Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth: when that’s the name of the cookbook, you know you are in for a good time!
I got this terrific cookbook as a gift from my friend Gigi, and decided to break it in by making these Heart Of Darkness Brownies. The name alone was enough to make me want to give these a try. Add in the fact that there are no less than FIVE chopped Snickers Bars, caramel sauce, and toasted marshmallows among the fabulous ingredient list.
Each of these sinfully delicious brownies is the perfect combination of chocolatey, sticky carmel-y, messy, gooey goodness. Here is how you make them:
You can find the recipe for Heart of Darkness Brownies here. Unlike traditional brownies, these gems are made in a muffin tin so there is no cutting involved! Prepare a standard 12 cup muffin tin with a spray of Pam Cooking Spray and set aside.
This recipe has two parts: The brownie and the caramel drizzle sauce. I like to make the caramel sauce first to give it time to set up before using. The recipe calls for using store-bought caramel candies melted with some cream to make the sauce. I thought the store-bought caramels would be too over-the-top sweet so I made my own Salted Caramel Sauce from scratch. This Salted Caramel with its rich, slightly salty flavor is the perfect accompaniment to the sweet and gooey brownie. Either way, make the sauce and set aside. I placed my sauce in the fridge to really thicken the consistency.
Salted Caramel Sauce
4 tablespoons water
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt, kosher or sea
2 Tablespoons of Cognac (optional)
1. Combine the water, sugar, and the corn syrup in a deep saucepan and cook over medium heat.
2. Stir together with a wooden spoon until the sugar is incorporated.
3. Cover the saucepan and let it cook over medium heat for 3 minutes.
4. After 3 minutes, remove the lid, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil.
5. Do not stir from this point on, but it is important to carefully shake the pan so that one area of the caramel doesn’t burn.
6. Continue to cook until the caramel turns an even amber color then remove from the heat and let stand for about 30 seconds.
7. *** This is the dangerous part *** Pour the heavy cream into the mixture. (if going the cognac route, this is where you would put it in.) Wear oven mitts, stand away from the pan, and be careful. The mixture will bubble up significantly.
8. Stir the mixture, again being careful. Add the butter, lemon juice, and salt. Stir until combined.
9. Measure 1 cup into a Pyrex measuring cup. Stirring occasionally, allow to cool until thick like molasses and warm to the touch, about 20 minutes.
When the Caramel Sauce is finished, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and gather the ingredients for the brownie batter. Chop the 5 Snickers Bars into even, bite-sized pieces and set aside. Chop the nuts (I used almonds) and toast until brown and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
Melt together the butter and chocolate and stir until smooth, let cool slightly. Mix the slightly cooled chocolate mixture with the sugars, eggs and vanilla until well combined. Add the flour and salt and stir until just combined. Stir in the cooled nuts, chocolate chips and candy bar pieces.
Fill each muffin cup with batter and bake for 20 minutes. The recipe says to take the brownies from the oven, top with marshmallows and then bake for another two minutes until they start to melt.
I decided I wanted toasted marshmallows instead, so I removed the brownies from the oven and quickly turned them upside down onto a cookie sheet and let them sit upside-down for a few minutes, then carefully lifted the warm pan off (If you let the brownies cool completely in the pan the caramel hardens and the brownies won’t come out easily).
After the brownies cooled a little, I turned them right-side up on the cookie sheet. Each brownie got topped with a dollop of caramel sauce “glue” to hold the marshmallows in place. Next I put the brownies under the broiler for a few minutes until they were all brown and toasty. I let the brownies cool and then drizzled with MORE caramel sauce and a finished with a tiny pinch of sea salt.
Each brownie was placed in its own wax paper square before packing for transport. The wax paper made it a snap to serve each brownie with no mess or sticking. Enjoy!