious).

Erica said...

If it was possible to love you more than I already did, this recipe would certainly do it.

I love NOTHING on this earth so much as salted caramels. Ok, maaaaaybe I love my children that much... but that's on a good day. Otherwise, all bets are off.

I will make these posthaste and they shall forever be called "Swistle Brownies" in my house.

lifeofadoctorswife said...

Salt - good. Chocolate - good. Heath bar - good.

YUM.

Pavette said...

I'm baking them now. Just read the post and realized that all ingredients were in my cupboard. Five minutes to bliss! (too bad I don't have any vanilla ice cream around)

Sahara said...

While I'm sure either type would be delicious in this application, it might be worth noting that Heath bits come in two kinds: those with chocolate and those without. I have yet to ever actually SEE the kind without, but am always looking because I have a recipe I'd like to try that calls for choco-free Heath bits.

I was planning to make your mint brownies for a school function next week, but maybe I'll have to make these instead (and I already have everything on hand--blessed be those who horde specialty baking supplies)!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...the salt caramel brownies look delicious! One question, is kosher salt the same thing as sea salt?

Bunnyslippers said...

Canadian dry measuring cups are usually in ml and cups. Butter is in two cup (one lb?) bricks and occasionally packages with (half cup?) "sticks" which always temporarily confuses me. Real metric and baking purists do weigh everything because flour density can be variable enough to screw up your end product. My last 10 kg bag of flour must have been too fine or too densely packaged because it ruined everything I made for months.

You should try making your own salt caramels! They are really yummy and one recipe makes enough to go in a lot of care packages.

When you add the salt, is it grainy or flakey?

Doing my best said...

Mmmm, it's no wonder I enjoyed those brownies so much, now that I see the recipe =)...

Heather said...

Here in Australia, we have baking chocolate but I have no idea if it's sweet or not.

We weight dry ingredients in grams or cup measures. Small things (like baking powder) use normal tablespoon, teaspoon etc...

Butter comes in a block with 50 gram measures marked all the way along the block.

Most measuring jug have ml on one side, cups on the other but I have one from ikea that has your measurements on it too.

Anonymous said...

The only metric measuring utensils are typically a scale and everyday spoons, so teaspoons and tablespoons are measured with actual spoons. Only liquid ingredients are given in ml, so butter and sugar would both normally be given in grams.

I didn't know this when I spent a year abroad in Germany, so I wandered around stores for a couple months futilely looking for measuring spoons. My mom ended up sending me a set of plastic measuring cups and spoons. I find the use of normal spoons way too imprecise for a lot of baking. There are other sneaky differences, like single-acting vs. double-acting baking powder, that can also screw things up if you're not aware of them.

Swistle said...

Anon- I THINK the main difference between Kosher salt and sea salt is price: I got a big box of kosher salt for not much money but sea salt costs the earth. I found a Food Network article about the differences, though.

Swistle said...

Bunnyslippers- I made salt caramels when everyone was doing it (last year? year before?) and lovvvvvved them. SO DELISH.

Swistle said...

Bunnyslippers- ...Apparently that happy memory caused me to forget to answer your question. The salt is like big flake-chunks.

Anna said...

I'm in the UK and here you would weigh dry ingredients for baking. I do have some measuring cups but only because I make American recipes that I find online, usually I use my kitchen scales.

A fluid ounce is about 30ml if that helps. A teaspoon is officially 5ml and a tablespoon is 15ml.

Also you can get baking chocolate here, although I don't think I've ever used it so maybe it's different.

Magic27 said...

Here in France, dry stuff would have to be measured in grams (including butter). I do admit this makes it really hard for me (a very ungifted cook) to follow American recipes unless (like you) there are equivalences... And, like the Australian commenter, butter is in 125 g or 250 g blocks with 25 g markings on the packet so you don't actually have to weigh it. This thing about "sticks" of butter confused me for ages - no idea how much that was!
The ml measurements are solely for liquids. I've even got recipes using honey that use ml, but I've no idea how you could measure that without wasting most of it... With honey, I just "use some" and to hell with measurements. This attitude, of course, could explain why I'm not a very good cook...

