Salted Dark Chocolate Chunk Brownies + White Chocolate Caramel Frosting

Okay, I'm going to be completely honest with you...

I haven't cooked a single "real" thing in over 2 months. I've just been very overwhelmed with school and sports and I haven't had a day to just spend cooking.

Luckily, that ended today. I spent the entire day whisking and baking and pouring and seasoning and of course, eating. And I loved every second of it. 
On the rare days when I get to spend endless hours in the kitchen, I find myself so relaxed and simply happy-- that is until my parents yell at me to clean up... oops.

Anyways, today's experiments weren't as extravagant as the last time I cooked, where I made the last 5 things on my blog-- plus more, but it still was so much fun! I started off the day by making a roasted asparagus & mozzarella frittata topped with feta and za'atar for my parents and brother.
I then spent the majority of my day making this sinful recipe-- Salted Double Chocolate Brownies with a White Chocolate and Brown Sugar Caramel Buttercream Frosting.

Yep. Let that soak in.

I know, it sounds insanely rich and sweet. And guess what? It totally is. But it's such an amazing and wonderful over-the-top rich and sweet that you just can't beat for the holidays. I will warn you, though, this is for the major chocolate and/or dessert lovers out there. If you don't have much of a sweet tooth... still try this recipe because honestly, you'll love it anyways.

Oh yes, and then I ended the day making a Greek feast with my mom for dinner-- full of falafels, hummus, tabouli, lentil stew, roasted za'atar peppers, Greek smoked chicken, soaked salad, warm pita, and ratatouille. It was divine, to say the least. 

Now let me rant a little bit... Christmas is almost here (almost here as in FOUR days- WHAT THE HECK!!!) and as you probably already know, it's definitely my favorite time of the year. I kind of go crazy over Christmas. But honestly, this year, it just hasn't felt like Christmas yet. And considering it's only a few days away that needs to change... ASAP.

Okay. Next rant: Za'atar is so freaking good.
Like it's incredibly delicious! In fact, I'm so obsessed with it, I find a use for it every single day. There are endless amounts of ways to use it: in hummus, on bread with olive oil, in soups/stews, on roasted veggies, on baked/roasted potatoes and fries, on eggs, on avocado toast, on poultry/fish... the list goes on. It is by far my all-time favorite seasoning. What it is is a mixture of sumac, sesame seeds, and thyme. And boy oh boy do those spices make something magical...
I've actually never made it myself. My best friend's mom always gives it to us, thankfully, but I do want to try my hand at making it too, someday.

Onto the good stuff...
These brownies!!!


Let me start off my saying, the brownies themselves are pretty much perfection. Even if you're not a huge dark chocolate fan, I can bet money you'll love these. The icing is SUPER sweet and decadent, but it definitely helps balance out the bitter-sweet dark chocolate and the sea salt. Even without the icing, though, these brownies ROCK! While they are incredibly delicious at any temperature, eating them chilled is what I recommend.

Also, if you're a super creative/artsy person (unlike me), I think it would be so fun to make designs with the caramel on top with a toothpick- kind of like latte art!

But for me, I think I'll just stick to drizzling it on (very messily) with the back of a spoon...

P.S. You could also use my Bourbon Vanilla Salted Caramel Sauce and just omit the bourbon!

Salted Double Dark Chocolate Chunk Brownies + White Chocolate Caramel Frosting
yields 16 small brownies

for the brownies:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup each dark chocolate AND milk chocolate chunks (you can do 1/2 cup of one if wanted)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tbs. espresso powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs + 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup canola OR vegetable oil

Pre-heat oven to 350ยบ.
Melt the 1 1/2 cups of dark chocolate chips over a double boiler, stirring until melted. Set aside. 
Whisk the egg yolks and 1/4 cup of the sugar together until the eggs become a pale yellow color. 
In a separate bowl, whisk the whole eggs, oil, water, and vanilla together until combined. 
In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, and remaining 3/4 cup of sugar together. Slowly pour in the liquid mixture and stir to combine. Once completely cooled to room temperature, slowly whisk the egg yolk and sugar mixture into the melted chocolate. Pour into the batter and fold to combine. Fold in the 1/2 cup of chocolate chunks and sea salt. 
Pour batter into a greased 9x9 baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes* and let cool completely.

*25 minutes= fudgy; 30 minutes= not so fudgy (but still perfection)

for the caramel:
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup room temperature heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. sea salt

Over medium heat, let the sugars melt halfway. Add the butter and let continue to cook down until all sugar is dissolved. Add cream, salt and vanilla. Bring to a low boil for 1-2 minutes and then lower to a simmer until thickened. Add baking soda and stir. Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator and let cool completely before using in icing.

for the icing:
  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 cup caramel (recipe above) - COMPLETELY COOLED
  • 1 cup white chocolate melting wafers OR chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Beat the butter until creamy in an electric mixer. Slowly beat in the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, on low speed. Make sure to scrape down the sides to get it all combined. Pour in the caramel and 1/2 cup of the melted white chocolate, and beat until whipped together. Slowly pour in the cream, IF in need of liquid or too stiff. 
Refrigerate until completely cold and set. 

Spread brownies with frosting and drizzle with more caramel sauce. Sprinkle with dark chocolate shavings and flaked sea salt. Cut into 16 (or however many you want) brownies and enjoy!!!

Cecilia A.


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