On the day of my birthday I was shooting a beauty editorial for Cheeze Magazine. How could I go empty handed! Chocolate brownies were made for sharing, and what a suitable day to share the love. I got this recipe from Nigella Lawson, who is in my eyes, is our modern answer to Betty Crocker. For years and years I’ve been making her gooey chocolate puddings in times of chocolatey cravings, or when I have needed to rustle up a quick dessert for spontaneous guests. My mind generally likes to cross wires, and before I knew it, this simple brownie recipe had transformed itself to a similar one of Crocker’s, using caramel fudge to marble the surface. Of course, me being me, I had to change the recipe up a little, so like all of my chocolatey recipes, I added some salt to balance the bitter-sweet, and I also made my caramel a sour cream one – just because I thought it would be delicious!
A little note on the recipe: I found Nigella’s recipe a little high in butter, not for health reasons but because it affected the chemistry of the brownies. I think if I were to try this recipe again, I would only use 2/3rds of the butter called for. I have already accommodated for this in my below recipe.
Flourless Chocolate Brownies with Sour Cream Caramel Fudge
You will need:
225g dark cooking chocolate (I use 72% Callebaut Chocolate)
150g unsalted butter (I use a grass fed butter like Anchor from New Zealand)
2tsp vanilla essence or extract
3 large eggs
generous pinch of a coarse salt like fleur de sel or sea salt
150g almond meal
100g chopped walnuts
2/3cup caster sugar
2/3cup sour cream (pour off any whey)
4tbsp unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease and line a brownie tray. Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of your bowl. Stir constantly so that your chocolate melts evenly and the butter combines with the chocolate. Once melted, stir in the vanilla, and take the bowl off the saucepan and leave to cool a little. Beat the eggs, one at a time, into the chocolate mixture using a whisk. Add the almond meal, salt, and walnuts, then combine well with a wooden spoon or spatula. Pour into the brownie tray and spread evenly.
To make the caramel, get a large, heavy based pan and pour in your sugar – evenly. This part is important: turn on a medium to high heat and do not touch or stir the sugar… don’t even think about it! if necessary, you can agitate the pan a little. Wait patiently for the sugar to melt and start to brown and bubble a little. As soon as it starts to bubble (and there is no more powdered sugar left), drop in your butter and stir well with a whisk. Let it come back to the bubble and take off the heat as soon as it does. Count to 15, then add your sour cream and stir it in well. You should have a creamy looking caramel. Let it cool, then pour it into a piping bag to draw thick lines down the brownie pan (pictured above). Using a skewer, draw lines intersecting the caramel lines to make a geometric swirling effect.
Slide into the middle of the oven and bake for 25-30mins. By this time, the top will have set, but the mixture inside is still a little gooey. Take it out of the oven and leave to cool completely. Cut into 16 squares and serve!