Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Salted Pretzel Brownie Bites with Caramel Sauce


from the kitchen of Kathey H.
A couple of days ago a friend of mine from high school posted some photos on social media of "ridiculously sweet, but delicious" salted caramel pretzel brownies...and said that they were the anti-Camilla dessert.

I didn't understand exactly what she meant until she said that that the caramel was ice cream topping from a jar/bottle and brownies from a box. Okay. So I accepted her challenge to make a from-scratch version.

I made a salted pretzel crust, topped it with a ricotta-chocolate brownie, and drizzled it with homemade caramel. Needless to say: there were lots of steps involved in this dessert, but it was worth it. Rich, decadent chocolate-y goodness!

If you plan to try this, please read all the way through the recipe as my ingredient lists are divided into the different layers' elements. Would love to hear how yours turn out.


Ingredients for the salted pretzel crust

  • 1-1/2 C pretzels, crushed (I used the Everything Pretzel Thins from Trader Joe's)
  • 1 C flour (I used a white whole wheat flour)
  • 1 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1/2 C butter, melted
  • 1/4 C coconut oil, in a liquid state (heat if needed)
  • 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder

Procedure
Place the crushed pretzels, flour and sugar, in a 9" x 13" baking dish. Melt the butter and coconut oil and pour it into the baking dish. Use a fork to blend it together until clumps form. Press the remaining base lightly into the pan.
Ingredients for the ricotta-chocolate brownie

  • 1 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1 C butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 C whole milk ricotta
  • 6 oz chocolate chips or chunks, melted
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract

Procedure
Preheat oven to 375° F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until lightened and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, melted chocolate, and vanilla. Fold in the ricotta. Spoon the batter into the pan with the pretzel crust and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. The brownies will be dark brown, slightly crispy at the edges and firm on the top.  

While the brownies are cooling, make the caramel.

Ingredients for the fleur de sel caramel
  • 1 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1/2 C packed organic brown sugar
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 1 1/2 C organic heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1 t Maldon fleur de sel flakes

Procedure
In a medium-size pot, combine sugar, brown sugar, honey, whipping cream, butter and sea salt flakes. Simmer over medium heat, monitoring the heat of the mixture with a candy thermometer while stirring. When the thermometer reaches 244 degrees remove the pot from the heat. Cool for at least 10 minutes. You'll need about 1/2 C of caramel.



To finish...
Place intact pretzel thins on top of the brownie. Cut into small pieces.


Drizzle with caramel. Enjoy!

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