A couple weeks ago, I set up stall on Columbia Road Market to take part in Bake For Syria, a massive charity bakesale raising money for UNESCO, and to say I was a little overwhelmed by the response is most definitely an understatement. Not only did we raise over £10,000.00 (I havent heard the final figure yet) but most of the bakeries had sold hours earlier than expected and hours earlier than we had planned for; those of you who came down later, sorry we couldn't sell you cake! It was the first time I had sold my baking to the public since my short lived bakery Eddibles Bakery (its a pun, get it?) on Maltby Street Market a few years back. I baked liked a maniac for a couple days before the big day, using just one oven and one mixer. I cranked as much sweet stuff as I could manage and then promptly sold out in just few hours! Maybe stupidly I made a variety of things when big batches of one or two things would have been more sensible. On the day it became clear that one thing was, by far, ridiculously popular. The cocoa brownie laced with copious amounts of salted caramel and then topped with swathes of burnt swiss meringue sold out in record time, I think it took barely 30 mins! Every day since you guys have been asking for the recipe, so here it is! I also quickly want to say that the brownie recipe is my spin on the cocoa brownies from Alice Medrich, from her brilliant book Bittersweet. I have adapted the ingredient amounts to suit my tastes and I've changed the method but the idea and base of the recipe come from Medrich.
Rather than simply popping the recipe up here, I wanted to film it so I headed over to Cupcake Jemmas kitchen and we filmed the recipe for YouTube. So once you have fallen into a sugar coma from watching my video jump over to Jemma's channel and watch the video we made together, where Jemma tries to convince me to like cupcakes.
Salted Caramel Cocoa Brownie with Burnt Swiss Meringue
25g unsalted butter
Large pinch flaked sea salt
125ml double cream
300g unsalted butter, diced
225g caster sugar
225g light brown sugar
175g cocoa powder (I used Guittard)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
4 large eggs
140g plain flour
3 large egg white
240g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cream of tartar
For the caramel filling place the sugar into a medium saucepan and melt over medium heat until turned a dark rusty brown colour, stopping just before it starts to smoke. Remove from the heat and carefully pour in the salt and half the cream. The mixture will bubble violently so be careful and go slowly. Once the mixture has settled add the remaining cream followed by the butter. Place the pan back on the heat and cook another two minutes to thicken the caramel a little and ensure it is smooth. Pour into a jar and refrigerate until cooled and firm (this is best done at least a few hours in advance as the caramel will take a fairly long time to cool).
In a medium sized saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, cocoa, salt and vanilla together. Once smooth remove from the heat and set aside for the moment. In a large bowl use an electric mixer to whisk together the sugars and eggs until slightly thickened and pale. Pour in the cocoa mixture and mix until smooth. Sieve over the four and fold together until combined.
Pour into a parchment lined 9x13 brownie pan and level out. Top with random dollops of caramel, about a teaspoon in size, using up the whole amount. This will look like a lot of caramel and it is, no one said this was a healthy recipe!
Bake at 180C (160C fan) for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the brownie comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. When it comes to a brownies nobody wants a dry brownie so it is best err on the side of caution, better to underbake a brownie then overbake it. Allow to cool for an hour or so before transferring to a fridge for a few hours, this helps set the brownies and makes them easier to cut.
For the burnt meringue topping place all of the ingredients into a heatproof bowl and whisk gently over a pan of simmering water until the sugar has dissolved. Take from the heat and whisk on high speed until the meringue hold stiff glossy peaks. Spread over the brownies and brown with a blowtorch.
Before the meringue is added the brownies can be kept in a sealed container for up to four days but once the meringue has been added these are best within a day so these are best made for a event where there will be lots of willing recipients.