Caramel Macchiato Brownies
UPDATE: These gorgeous and delicious brownies WON 3rd Place in the Dixie Crystals Brownie Recipe Contest! I am over-the-moon thrilled!!!
What do you think of when you hear Caramel Macchiato Brownies? If your answer is a mocha brownie base with a giant pillow of coffee Italian meringue and a decadent caramel drizzle over the top, then you are right on target!
I knew when I went into the kitchen to bake, that this recipe had to be special because I am entering it into the Dixie Crystals Brownie Dessert Contest for the Food & Wine Conference 2014. An ordinary brownie recipe would not do.
It took a few attempts to get it right and I am very fortunate to have good friends who are willing to be my guinea pigs. Not too challenging a job, since all of the ingredients are delicious. Using Dixie Crystals sugar for each layer of these Caramel Macchiato Brownies insured that I was in for a very sweet experience.
The mocha brownies have just the right balance of chocolate and coffee and the chocolate chips give them a nice texture. The coffee Italian meringue is beyond delish. In my first round of Caramel Macchiato Brownies I used a French meringue – also called a common meringue – similar to the one in my Lemon Meringue Pie. Big mistake.
The meringue was not stable enough for this powerful brownie. Not to be discouraged by a little thing like spongy meringue, I decided to make a coffee Italian meringue. The Dixie Crystals sugar and water are boiled on the stove until the mixture reaches 240°. It is then added, very carefully, to beaten egg whites. It may sound tricky, but it really is easy to do and, totally, worth the effort.
The pièce de résistance is the caramel drizzle that goes over the top of the brownies. Actually, saying that it goes over and under the Caramel Macchiato Brownies is more accurate, because I poured a lot of the golden sauce onto my plate, as well.
Will Caramel Macchiato Brownies be my ticket to the fabulous Food and Wine Conference 2014? I hope so; but, if not, they are sure to be your ticket to an extraordinary dessert.
|Caramel Macchiato Brownies #FWConf|| |
- Brownie layer:
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1½ cups Dixie Crystals sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips
- Coffee Italian meringue:
- 1 cup Dixie Crystals sugar
- ⅓ cup water
- 6 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee dissolved in 1½ teaspoons water
- Caramel Sauce:
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
- ⅔ cup Dixie Crystals light brown sugar
- pinch salt
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- For the brownie layer:
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 9” x 13” baking pan with nonstick spray and line the pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place the unsweetened chocolate, butter and coffee into a large microwaveable bowl. Microwave just until the chocolate is nearly melted. Stir until completely melted. Cool for 10 minutes.
- Whisk in the eggs followed by the sugar and vanilla. Whisk in the flour and baking powder. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake at 350° for 20 minutes in the lower third of the oven.
- After 20 minutes, remove the brownies from the oven and lower the temperature to 300°.
- For the coffee Italian meringue:
- Place the sugar and water into a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer. Boil until the temperature reaches 220°. Do not stir. If sugar crystals are above the boiling mixture, use a pastry brush dipped in water to brush the sugar back into the mixture.
- While the sugar and water are boiling, place the egg whites into a mixing bowl fitted with a wire whisk. When the temperature reaches 220° beat the egg whites on medium low speed.
- Once the temperature reaches 240°, very slowly and very carefully pour the boiling hot mixture into the egg whites. Keep the mixer on medium low speed and pour down the edge of the bowl.
- Once all of the hot mixture has been added to the mixing bowl, add the coffee. Increase the speed to high and beat for 6-10 minutes until the meringue cools a bit.
- Transfer the meringue to the top of the brownie layer. Use a metal spatula to smooth the top. Bake at 300° for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely.
- For the caramel sauce:
- Place the butter, brown sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for two minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream. Set aside to cool, stirring completely.
- Once the brownies have cooled, lift the parchment paper out of the pan and place it on a cutting board. Cut the brownies into bars.
- Place a brownie on a plate and drizzle caramel sauce over the top. If you want a lot of caramel sauce, spoon some of the caramel sauce onto the plate, place the brownie over the sauce and then drizzle additional sauce over the top.