I was fortunate enough to represent my Pastry School- The Institute of Culinary Education on a recent episode of Epicurious.com 4 Levels of Brownies: Amateur to Food Scientist How do you like your brownies? Gooey? Cakey? We challenged chefs of three different levels – an amateur, a home cook and a professional chef – to make their versions of the brownie. And then we brought in a food scientist to review their work. Which brownie was the best?
In this video I was pitted againt two other chefs, who I thought did I great job…and I would have loved to try their creations. How do you like your brownies? Gooey? Cakey? We challenged chefs of three different levels – an amateur, a home cook and a professional chef – to make their versions of the brownie. And then we brought in a food scientist to review their work. Which brownie was the best? Here’s my recipe if you want to give it a try: Bourbon Salted Caramel Brownies Makes one 13x 9-inch pan of brownies Caramel 1 pound granulated sugar 8 ounces of unsalted butter; cut into small ¼-inch squares. (Plugra or Kerry gold) Just needs to be pure butter (no oil added) 1 tsp. flaky sea salt (fleur de sel) 6 ounces heavy cream 4 ounces, good quality Bourbon Brownie 8 ounces unsalted butter 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate -I prefer pistols (i.e. discs)- But choc. chips are fine too…just a good brand! 4 large eggs ½ teaspoon salt 8 ounces granulated sugar 8 ounces dark brown sugar ½ fluid ounce vanilla extract 4 ounces all-purpose flour Cooking spray (or can use extra butter) EQUIPMENT NEEDED: 13 x 9 x 2-inch high pan ONE cast-iron sauce pan (medium or large) Heat-proof bowl Parchment paper Whisk Large wooden spoon Rubber spatulas Off-set spatula Scale (for measuring ingredients) First make the caramels:
- Line a 13 x 9-inch pan with parchment paper, lightly buttered.
- In a medium saucepan (make sure it is completely dry) over medium-high heat, melt the sugar. Use a spatula to break up any large chunks of sugar but then stop stirring and let the sugar melt on its own, undisturbed. Takes about 8-10 minutes.
- Once all the sugar is melted, and it has reached a deep amber color remove from the heat.
- Gradually whisk in the butter until it is dissolved.
- Stir in the cream, bourbon and salt. Return the pan to the stove to incorporate all of the ingredients and to a low simmer to make sure all the sugar crystals have dissolved completely. Once the caramel bubbles slightly and reaches a dark amber color remove from the stove.
- Pour the caramel into the parchment lined sheet tray and transfer the tray into a freezer. Freeze for at least one hour. Depending on the humidity in your freezer you may need more or less time for the caramels to solidify.
Make the brownies:
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line a 13 x 9x 2-inch pan with two pieces of over lapping parchment paper, make sure the parchment continues up the sides of the pan. Butter the parchment (you can also use non-stick spray if easier)
- Bring a saucepan of water to boil and turn off heat. Combine butter and chocolate in a heat proof bowl and set over the pan of water, stirring occasionally until completely melted. Take off the heat and set aside to cool.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer combine the sugar, brown sugar, and salt. Gradually add the eggs, scraping the sides after each addition. Add the vanilla.
- Stir in chocolate butter mixture until combine.
- Add in flour, be careful not to over-mix.
- Pour ¾ of the batter into prepared pan.
- Pull-out tray of caramels from the freezer and either cut into 1-inch squares or if caramel is still soft, use a 1-inch ball scooper and scoop balls of caramel onto a tray.
- Drop ¾ of the caramels through-out the batter. Pour the remaining batter over the caramels. Scatter the remaining caramels on top.
- Bake in the middle rack of the oven for about 45 min.
To cut brownies, once they have cooled to room temp- stick in the freezer for 30 min or until firm. This will allow you to cut the brownies into perfect squares. Add ice cream or whipped cream for a delicious and cool topping to the warm brownie, drizzle with extra caramel.