Sometimes, you need chocolate.
And I’m not talking about wussy Hershey’s chocolate, or some crappy box brownies.
I’m talking deep dark chocolate, fudgy and decadent, with ribbons of creamy gooey dulce de leche swirled throughout.
These are not everyday brownies. These are special occasion brownies, the kind that you make for birthdays and baby showers and breakup’s. Even when you make them for yourself, you need to put on a little lipstick and something silky in preparation. (And if you, as Jethro puts it, “got the lactose-itis” like me, you include about 6 pills of Lactaid. SO worth it.)
You do not mess around with these brownies.
Respect the brownie.
For this, you can use a jar or can of dulce de leche, but I like to make my own. However, most people making their own requires boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk on a low simmer until it turns into that lovely caramel-y goodness.
This scares the beejeezus out of me.
No, don’t tell me its easy and safe and you’ve been doing it for years. I believe you and I’m jealous. But seriously, I have had enough little “incidents” in my life for me to know that YOU boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk for four hours results in lovely dulce de leche. ME, boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk for four hours, resulting in pressurized dairy products exploding, searing hot caramel all over my kitchen and a melted face that will not look good on a Christmas card.
I know how these things work. Jesus loves me, but he also loves to poke me with a stick if I try to get fancy.
SO. For this recipe, I recommend the David Lebovitz’s way of making dulce de leche. He’s famous ‘n sh*t, so you know this is gonna be good. It’s basically just giving the sweetened condensed milk a water bath, which is more time intensive, but it’s also safer. Give yourself time to make this, possibly even the day before. He says it takes at most a little over an hour, but I’ve found it takes longer.
The full recipe comes from sweetnicks. I still have the printed out copy I first tried it on, and it’s dated 2006. So this is a five-year old recipe that I still count as my go-to when fancy chocolate is required. That’s probably a bigger compliment than anything I can say, so I’ll shut up and get to the good stuff.
Dulce de Leche Brownies
Adapted from sweetnicks
14 oz of dulce de leche
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder (I prefer to use dark.)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Using buttered parchment paper, line a 9×13 pan, leaving at least a 2 in overlap on each side. (This is important, don’t skip this part.) Foil can be used, but I don’t recommend it. (When putting the parchment in the pan, go ahead and crease into the corners of the pan so it sits in the pan well. You don’t want it sliding around or popping out. It makes a mess when you pour the batter in. Don’t ask how I know this.)
In a medium bowl, mix together the cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugar. Mix in one egg at a time and then add in the vanilla. Stir well.
Slowly mix in the dry ingredients with the wet. Batter will not be perfectly smooth, but will be a pretty dark dark brown. Admire the prettiness of the batter. Resist the urge to test it out with your finger. Forgive yourself when you do.
Spread the batter in the pan. It will be thick and resist spreading. Accept what you cannot change.
Drop the dulce de leche in dollops over the batter. Make a plopping noise with your mouth, it makes it more fun. Using a knife, swirl the dulce de leche and the batter together. It will resist this also. Respect the batter, bt don’t give in. Also, don’t mix together, just swirl. Like a good marriage, they should form a partnership, but remain individuals.
Set the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 26 to 30 minutes. If testing, remember to test only the brownie part, not the dulce de leche. It will be gooey and possibly burn you when you are unable to resist licking the test batter. Try not to over-bake, the brownies should be cooked until they are just set.
Take out of the oven and set on a baking rack or trivet to cool. Using the hanging-offy bits of parchment paper, use that to lift out of the pan. (SEE? It’s important.) Chill in the refrigerator for 30 to 45 minutes before cutting into bars. If you can’t wait that long, it is perfectly acceptable to only wait until it is cool enough for you and a friend to eat out of the pan with a spoon. Share the spoon. And make sure you’re wearing lipstick and something silky.
There are no pictures of this, because I don’t want your faces to explode. Instead, I give you something almost as hot and sexy as dulce de leche brownies.
Man makes a body’s teeth sweat, doesn’t he?