The brownie barrier is broken! Brownies have been one of my major sore points for years. A few weeks ago, I made Joe Pastry’s French Brownies with mixed success. The taste was great, but before a brief trip to the freezer, the texture was regrettably spongy. That’s what happens when you don’t have a hand mixer. But now I have tasted true success and I’m not going back.
David Lebovitz is a rock star in the food blogging world — check out his new cookbook My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories –, and I used his dulce the leche brownie recipe, almost as is. I cut down the sugar, dulce de leche, and adjusted the baking time and temperature to suit my toaster oven eccentricities.
David Lebovitz’ Dulce de Leche Brownie Recipe
YIELDS 16 brownies
ADAPTED from David Lebovitz
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup of dulce de leche
- 1 cup of flour
- 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of sugar
- 6 ounces (170 grams) of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
- 8 tablespoons (115 grams) of butter
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup (25 grams) of cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
- Optional: 1 cup of toasted and roughly chopped nuts
Preheat your toaster oven to 160C/320F. Line an 8 by 8 or 10 by 6 baking pan with tin foil. Set aside.
In a medium sauce pan over low heat, melt the butter and chocolate. Stir until smooth. Watch carefully, you don’t want the chocolate to burn. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder. The mixture should be warm but not hot. If it is hot, don’t add the eggs just yet, they’ll cook. This is a good time to do a taste test. Depending on the sugar content of chocolate, you should adjust the sugar accordingly. If it already tastes sweet, add only half a cup. I feel that with the addition of the dulce de leche an entire cup is too much!
Whisk in the eggs one by one, before adding the sugar, vanilla, and flour in quick succession. If you’re using the nuts, dump them in too. Fold the mixture until just combined, a few streaks are okay, but big pockets of flour at the bottom of the bowl are a no-no.
Pour one third to one half mixture of brownie batter into the baking pan. Drop a few spoonfuls of dulce de leche over the batter and run through with a butter knife. I like drawing a grid as if I’m cutting the future brownies. Four times lengthwise and four times width-wise (horizontally?).
Dump the rest of the batter into the pan and repeat with the dulce de leche and the knife drawing. Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating halfway. The top should be firm to touch, and when poked with a sharp implement, few moist crumbs should stick to the skewer/toothpick/knife/fork. For the cleanest cuts, chill briefly in the freezer.
But we were too impatient for that and ate it when the dulce de leche was hot and runny.