Do you ever have those days when you're feeling down and only a long-time-loved, tried-and-tested recipe will make you feel better? For me, that recipe is brownies. There's something calming and therapeutic about licking the batter off the spatula and the sides of the mixing bowl while the batter that made it into the brownie tin is baking in the oven.
For this batch of brownies, I tried something a little different and ended up dousing them in caramel and coconut and pecans. They were absolutely mouthwatering.
(21 x 31 cm (8 x 12 inch) brownie tin)
Recipe Adapted From: How To Be A Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson (the brownie), and Sugar High (the caramel topping)
Ingredients - caramel
2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup (I used Queen Glucose Syrup)
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup thickened cream
2 tbsp butter
1/2 shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1. In a heavy-based saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water. Cook over a medium heat and stir occasionally until the mixture reaches 175 C (350 F) on a candy thermometer, or turns a light brown colour. This should take a while, so don't expect it to happen immediately!
2. After the mixture goes brown, remove it from the heat and quickly add 1/2 cup of the cream and all of the butter. Mix until combined. It will froth a bit, but keep stirring and it'll go down.
3. Stir the rest of the cream into the caramel.
4. Take about half of the caramel away (for use later). Stir the shredded coconut and chopped pecans into the remaining caramel.
5. Set the caramel aside and start making your brownie batter! I used Nigella Lawson's awesome recipe, the ingredients and method of which can be found here on my blog.
6. For this particular brownie, I decided to load up with the caramel because I had extra and, why not? So, I poured a layer of brownie batter into my tin and then drizzled plain caramel on top. (You can skip this step if you want - it makes the brownie deliciously sweet and chewy, but if that's not your thing, move right on ahead!)
I topped that off with another layer of brownie batter, making sure to cover up all of the caramel.
7. Now it's time for the coconut-pecan topping. Blob it on top of the brownie...
...then swirl it around a bit with a knife.
8. Bake for 30-40 mins, or until the top is crackly. A skewer inserted in the middle should come out a bit gloopy, because you don't want your brownie to be all cakey! (Unless, of course, you like it that way - but I prefer my brownies to be sludgy and dense).
9. Leave the brownie to cool in the tin for a while then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. I left mine in the fridge overnight to make it easier to cut.
10. Chop into whatever size pieces you desire and enjoy!
The drizzle of caramel that I sandwiched between the layers of brownie batter sunk down to the bottom, giving the lower half of the brownie a chewy texture and the rich caramel taste. Meanwhile, up top, the coconut and pecan mixture provided a crunchy and chewy texture to break up the heaviness of the brownie. This combo is definitely a winner.