Happy Belated New Year! What better way to start my blog in 2011 with a post on dulce de leche brownies. I made these for a housewarming I had a few months ago. I went a little nuts and made four types of desserts. Why? Because I wanted a little something for everyone. Not every one likes brownies or cupcakes, or so I thought. :)
I absolutely loved these brownies the last time I made them so I wanted to try another recipe from David Lebovitz. I had recently seen premade dulce de leche sold in little jars at Trader Joe's so I thought this would be a great recipe to try and thought it would be a great time saver.
By the time I went grocery shopping for all my ingredients, however, Trader Joe's was completely sold out. Thankfully enough, I vaguely remembered that dulce de leche is basically cooked condensed milk so I grabbed a can of condensed milk instead and just decided to just go with it. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, right?
If you can get your hands on a premade jar of dulce de leche, you can skip this step, but for the less fortunate or the adventurous, here's how you make dulce de leche.
Dulce de Leche
Preheat the oven to 425° F. Pour one can of sweetened condensed milk into a shallow glass baking dish. Stir in some salt. Set the baking dish within a larger pan and add hot water to the pan until it reaches halfway up the side of the baking dish.
Cover the smaller baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Add more water to the pan as necessary. Just beware, it is going to look clumpy, but don't worry it'll come together later.
Once it's nicely brown, remove from the oven and let it cool. Once it's cooled down, whisk until smooth. This is when I wished I had a mixer, because it's mighty hard to stir this by hand. I'm sure I could have made this more smooth but my hand started cramping. lol.
You can store the dulce de leche in the refrigerator until ready to serve. You can warm it in a warm water bath or microwave when you're ready to use.
Now for the brownie part.
Dulce de Leche Brownies
Adapted from The Sweet Life in Paris
8 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
optional: 1 cup toasted pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup Dulce de Leche
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8-inch square pan with a long sheet of aluminum foil that covers the bottom and reaches up the sides. If it doesn’t reach all the way up and over all four sides, cross another sheet of foil over it, making a large cross with edges that overhang the sides. Grease the bottom and sides of the foil with a bit of butter or non-stick spray.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the chocolate pieces and stir constantly over very low heat until the chocolate is melted.
Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth.
Add in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sugar, vanilla, then the flour.
Toast the nuts, if you are using, on the stove top or in the oven for a few minutes until you can smell the oil from the nuts release.
Cool the nuts and mix into the batter.
Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan.
Drop one-third of the Dulce de Leche, evenly spaced, over the brownie batter, then drag a knife through to swirl it slightly.
Spread the remaining brownie batter over, then drop spoonfuls of the remaining Dulce de Leche in dollops over the top of the brownie batter.
Use a knife to swirl the Dulce de Leche slightly. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. The brownies are done when the center feels just-slightly firm. Remove from the oven and cool completely. I cut them into little bite size pieces.
I made my friends take most of the leftovers home but I saved a few pieces for us and froze them in the freezer. You can just defrost them whenever you crave something sweet, and it's a great way to exercise portion control, because I am definitely one to make a whole batch of brownies just for myself.
I'm pretty sure I've eaten all of what was left in the freezer. Sounds like it's time to make some brownies!