I'm fortunate to work with people who looooove food. Our annual department potluck is legendary, and I always glance hopefully at certain desks, in hopes something homemade is on offer, displayed beckoningly on the corner of a desk.
One of these food lovers turned me onto a great little cookbook: Baked Explorations, written by a team of bakers from Brooklyn.
It's a beautiful book and I've got post-its on several pages. When I offered to bring something to a friend's place for her birthday on Sunday, I offered to let her make a suggestion, but I was glad when she didn't ask for anything specific. A third of the fun of making dessert is picking the recipe (the other thirds are the making & the consuming, of course!). When I turned the page on the recipe for Baked's Sweet & Salty Brownies, I knew I'd found just the thing! My friend is famous for her love of salt, and is a fiend for dark chocolate.
I won't write out the recipe here, though it's certainly available online. Here's what you do:
combine sugar, corn syrup, and water, and get it super hot so it turns golden brown.
Then you melt some butter & dark chocolate, remove it from the heat, and stir in a couple kinds of sugar.
When you're ready to bake, you put down a layer of the brownie batter, then some caramel (not so much that it runs out to touch the edges.. they warn it will burn!), and a final layer of brownie batter.
I probably put a little too much batter on the bottom layer, because I didn't have QUITE enough to fully seal the caramel in. When I pulled the pan from the oven there were some little lava spots of boiling caramel. Not that there's anything wrong with that.