Dulce de Leche Brownies

by angelika on March 18, 2011

My book club read David Lebovitz Sweet Life in Paris this month. It was great! I loved his easy style and his frank assessment of life in Paris. I now know to stand my ground when people push and shove past me, that cutting in line is a sport not an insult, and that the best delicacies are found by making friends with the shop keeper…over the course of several years. What I liked best of all was the recipes scattered throughout. My copy of the book is only a few weeks old and is dog eared, battered and stained. The makings of a well loved cook book or… a sloppy home cook?

Dulce de Leche Brownies

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely
2 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped finely
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional) 
1 cup dulce de leche
to make from scratch:
2 cans sweetened condensed milk 
which yields 2 cups of ducle de leche
The first recipe I decided to try is actually the least French. The irony hasn’t escaped me. However, this recipe was the last in the book, and it left me on a longing note. So Dulce de Leche Brownies it was! David Lebovitz calls for prepared Dulce de Leche, which I have not had much luck finding. (I didn’t look that hard) What I did have on hand was two cans of organic sweetened condensed milk, which is how you make this caramel toffee nectar of the gods. We’ve made toffee before for the Banoffee Pie, using the oven. This time around I used a double boiler. I simmered two cans of sweetened condensed milk over simmering water for 5 hours. (make sure you cover it the whole time with a tight fitting lid) Yes you read that right, 5 hours. It was raining, we watched a movie, and I stirred it every 15 minutes or so. It was like a science experiment. It made a slightly different tasting sweet. The oven method does taste more like toffee and the stove method like caramel. Both are exquisite. Next time I am going to try the (not advised) method of placing the cans, labels removed, in the slow cooker covered in water and cooking on low for 8 hours. I hear it’s like magic. 

just starting

3 hours

5 hours
Preheat the oven to 350º.
Grease a brownie pan with lots of butter, then place a sheet of parchment on the bottom and grease it. 
In a saucepan melt the butter on low heat. Add the chocolate and whisk until it melts completely. Remoe the pan from the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and whisk until smooth. 

Switch to a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula and stir in the sugar, the vanilla and then the flour. If you are using nuts, stir them in. I made two batches of these. The first with toasted pecans, which were heavenly. The second batch with no nuts, just as amazing.

Spread half the brownie mixture in the prepared pan, when drop teaspoon size dollops of dulce de leche and drag the end of a chopstick or something similar through it to gently swirl. Pour the remainder of the batter on top and dollop with dulce de leche again, and carefully swirl. David Lebovitz advises to do this gently or you end up with a bubbly mess. I found it best to swirl the brownie batter over the dulce de leche instead of the other way around. Bake at 350º for 45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. 
Let it cool completely before turning it out and cutting it up. The author advises to package them individually and let them sit overnight. They are apparently better the second day. I thought they were amazing right out of the oven, personally. 
A votre santé!

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