My quest for the ultimate brownie continues!
While these are not exactly it, this recipe is still definitely a keeper! I’m not going to bs you and tell you that they’re the best brownies I’ve ever had, but they are without a shadow of a doubt the most intriguing!
Don’t get me wrong, they’re good. They’re damn good even. But you know how I’m all for dense and chewy when it comes to brownies. These guys? They’re to-tal-ly on the cake-y side. Well, sort of…
In fact, their texture is so plain weird, I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s like dry and crumbly but yet, it doesn’t feel dry at all. They sorta-kinda melt in your mouth as they are crumbling. Let’s say they crumble agreeably, in a moist kind of way. And they’re dense, and I do mean DENSE, but yet, they feel super light and airy at the same time.
No, I’m not trying to make fun of you. For realz, these have the coolest, strangest texture and I think they do need to be experienced.
To be honest, though, I wasn’t sure that I even wanted to post the recipe at first, but after indulging in a couple of squares, I decided that it was definitely a recipe worth sharing, if only for that Salted Caramel Frosting.
For that frosting, guys… OH! That frosting. I think that its very existence should be considered illegal. Maybe I should destroy that recipe, after all. That one, or the one for the Salted Caramel itself, for that matter.
A single taste of any of these two puts you at high risk of developing a severe addiction. And who needs new addictions, really?
If you’ve decided to give these guys a try despite my warnings, you will first need to make some salted caramel. I’ve seen a lot of recipes for paleo salted caramel over the internet, but they all look very light to me. I like my caramel to be dark, and this one truly delivers in that department. It’s dark, and it has a very bold and intense caramel flavor that matches its color.
Plus, it’s not that complicated or doesn’t take that much time to make either, unlike many of the recipes I’ve come across.
You will need two saucepans, one to boil the sugar, one to boil the milk. You will then mix the two together, boil for a few minutes and voilà! Deliciously addictive caramel sauce. The addition of salt is entirely optional, but I wouldn’t even think of leaving it out. It just simply elevates it to a whole new level of deliciousness!
Once you’ve made that caramel, time to start working on the batter. This couldn’t be easier. Add all wet ingredients to your food processor, process until smooth, then add dry ingredients and resume processing until well combined.
As you can see, the batter does come out fairly thick…
You then need to pour that thick batter into a 9″ square pan that you’ve previously greased with coconut oil and lined with parchment paper.
Greasing with coconut oil first insures that the parchment paper adheres really well to the pan and that no batter will make its way underneath it. It’s always a good idea to leave some of that paper hanging, too. This makes taking the finished brownies out of the pan so much easier.
Spread that batter as evenly as you possibly can all the way the the edge, then throw that in the oven for about 20 minutes.
This will leave us with ample time to start working on the frosting! Oh yeah… the frosting!
First, rinse your soaked cashews under running water and process them until smooth and creamy, using a small food processor this time. If you’d rather not dirty another piece of equipment, I suppose you could also use your big one, since it’s already out and dirty from making the batter, but you might have to do a little bit, or a lot, of side scraping. I’m not really a fan of all that stop and go: I’d much rather take the small guy out and get the job done fast!
Transfer the creamed cashews to a large mixing bowl, add coconut butter and a cup of that salted caramel you just made. Just make sure that it’s had time to come down to room temperature, else that frosting will end up being way too soft!
Oh, and about that caramel… you will find that you have way more of that delicious syrup than you actually need to make these brownies. You will be left with a fairly good amount when all is said and done. Just throw it in the fridge in an airtight container, where it will keep for about a month. While it does set and become fairly firm when chilled, it can easily be brought back to its original ooey and gooey state by reheating it shortly in the microwave or on the stove top over low heat.
Trust me, you won’t mind having all that leftover sauce…
Back to that frosting…
Beat all the ingredients with a hand mixer set on high until everything combines into a smooth, airy frosting. To make it even fluffier, send it for a quick 30 minute stay in the refrigerator while your brownies are cooling, then give it another 30 seconds of high speed whipping action.
After your brownies have completely cooled, mound that delicious frosting right in the center of the cake…
…then spread that frosting all the way to the sides while creating cute little swirls with your spatula as you go.
With a spoon, drizzle some more of that delicious salted caramel all over the frosting in a back and forth, criss-crossing motion. No need to get fancy here, just go at it, liberally!
Sprinkle a handful of chopped pecans and a little bit more fleur de sel all over the top.
Now I strongly suggest that you put these in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours before cutting them into squares. You’ll do a much better job if that frosting has been given a chance to set.
If you don’t have that kind of patience that’s okay, though. I can’t blame you… go ahead and indulge right away. Just make sure, however, that you store any uneaten brownies in the fridge.
For the record, these also freeze beautifully well and can even be eaten practically straight out of the freezer. Erm, yeah… I may have rendered myself guilty of doing that. What? It was nothing but sacrifice on my part, you know… I only wanted to test them one more time. I did have to make sure that the recipe was really worthy of sharing after all.
And you know what? It really was. Could it be that I’m slowly warming up to cake-y brownies?
Could very well be. Let me go try one more, just to make sure!