If you’ve read many of my previous posts on this blog, you’ll know that I love chocolate and I love baking. It’s been a while since I last made brownies, and a pre-Easter dinner party at a friend’s flat this week seemed like the perfect excuse to try a new recipe. I’ve been reading David Lebowitz‘s gorgeous blog for a while now, and amongst a number of delicious looking recipes, I’d bookmarked these amazing looking Dulce de Leche brownies.
If you’ve not tried Dulce de Leche before, now is your moment. Literally ‘milk sweetness’ or ‘milk candy’, it’s an unctuously thick caramel-like sauce made from sweetened condensed milk, and one of the most delicious things you’re ever likely to put in your mouth.
In between school and university I took a year out, working sixty hour weeks for six months in two different restaurants to save some money before heading off to South America for the adventure of a lifetime. A lot of my time there was spent in rural Ecuador and Peru where the majority of meals consisted of a gristly knuckle of meat or pair of fried eggs accompanied by rice, pickled vegetables and topped off with a deep fried banana. This meant that any sweet treats became something to be relished, and my friends and I fell head over heels in love with one particular backpacker hostel which served up huge fluffy pancakes for breakfast, the size of a dinner plate and smothered in sticky sweet sauce.
Said sauce took the form of either the dubiously named Fanny Jam (actually a fairly standard brand of raspberry jam found throughout Peru, but the source of many a childish joke) or manjar. Manjar is what the Ecuadorians call dulce de leche, also known elsewhere s cajeta, doce de leite, arequipe or confiture de lait. Whatever you call it, it’s delicious, it’s great on pancakes and it’s incredible in brownies.
You can make dulce de leche yourself by boiling up a can of condensed milk, however I’ve heard that they have a tendency to explode if not attended to properly and would recommend David’s slightly less scary method here if you fancy making it yourself. I took the lazy route and bought a jar of Bonne Maman’s Confiture de Caramel – every bit as delicious and slightly less hair-raising!
So without further ado, here’s the absolutely delicious, gloriously sticky and totally indulgent recipe.
Dulce de Leche Brownies (adapted from David Lebowitz’s recipe)
115g salted butter, cut into small pieces
180g dark chocolate (I used Green & Blacks), broken into pieces
25g cocoa powder (Green & Blacks again)
3 large free range eggs
200g soft brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
140g flour, sieved
100 g pecans, chopped (you could also try walnuts, or leave out altogether for a smoother texture
200g Dulce de Leche (I used Bonne Maman’s Confiture de Caramel)
- Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C / 350 degrees F.
- Grease and line an 8-inch/20 cm square pan with baking parchment (I only had a 23 cm pan so my brownies came out a little thinner).
- Melt the butter in a saucepan then add the chocolate pieces and stir constantly over very low heat until the melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth.
- Whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla in a separate large bowl. Whisk in the chocolate mixture until smooth.
- Finally fold in the flour and nuts, if using.
- Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan and push right to the edges with your spoon.
- Now for the fun bit: Dollop one-third of the Dulce de Leche, evenly spaced, over the brownie batter, then drag a knife through to swirl it slightly. Spread the remaining brownie batter over, then drop spoonfuls of the remaining Dulce de Leche in dollops over the top of the brownie batter. Use a knife to swirl the Dulce de Leche slightly.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes (I took mine out after 25 mins because of the larger pan/thinner brownies, and I’d definitely recommend checking earlier rther than later). The brownies are done when the center feels just-slightly firm.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely
- Store in an airtight container. These brownies actually taste gooier and more delicious the second day, and will keep well for up to 3 days, if you can make them last that long!