Snoopyfan said...

Swistle, you got to it before I could! The main difference between the two salts is the Koshering process. Usually, Kosher salt IS sea salt.

A. said...

I found a link to a recipe for salted caramel butter bars through Food Lush that looks to-die-for - thought I'd share in case you'd like to add to your repertoire of salty sweets: http://cookiesandcups.blogspot.com/2010/11/dont-hate-me-because-im-butter-ful.html

I haven't tried them yet, but hope to very, very soon!

Swistle said...

A.-- Holy CRAP those look delicious. AN ENTIRE POUND OF BUTTER. Awwwww yeahhhhhh. I think I'm going to try those next.

d e v a n said...

Don't you know I'm trying to give up sugar and brownies are my weakness?! LMAO.
I will bookmark these for next week when my chocolate/salt cravings will likely explode into "I will cutcho for brownies." hee

Kristi said...

Dude, when are you going to pick your favorite person (me, you're just not completely aware of it yet) and MAKE these brownies specifically for favorite person who shall then be waiting by the mailbox every moment until delicious parcel arrives with drool running down her acne scarred chin? WHEN?

I HAD to come back up and announce that my word verification was 'thinna'. SHUT UP, word verification. Wobbly bits are CHARMING.

Mid-day drinking? PRO. Why do you ask?

pseudostoops said...

Since someone asked, I feel compelled to share some things I have learned from a lot of experience baking salty baked goods. (Warning: salt geekage ahead!)

Difference between kosher salt and sea salt is largely texture, and there are differences even among kosher salts. Morton's kosher salt, which is the most widely-available in my experience, has huge honking granules which are very good for some purposes (salting soft pretzels, grabbing a pinch to put in soup) less ideal for other purposes (baked goods where you want the crunchy salt bits to be present, but not mouth-shreddingly so.) Diamond brand kosher salt is flakier and less salty than Morton's. And sea salt is naturally evaporated salt from ocean water- one fancy version is fleur de sel, which apparently is skimmed off the top of salt ponds, resulting in these delicious flaky little crystals that are delicate and sort of shatter when you bite them. They are my favorite for salt desserts, but since they're so pricey I often compromise with the Diamond kosher.

Bunnyslippers said...

One more thing: replacing baking chocolate with butter and cocoa works but it results in drier brownies (especially for recipes with high chocolate requirements).

As kids we always used to sneak baking chocolate because we thought it was a great score because Mom left it unguarded. Unsweetened chocolate is a shock to a young pallate but it still didn't stop us from trying it regularly. :)

Anonymous said...

Ha ha bunnyslippers, I did the same. Weren't allowed chocolate in our house. Once even snuck a few DOG chocolates from a pet store out of desperation. Not as bad as the unsweetened baking chocolate, must say...

Jen said...

It's like you're made of magic!

fairydogmother said...

All I have to say is that this week has been such that this recipe will almost definitely be put to use this weekend at my house. Or, you know, both of these recipes. Bless you!

anne nahm said...

Think I gained two pounds reading this post. Was worth it!Nomnomonom

Niki said...

I am loving the insights into baking around the world. When I was living in Sweden, I was shocked to discover that they don't have vanilla extract. Instead, they have vanilla sugar. IIRC, the German students were also unfamiliar with the extract. My chocolate chip cookies were a novelty to everyone.

Jujyfruit said...

I am having One of Those Days, a blah blech very-much-needing-a-Salt- Brownie kind of day. So I stumbled around and gathered enough energy to make the brownies hoping they'd cure all that ails me.....and only just realized that I mistakenly put in 1/2 TABLESPOON of salt. These will certainly be SALT Brownies! (The desperate part is that I'm still optimistically waiting for the timer to go off so I can eat them. Ahem.)

Swistle said...

Jujyfruit- Oh man! Ha ha! Instead of milk, I suggest a gallon-sized cup of water!