Good things come to those who wait…boy does that saying irk me. I am not a very patient person – especially when it comes to food. I am always trying things along the way, seeing how the flavor changes during the cooking process – always looking forward to the finished product. These brownies really tested my patience. I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit (which has been slightly adapted below to make it just a little simpler) and it sat in my pantry for months. I really had to be in the right frame of mind to bake these. You bake the brownie layer – and fortunately while the brownie layer is cooling, you make the caramel (which by the way is the best caramel I have ever made – I gave my girls a big spoonful each because I didn’t want them to miss out, while I scraped up the leftovers from the saucepan). Then comes the painful part – 8 hours of chilling. Once the caramel is set, you layer the chocolate ganache on – and then another 4 hours of waiting. I made the mistake of starting this process on a Sunday – and since I had to go to work on Monday and again on Tuesday – I couldn’t enjoy these brownies until Tuesday night. 2 days is a long time to wait for brownies – but let me tell you – they were worth EVERY SECOND. These brownies were incredible – everyone that bit into them squealed in delight – they were extremely rich, decadent and utterly fantastic. Good things definitely come to those who wait – I know it is true, I just hate to admit it…
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (54% to 60% cacao), chopped
- 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons water, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 4 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 4 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced, room temperature
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (54% to 60% cacao), chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with foil. Butter foil. Combine 1/2 cup butter and bittersweet chocolate in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Whisk cocoa powder, flour, and salt in small bowl. Whisk sugar, eggs, and vanilla in medium bowl to blend. Pour butter mixture into sugar mixture; whisk until blended. Add cocoa mixture; whisk until blended. Transfer brownie batter to prepared baking pan; smooth top (layer will be thin).
Bake brownie until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 18 to 20 minutes. Allow brownie to cool slightly, then gently press down on edges to form flat, even layer. Cool completely in pan on rack.
For white-chocolate caramel:
Spoon 1 tablespoon water into small bowl; sprinkle gelatin over and stir to blend. Let stand until gelatin softens, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine remaining 2 tablespoons water, sugar, and pinch of salt in heavy small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil until syrup is deep amber, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with wet pastry brush, about 8 minutes. Slowly add cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Reduce heat to low. Stir to dissolve any caramel bits. Remove from heat; let cool 5 minutes. Add gelatin mixture; stir until gelatin dissolves. Add white chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Whisk in butter. Pour caramel atop cooled brownie; spread evenly to cover completely. Chill uncovered until caramel firms slightly, at least 8 hours or overnight.
For bittersweet-chocolate ganache:
Bring cream to simmer in small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Cool until mixture is slightly thickened but still pourable, about 15 minutes. Pour ganache atop caramel on brownie; spread just to edges. Chill uncovered until ganache is firm enough to cut, about 4 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.
Using foil as aid, lift brownie out of pan; place on work surface. Fold foil sides down. Using sharp knife, trim off about 1/4 inch of brownie on all sides. Cut brownie into eight 3 1/2-inch-long, 13/4-inch-wide bars.
For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Layered Brownies with White-Chocolate Caramel