I’ve been writing this blog for several years now and I feel pretty comfortable around here. You guys let me share my favorite recipes, you let me ramble about pizza, ask rhetorical questions like a fictional writer on a popular HBO series, learn from my baking mistakes, and we all laugh together at my dating stories. In fact, I feel like I can be myself around you guys more than when I’m on a first date. Like I have no qualms sharing secrets here, but I don’t share my secrets (immediately) with my dates. Instead, I prefer to list them down on this blog for the whole world to know. Here are some of my secret shames:
1) I go to Chipotle after running at the gym.
2) When I order sushi for delivery, the restaurant puts in three pairs of chopsticks (not even two!)
3) When I make recipes that call for about 2/3 of a can of dulce de leche, I eat the remaining 1/3 plain and straight from the can while watching The Mindy Project.
If you’re a potential date and you’re still interested after reading this, sweet. Bonus points if you’re the guy who got my “low-key but I don’t mean Thor’s brother” reference. Thanks!
In general, dulce de leche is one of my secrets. It’s one of my go-to ingredients when I want to make something extra special.
When I first started baking and I was just a baby blogger, any time I needed something special, I would bust out the Nutella. Nutella Cake Balls. Nutella Banana Pudding. Nutella Fudge. (Those are all recipes from four years ago and if you click on any of them, you’ll see some vintage pre-DSLR photos.) I mean, don’t get me wrong, Nutella will always have a place in my heart and hips (Dark Nutella Cherry Truffles. Nutella Almond Butter Muddy Buddies. I could do this all day).
But dulce de leche – ah, mi amor. Dulce de leche is caramel’s more exotic, sensual cousin. Dulce de leche is milkier, silkier, thicker. I’m in love with it.
I love the thick, velvety, sticky texture. I love the sweet caramel taste. I love making treats that highlight it, like alfajores or dulce de leche cheesecake. The latest treats I made are these Salted Dulce de Leche Brownies which I gave away to some friends last month for Valentine’s Day.
I made my favorite fudgy brownies, dark and intense, dolloped spoonfulls of dulce de leche on top before baking, then finished with sprinkles of flaky smoked sea salt. Each bite of dark chocolate brownie, creamy dulce de leche, and crunchy salt was magnificent.
And that’s no secret.
Salted Dulce De Leche Brownies
1 1/4 sticks butter, softened
2 large eggs
3/4 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon chocolate extract
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup (8 oz) dulce de leche
2 teaspoons smoked sea salt (or any other flaky salt)
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine softened butter, eggs, sugars, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, chocolate extract, and coffee.
- Mix well, then stir in flour and salt. Whisk together until smooth.
- Spread brownie batter in a foil-lined buttered 8x8 pan.
- Dollop spoonfulls of dulce de leche on top of brownie batter. Use a knife to make swirl patters, running knife perpendicularly.
- Bake 22-24 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in brownie comes out clean. (The dulce de leche will stick to the toothpick, but the brownie base should be set.)
- Sprinkle smoked sea salt on top. Let brownies cool to room temperature before serving. You can opt to chill or freeze first, and serve cold (which is how I prefer these brownies!)
I used Nestle La Lechera dulce de leche (in a can) which is very thick. If your dulce de leche is more liquidy, you can also try baking the brownie base first spreading the dulce de leche on top after baking, and then sprinkling with sea salt. I recommend serving the brownies chilled.
These are some of the best brownies I’ve ever made, so I hope you give them a try! And please tell me you have secret shames, too!