I have a Halloween appropriate treat for you guys today. My Extra Dark Chocolate Chunk Brownies with Tamarind Salted Caramel are a decadent, unique twist on the classic brownie with caramel sauce.
My inspiration for these chocolate chunk brownies was actually an episode of Master Chef. One of the chefs made a chocolate cake with tamarind salted caramel and a pepita brittle. I already had in mind I wanted to make a version of brownies with salted caramel sauce, and hence this recipe was born. I wish I could take credit for the tamarind caramel, but I’m happy enough just to spread the idea. It’s completely in the vein of a miso caramel, which I saw quite a few times on blogs here and there in the past year.
Oh by the way, if you’re not familiar with tamarind, it’s a pod-like fruit with a sour pulp inside. Tamarind paste is sold in the Asian section of many grocery stores.
Thermometers are the way to go.
Before I go further into the recipe, I have to credit my secondary source of inspiration: ThermoWorks. ThermoWorks produces high quality thermometers, as well as, other kitchen supplies. A couple members of their marketing team delivered a presentation during the Tastemaker Conference this past September, and I immediately knew I was interested in their products.
A thermometer comes in handy twice in this recipe. I measured the temperatures of both the cooked brownies and the caramelized sugar. Cooks might not always think to use a thermometer in these scenarios, but when you’re trying to replicate exact results it makes a huge difference! Plus, it’s great to take the guess work out of baking. Describing the texture, color or feel of your desired baking result may be interpreted in different ways, but no one can argue with a temperature.
You especially can’t argue with a temperature if you’re using a high quality thermometer from Thermoworks. I use the Thermapen MK4. First off, I absolutely love the design. It’s comfortable to hold in your hand and turns on when you extend the probe. It reads an accurate temperature within 2 to 3 seconds, and is waterproof to boot. Check out my recipe below for the ideal temperature for fudgy brownies and perfectly amber caramel.
More about these EXTRA DARK brownies
In light of Halloween, I thought extra dark chocolate chunk brownies and an orangey caramel sauce would be the perfect subtly themed dessert. This brownie recipe would work well with all dutch process cocoa or even natural cocoa, but I chose to mix dutch process and black cocoa for the look and slightly bitter flavor profile. I chopped up some dark chocolate and added it to the batter for texture and contrast.
Now, everyone knows brownies with salted caramel sauce are delicious. The reason I really like this recipe is because the rich, deeply chocolate brownies are perfectly complimented by my slightly sour salted caramel sauce. The acidity from the tamarind helps cut through that richness. A little maldon salt on top is a great finishing touch. A scoop of vanilla ice cream would not hurt either. I would know…
These dark chocolate chunk brownies are slathered with tamarind salted caramel for a sweet and tangy contrast. Finish it off with a sprinkle of maldon salt.
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp Dutch process cocoa
- 2 tbsp black cocoa (or more Dutch process)
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 5 oz (1 cup) roughly chopped dark chocolate
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup heavy cream, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Maldon salt or fleur de sel, for sprinkling
- Prep: Butter an 8×8 inch baking pan, line with parchment overhanging on edges and butter again. Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Mix sugar + cocoa: Shift together sugar, cocoas and salt in a large bowl.
- Add wet ingredients: Stream in butter while whisking until incorporated. Whisk in eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Stir in vanilla.
- Add flour + chocolate: Whisk in flour in 2-3 additions until combined. Do not overmix. Fold in chocolate chunks.
- Bake: Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake on center rack for 25-30 minutes. Pull when the internal temperature of the center of the brownies reads 185-190°F on your thermometer. If you insert a toothpick into the center, it should have a few moist crumbs attached.
- Cool: Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Lift out of pan by parchment paper and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Caramelize sugar: While brownies cook, start the caramel sauce. Add sugar plus ¼ cup of water to a heavy bottomed sauce pot. Stir to combine, making sure there is no sugar on the sides of the pan. Warm mixture over medium heat. Check to make sure sugar is completely dissolved before mixtures comes up a boil, adjusting heat as needed. I placed a small amount of sugar syrup into a spoon and rubbed it between my fingers to test if the sugar was dissolved. You may increase heat slightly at this point to bring to boil. When sugar syrup starts to boil, wash down sides of pot several times by dipping a pastry brush into water and running it along the inner edges of the pan. This will wash any sugar down into the caramel and prevent crystals from forming. Do NOT stir caramel at this stage. Continue to cook as water evaporates and sugar begins to caramelize.
- Finish caramel: When sugar becomes an amber color and reaches 350-360°F, remove from heat and whisk in butter and cream. Stir in tamarind paste and salt. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature.
- Serve: Cut brownies into squares. Top with caramel sauce and a sprinkle of maldon salt. Enjoy.
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 brownie
- Calories: 300
- Sugar: 32g
- Sodium: 265mg
- Fat: 17g
- Saturated Fat: 10g
- Carbohydrates: 37g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 2g
Keywords: brownies, chocolate chunk, caramel