Monday, November 10, 2008

Caramel! Peanuts! Brownies!

A few weeks ago, my next door neighbors had a party and I, as usual, promised to bring dessert. But this was actually a selfish act. I just bought Dorie Greenspan's book and couldn't wait to try something out.

There are a lot of tempting recipes, (devil's food cake! quintuple chocolate brownies!), but the one I knew I had to try, like right that moment, was the brownie cake with caramel and peanuts. The picture was just too beautiful to ignore, with a thick, dense brownie layered with dripping golden caramel and peanuts. I've always been a sucker for caramel and peanuts.

The cake, unfortunately, I overbaked just a wee bit. It still tasted good, but the brownie was cake-ier than I would have liked. I prefer the fudgy, almost under-baked kind. The caramel, though, was wonderful. I think I would put in a touch less corn syrup in the future, but other than that, it was perfect. And it went over beautifully with the guests.
Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake
from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

For the cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 stick(8 TBSP) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
3 TBSP light corn syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract
For the topping:
2 cups sugar
½ cup water
1 ½ TBSP light corn syrup
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 TBSP unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup salted peanuts

Butter and flour a 8 inch springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

To make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together. Melt chocolate and butter together using a double boiler.

In a large bowl whisk the eggs and sugars together until well blended. Whisk in the corn syrup, followed by the vanilla. Whisk in the melted butter and chocolate. Still working with a whisk, gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. You will have a thick, smooth, shiny batter. Pour the batter into the pan and jiggle the pan a bit to even out the batter.
Bake the cake at 350F for 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out almost clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool he cake for 15 minutes, then run a knife between the cake and the pan and remove the sides of the pan. During baking the cake probably will have puffed to the top of the pan don’t be concerned if tit sinks a little or it if develops a crater in the centre. Cool the cake to room temperature.

When the cake is completely cool, invert it, remove the base of the pan and peel off the paper.

Wash and dry the springform pan, and return the cake to it right side up. Refasten the sides around the cake.

To make the topping:
Put the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, stir just to combine the ingredients and then put the pan over medium-high heat. Heat, without stirring , until the caramel turns deep amber., 5-10 minutes. Lower the heat a bit and, standing back from the saucepan add the cream and butter. When the spatters are less vehement, stir to calm down the caramel and dissolve any lumps. Stir in the peanuts, and pour the caramel and peanuts into a 1-quart Pyrex measuring cup or heat proof bowl.

Spoon the peanuts on top of the cake. Then spoon the caramel on top of those. You’ll have a layer about ¼ inch high. Allow the topping to set to room temperature-about 20 minutes before serving.

To serve, run a blunt knife between the caramel and the pan and simply remove the sides of the springform. If this isn’t the case, hit the sides with some hot air from a hairdryer or wrap the sides in a towel moistened with hot water.


Alex said...

If I refrigerate this first, will the caramel get too hard?

Elle said...

Hey Alex. I had some leftovers that I refrigerated. I let the cake sit out the next day for about half an hour, and it was fine.

My Year Without said...

I may have to try some of your recipes with one of my natural sweeteners as a sugar substitute...I haven't had sugar all year and still going strong...but some of your recipes look devine!

If they turn out using honey/maple syrup, I will let you know!