This, I’m sure, goes without saying, but I am not a professional blogger. I work in a bar, which is great for this project because my baking gets done before work, when I still have natural light, but not great because my hours are wildly variable and budgeting time for baking is sometimes a real challenge. This means I don’t generally have time to test things out in small batches or make multiple attempts at a recipe – I just have to throw things together and hope for the best. I’ve been pretty lucky with this technique so far – I’ve only made one thing that didn’t make the blog, and even that will be going up after some very minor fine-tuning. But I’m the first to admit that my Caramel Cookie Cake, for example, was far from what I was aiming for, and I was a bit worried these brownies would be in the same category.
But that was silly of me, because these are amazing. Rich, gooey, intensely sweet, with a strong taste of caramely dulce de leche and a subtler taste of white chocolate. It’s a great combo, and while I do think these should be eaten in very small doses, I also think they should be eaten by all of you. You will not regret it.
I’m posting the recipe exactly how I made it, which means two things: 1) you will end up with a rather large tray of brownies and 2) the dulce de leche will take forever to bake. Which is fine, because 1) did I mention that these are amazing, and because 2) the dulce de leche process is completely hands-off so you can do other things while you wait. But if you feel like you need to cut down the recipe or make your dulce de leche on the stovetop (which would be quicker), by all means go ahead.
Dulce De Leche (Oven Method)
(Adapted from David Lebovitz)
2 cans (375-400 g each) sweetened condensed milk
1 pinch flakey sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 425 Fahrenheit (220 Celsius).
2. Pour both cans of sweetened condensed milk into a pie tin or cake pan (I used a round 9 inch cake pan) and stir in a pinch of flakey sea salt. Cover the pan with aluminum foil.
3. Place the pan in the center of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Fill the dish with enough hot water to go halfway up the side of the pan. Carefully place the whole thing in the oven.
4. Bake until the milk has turned a nice coppery brown and your kitchen smells like caramel. You will have to check periodically (topping up the hot water as necessary), but for two full cans of milk this took me a little over two hours. David Lebovitz’s recipe is for one can, and he says it should take a little over one hour. So I guess that makes sense.
5. Remove the pan from water bath and let cool. Once it’s cooled a bit, whisk until smooth. This should make right around 2 cups of dulce de leche.
White Chocolate & Dulce de Leche Brownies
(Brownie recipe liberally adapted from Smitten Kitchen.)
225 grams white chocolate, coarsely chopped. I used 28%, and I wouldn’t go much lower than that.
280 grams unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-1/2 inch cubes
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cup flour
1 1/2 cups dulce de leche
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 9×13 inch pan. Line the bottom with baking parchment, leaving a couple inches’ overhang on either side. Butter the parchment.
2. Melt the white chocolate and butter together in a double boiler. It may look a bit chunky and weird, but don’t panic. Once you add the sugar and eggs it should smooth out nicely. Take the melted mixture off the heat and let cool.
3. Whisk in the sugar. Mix in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.
4. Add the salt and flour together and stir until just combined.
5. Spread half the batter in the tray. Scatter about half the dulce de leche over the top in small (teaspoon or smaller) spoonfuls. Drag a knife through any larger dollops of caramel to swirl slightly through the batter.
6. Pour the rest of the batter over the top. Add the rest of the dulce de leche just as you did with the first half. Note: if you want to use all 2 cups of dulce de leche that you made, go ahead. I just felt like the brownies were getting a bit crowded, so I left half a cup aside. Up to you.
7. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until golden at the edges and set in the middle. These are supposed to be gooey, so don’t worry too much about underbaking them. Just as long as there’s no wiggle in the middle.
8. Let cool completely in pan. I found these easiest to cut cold, so consider popping them in the freezer for a bit. Cut into very small squares.