“Save the earth. It’s the only planet with chocolate.”
There is something I like about that quote, but it’s pretty silly if you think about it. I mean, who is to tell us that there is no chocolate on any other planets? Can that really be scientifically proven? Well… maybe it can, I don’t know. Science never was my forte. I can only cite my own imagination (which is impervious to science in all its forms) on this topic. It tells me that not only might chocolate exist outside this terrestrial plane, but that there may in some distant galaxy hang a planet that is actually made of chocolate. Yes, that’s right… a chocolate planet. One with a core of molten caramel. And seas of frothy white milk. It rains milk, too, and occasionally snows ice cream.
Sadly, even if such a planet could exist, there isn’t a chance that mankind will discover it in my lifetime, or yours. We must content ourselves with the dream that perhaps our great-great-great-great-great grandchildren may enjoy long weekends on the chocolate planet ages and ages hence. And as long as you and I are stuck here on earth, we may as well be happy with what we’ve got. One or two (or three or four) of these caramel-filled brownies should help with that.
-1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
-12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
-1 1/2 cups sugar
-4 large eggs
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
-14 oz. caramel candies, unwrapped
-1/3 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 13×9 baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides to lift the brownies out. Spray thoroughly with cooking spray.
Place the butter and bittersweet chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30-second bursts at 50% power, stirring in between, until completely melted and smooth. Add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla to the bowl and whisk vigorously until the mixture is thick and glossy. Stir in the flour and salt with a rubber spatula, mixing just until combined.
Transfer half of the batter to the prepared baking pan and spread in an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.
Meanwhile, add the caramels and heavy cream to a medium saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until completely melted and smooth. Immediately pour the caramel over the brownies and spread evenly. (If you finish melting the caramels before the brownies have cooled for 20 minutes, just set the pan over very low heat to keep warm. Otherwise, the caramel will harden and be difficult to spread.) Dollop the remaining brownie batter over the caramel layer and spread to cover. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the brownies.
Bake for 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the brownies cool completely in the pan. Run a thin knife along the sides of the pan to loosen any caramel that might be stuck, then use the foil to lift the brownies from the pan and cut into squares for serving.
Note: I had neither heavy cream nor bittersweet chocolate on hand when I started making this recipe. I used the following substitutions instead, and they seemed to work fine…
Heavy Cream Sub:
Melt 1/3 cup of butter, pour into 3/4 C milk and stir. Equals 1 C heavy cream.
Mix together 9 Tbsp. of cocoa, 4 Tbsp. sugar, and 3 Tbsp. shortening. Equals 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate.