Sunday, 3 July 2016

Salted Caramel Brownies – Belgian style!

In the past I have had a love-hate relationship with brownies. Love, in the sense that I loooooovveee eating them. Hate, in the sense that any brownie mixtures I tend to make HATE me and the resulting brownie is always too much on the underbaked side.
However, I ran into this little recipe by Asda Good Living, claiming to be the ‘ultimate’ recipe so, naturally, I just had to give it a go. This recipe informs bakers to plunge their tray of fresh from the oven brownies into a tray of cold water to start rapidly cooling them. This sounded a bit extreme but once I tried it I never went back. I’m not sure on the science aspect of this but, in my head, it would make the sugar crystals seize up a lot quicker, hence helping the brownie set. Whatever the scientific reason, it works and that's all I need to know.

As well as chocolate brownies, I wanted to do something with this product.......Lotus Biscoff spread! If you haven't heard of this stuff you should educate yourself. You know those caramelly little biscuits you get with your coffee in a cafe? Well..lesson 1: that is called a Speculoo and it comes from Belgium. Lesson 2: there's a spreadable version. And whilst in Belgium, I thought it only right to do something with this little beauty.

So I went on the Lotus Biscoff website and found this recipe, which involves creating lotus balls of goodness (go with me on this one) and submerging them in the luscious brownie mixture. I was sceptical at first too.
So I combined the 'ultimate' brownie recipe I adopted recently with the above 'lotus balls' recipe, made a few tweeks of my own and hey presto, I give you my own version...with the added twist of the salted caramel flavour rather than just plain Jane.
Here's what I did and how you can make it too:


Brownie mixture: 
225g plain chocolate
225g butter
3 eggs + 1egg yolk
275g light brown muscovado sugar
125g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Lotus Biscoff spread spheres:
100g smooth lotus spread
100g icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt.
To decorate:
100g white chocolate
2 tablespoons smooth Lotus Biscoff Spread
1-2 Lotus Biscoff Original caramelised biscuits, bashed up
sprinkle of salt

1) First, make the Lotus Biscoff spread spheres: In a small bowl, mix the lotus spread with enough of the icing sugar to create a pliable dough, similar to fondant icing. Divide the mixture into conker-sized spheres. Place on a plate and sprinkle with the salt.

 2)Make the brownie mixture: Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4 and line a square tin with baking paper. Chop the chocolate and, along with the butter, place in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of just simmering water. Do not allow the water to touch the bottom of the bowl.

3) Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and
egg yolk for a few minutes until thickened and frothy. Add the sugar and whisk to combine.
4) Once melted together, pour the chocolate and butter mixture into the eggs and sugar and gently fold through.
5) Carefully fold through the flour, baking powder and salt.
6)Pour the brownie batter into the tin and disperse the lotus spread spheres evenly throughout. Bake in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes. You may need to place tin foil over the top of the brownie at the 30-minute mark to prevent the top from burning. When a knife or cocktail stick comes out clean, your brownies are baked. Fill a roasting tin, or something similar, halfway with really COLD water. Once baked, immediately place your brownie tin into the cold water and allow to sit in this until completely cold (obviously don't let any water actually touch the brownies). Cut into squares.

7) To decorate, melt the white chocolate with the 2 tablespoons of Lotus Biscoff spread in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally. Once melted take off the heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before pouring into a disposable piping bag. Snip a narrow end off of the bag and pipe drizzly lines over your brownie squares. Alternatively, just use a teaspoon for this. Sprinkle with the biscuit pieces, another sprinkle of salt and allow to set.

*enjoy warm with vanilla ice-cream.
*an electric hand-mixer can be useful to whisk the eggs in step 3.
*a microwave can be used to melt the chocolate and butter/Lotus spread in steps 2 and 7, however, DO NOT leave the microwave alone and check and stir the chocolate at least every 10 seconds if you do go for this method of melting.