Stiff Peaks

An indulgent journey into baking

Debauched Brownies

There’s a trend isn’t there? I’ve seen recipes for “slutty” brownies and the like; essentially a mashup of indulgent desserts into one super dessert. Well, I’ve made a few of these over the years and it’s time for me to make my mark! My Debauched Brownie is composed of a soft, rich homemade chocolate chip cookie base, a decadent layer of caramel, and completed by a triple chocolate brownie.

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Ingredients

Chocolate Chip Cookie

  • 75g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 80g light brown muscovado sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 130g plain flour
  • 1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 100g dark chocolate (chips or chopped)

Caramel

  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 55g unsalted butter
  • 45ml double cream

Triple Chocolate Brownie

  • 180g unsalted butter
  • 180g dark chocolate (70% minimum)
  • 80g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 50g white chocolate (chips or chopped)
  • 50g milk chocolate (chips or chopped)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 270g golden caster sugar

Equipment

  • 23cm square baking tin or similar size
  • baking parchment
  • small saucepan
  • oven preheated to 170ยบ celsius

Method

Let’s begin with the chocolate chip cookie. Start by creaming together butter an sugar in a medium bowl with a whisk or using a mixer. Once well blended, add in the egg and vanilla extract. In another bowl sieve together the plain flour, baking powder, and salt. On a slow speed in a mixer, or by hand with a wooden spoon or spatula, slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. You’re aiming for a dough that doesn’t stick to your hands when handled, so you may need to add a dash more flour. Once just incorporated, sprinkle in the chocolate chips and stir together by hand. Collect the mixture into a large ball, roll in cling film and allow to chill in the fridge for at least an hour. This allows the butter to re-solidify and glutens to relax.

While the cookie mixture is chilling, we can start making the caramel. So firstly, take your baking tin and line it with a sheet of baking parchment that leaves handles to hold onto at each side. You will not need to grease this yet, as we’re using this sheet to mold the caramel. Run your nail into the corners of the pan and fold back slightly, to crease into shape the baking sheet so it doesn’t spring out of the tin once you let go.

In a small pan, throw in your granulated sugar making sure that it’s an even layer. Heat on a medium temperature until the colour has changed to a rich dark amber. You may be tempted to stir the sugar but at best you should only swirl the pan if you find the sugar unevenly darkening. If you stir the sugar it will crystalise and ruin the smooth texture of your caramel.

Once you’ve got an even dark amber colour, pour in half the cream. At this point the caramel will violently erupt, but, carefully you should keep stirring the mixture until it settles down. Once calm, pour in the rest of the cream and your butter and stir until blended. Finally pour the caramel onto the baking sheet lining your tin so it evenly covers the base of the pan. Allow the caramel to cool slightly before transferring to the fridge for a few minutes, then the freezer for 20-30 minutes so it can harden.

Once your cookie dough has finished chilling, remove it from the fridge. By now your caramel should have finished chilling too, so remove it from the freezer and extract the baking parchment from the tin (you can return the caramel to the freezer, wrapped in the baking parchment to keep it firm). Grease and line your baking tin with a fresh sheet of baking parchment. Gently roll your cookie dough to a thickness of around ½ cm with a rolling pin dusted in flour. The dough may be somewhat wet so plenty of flour may be required. Cut a shape the size of your tin from the dough and place it in, smoothing the dough into the corners with flour tipped fingers. It doesn’t need to be precise as the cookie will spread naturally during the bake. Place your tin into the preheated oven and bake for around 15 minutes. It should be browning slightly on top before you remove it from the oven. Allow to cool before continuing.

With your cookie base now cool, take your caramel and trim 1 cm off each edge. This is so that when the brownie mixture is added, it seals in the caramel while it cooks. Carefully transfer your caramel to the baking tin and settle it on top of the cookie. The caramel should be brought to room temperature before you add the brownie mixture, else it won’t cook in the middle.

We can finally start making the brownie mixture. Start by placing the butter and broken chocolate into a glass bowl that you can place over a small pan ¼ filled with hot water. Making sure the bowl is not touching the water, on a low heat allow the pan to warm the bottom of the bowl until the chocolate and butter have melted, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the pan, allowing it to cool naturally.

Sieve together the flour and cocoa powder into a medium bowl. In another bowl with a whisk, or in an electric mixer, mix the eggs with your sugar on a high speed until thick and creamy. The mixture should leave trails on the surface for a couple of seconds when it’s done. Gently fold in the cooled chocolate mixture until there’s an even colour. Do this delicately with a rubber spatula so you don’t knock too much air out. Fold in the dry ingredients using the same technique until well incorporated and fudgy. Finally stir in the chocolate chips and pour the mixture into the tin, covering the caramel.

Put the tin back into the oven for around 30 minutes. Gently shake the pan to test if it’s baked. If the brownie wobbles, then put it back in for an extra 5 minutes. Repeat as necessary.

Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin. Because of the cool caramel underneath, the center of the brownie will be on the gooey side.

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