Caramel Corn Brownies
Sorry I haven’t posted in a while- I blame it all on my husband, who ruined our lives recently by introducing me to “Hamilton”. Have you listened to “Hamilton” yet? If not, don’t worry- We’ve listened to all 2.5 hours of it approximately 2,835 times in the last few weeks, which is plenty to spread around. You see, what happens is you play it through a couple of times, just to make sure you’ve heard all the lyrics and understand the story (which is gripping, by the way). That is phase one. Phase two is when you keep listening to it, over and over, even though you know that you’re going to cry all through act II (and you still can’t figure out why a Broadway musical about ALEXANDER freaking HAMILTON is STILL making you cry), and then you very earnestly consider cashing out your savings account to fly to NYC for one night to see it in person, and then you check how much tickets to the show cost (way more than the airplane ride), and then you cry about that as well. I am currently in a third phase, a horrible and beautiful feedback loop in which I have one song from the musical stuck in my head each day, and so I put that song on Spotify to dislodge it, and then I can’t seem to turn it off when the song is over so I just listen to the entire musical all the way through again. And then the next day, it’s a different song. Day after day it drags me back under. The weirdest part of it is that I hate musicals.
…but I sure do love these brownies with caramel corn! There is something sentimentally powerful about caramel corn that screams SUMMERTIME to me- it alludes to visions of county fairs and baseball games, fourth of july fireworks and road trips, and washing your sticky, sweaty palms in the lake. This is the time of year one can sense summer starting to rev up around the corner, and this is why these brownies are spot-on.
I have employed a double-caramel approach to these brownies. A generous sprinkling of chopped caramels melts upon contact with the hot brownies, straight out of the oven, and acts as the perfect glue for adhering the buttery-crisp caramel corn. Should you have the patience to allow these to cool completely before cutting (overnight recommended…and it is hard for me to say that to you because we are friends), that corn’s not going anywhere, which makes for an awesome presentation at a summer potluck or fambly reunion. And the brownies, I should add, aren’t chopped liver on their own. For the perfect base, I used Smitten Kitchen’s favorite brownie recipe, which calls for bittersweet chocolate instead of cocoa, and has no leavener for the ultimate fudgey texture.
I just know you must have a potluck coming up!
- 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1/2 c. butter, plus extra for the pan
- 1 1/3 c. sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- 1/2 t. salt
- 2/3 c. flour
- 7 oz. (roughly) bag caramel corn (such as poppycock, cracker jack, or fiddle faddle), with or without nuts
- 4 oz. soft caramels
- flaky sea salt or kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8" baking dish with a small amount of butter, or cooking spray.
- Set up a double boiler and bring water to a simmer. Melt the butter and chocolate, stirring constantly, then remove from heat.
- In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk vigorously for 30 seconds.
- Gradually whisk in the chocolate and butter.
- Fold in the salt and flour until just combined. Scrape into prepared pan and spread evenly.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until brownies pass toothpick-test.
- When brownies are finished remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- In the meantime, pour your caramel corn into a bowl and break apart any large clusters into single pieces of popcorn, and set aside. Unwrap and roughly chop the caramels and set aside.
- Evenly distribute chopped caramel over the top of the brownies and allow to melt. Top with a single-layer of caramel corn, pressing down gently to adhere. Sprinkle sea salt or kosher salt all over.
- Allow to cool completely- overnight is best.