Summer holidays are over, which means the diet’s also over and Elldrew can get back to Sunday afternoon baking (although our new policy is to share the goods with our colleagues and thereby minimise the impact on our personal waistlines!). This week’s treat was Donna Hay’s decadent Caramel Crunch Brownies but with an added Elldrew twist to make them a more grown-up affair, and we took a sneaky shortcut to speed up the process. Read on for the recipe, and our tips (including a nifty trick for rescuing a split ganache).
- 100g dark chocolate, chopped
- 125g unsalted butter
- 175g brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 100g plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
- 1 tablespoon cocoa
Cheat’s Caramel Crunch:
- 1 jar of shop bought Caramel sauce or Dulce de Leche
- 2 cups (70g) puffed rice cereal
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 300g dark chocolate, chopped
- ½ cup (125ml) single (pouring) cream
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Place the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until melted and smooth. Set aside.
- Place the sugar, eggs, flour and cocoa in a bowl with the chocolate mixture and mix until well combined. With hindsight we would suggest melting the chocolate and butter in a large saucepan and just added the ingredients to that; thus one less bowl to wash up (but do let the saucepan with the sauce cool first so that you don’t scramble the eggs!).
- Pour the mixture into a lined greased brownie tray, or 20cm-square cake tin, and bake for 25-30 minutes or until set.
- Allow to cool (for around an hour).
Donna Hay wants you to make the caramel from scratch. Elldrew are sure this is absolutely scrumptious but we have neither a sugar thermometer nor the desire to play with a scalding saucepan of boiling hot sugar syrup, so we took a shortcut and substituted the time and effort with a jar of Waitrose Seriously Buttery Caramel Sauce. We were a little worried that it wouldn’t set but it was just fine (see tips below though).
- Open the jar of the caramel sauce.
- Stir in ½ teaspoon (or to taste) of fresh ground sea salt flakes.
- Microwave as per the jar instructions.
- Tip into a bowl with 2 cups of puffed rice cereal, stir until combined.
- Pour the caramel mixture over the cooled brownie baseand smooth.
Our handy hint here is to then pop it all into the fridge. This did the job of setting the caramel as expected.
Elldrew have made ganache many times; it’s pretty simple – heat the cream, add the chocolate to the cream and stir until melted. Job done.
Donna recommended we place the chocolate and cream in a saucepan over low heat and stir until melted and smooth. We should have listened to our instincts but instead we followed the recipe and tragedy struck when 3 bars of “good quality” (ie expensive) dark chocolate split into a lumpy, gooey oily mess. We momentarily panicked, quickly googled and equally quickly grabbed an electric hand whisk and whipped the split ganache into a frenzy for about a minute. We uncovered our eyes and lo-and-behold the wasteful mess had transformed into a delicious silky, shiny ganache. How did we ever survive in the days before google we wondered briefly, before proceeding with the recipe.
Finally, pour your ganache (however you’ve made it) over the caramel crunch and allow to cool at room temperature until set.
Decant, slice and serve!