“And when all of the flourless chocolate cakes & chocolate mousse or ganache cakes have come and gone, there will still be nothing like a fudgy brownie, dry & crackled on top, moist & dense within, with a glass of cold milk.” -Richard Sax
Did you try the brownies I featured last week (recipe here)? Well, if not, I bet today's post is going to have you running to preheat the oven! This recipe for Caramel Brownie Parfaits is so good! This recipe is a family favorite and we tend to make them for lots of our special occasion and holiday meals because they are, well, um... caramel and chocolatey , like together! There are a few steps, but all of them are quite simple. Also a little waiting is involved, so plan to start the recipe about 24 hours ahead, especially if you also need to make the brownies. In fact, this is a great make ahead dessert.. The caramel sauce can be made up to a week ahead, store in the refrigerator. The brownies can be made up to 3 days ahead, store tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. Make the caramel cream 24 hours in advance. Assemble parfaits up to 24 hours ahead of serving. Got your game plan ready?
The recipe makes about 6 , depending on the size glass you use. They would also be so, so darling (and less caloric) made in little mini portions for a crowd. Whatever size you choose to make them, these creamy, fudgy, gooey parfaits will have you licking the spoons and the inside of the glass for every last bit! So let's get started, shall we?
Caramel Brownie Parfaits
3 cups (approximately) of cubed (about 1/2") pre-made brownies
4 large egg yolks
1 1/2 Tablespoons corn starch
3/4 cup plus 10 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
3/4 cups milk, divided
1 1/2 cups plus 2/3 cup heavy cream, divided
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
1 small pinch sea salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1. Make Caramel Cream: In a medium sized bowl, whisk egg yolks well. While whisking, sprinkle in 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar. Combine well. Whisk in cornstarch and lastly, whisk in 1/4 cup milk; set aside.
2. In a 1 1/2- quart saucepan, combine 7 Tablespoons granulated sugar and 2 Tablespoons water.
3. Cook sugar mixture over medium to medium heat, stirring. STOP stirring as soon as mixture begins to boil. Before mixture comes to a boil, brush down sides of pan occasionally with a wet pastry brush. Continue cooking sugar, swirling pan gently as needed to cook evenly, until mixture is a medium dark amber color.
4. Once desired color is achieved, remove pan from heat and immediately yet carefully pour in 1/2 cup of milk. Mixture is extremely hot and will rise up and sputter- exercise the utmost caution here.
5 Return pan to heat and cook over medium-low heat, whisking continuously until caramel is melted and mixture is smooth.
6. Temper reserved egg yolk mixture by pouring about 1/3 of the hot milk-caramelized sugar mixture into egg yolks, while whisking constantly (you don't want scrambled eggs here). Return egg-milk mixture to pan and cook, over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heat proof rubber spatula, until mixture has come to a boil. Cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
7. Immediately strain mixture through a fine sieve into a clean heatproof bowl to remove any lumps then stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla.
8. Cover mixture directly on the surface with plastic wrap, poking a hole in to allow steam to escape. Refrigerate until very cold at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
9. Make Caramel Sauce: in 1 1/2 qt sauce pan, combine 3/4 cups granulated sugar with 3 Tablespoons water. Combine well. As with caramel cream recipe, cook sugar over medium to medium-high heat, stirring, until mixture comes to a boil (brush down sides occasionally with wet pastry brush).
10. Once mixture comes to a boil, STOP stirring. Continue to cook, swirling pan occasionally as need to cook evenly, until mixture comes to that same medium-dark amber color mentioned above.
11. Remove from heat and very carefully pour in 2/3 cup heavy cream (mixture is extremely hot and will sputter-exercise extreme caution).
12. Return to heat and cook over medium-low heat until caramelized sugar has melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and transfer to a heat-proof bowl or pitcher. Stir in butter, small pinch of sea salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Combine well. Allow to cool at room temperature, then cover and store in the refrigerator until needed.
13. Assemble Parfaits: Remove caramel cream from refrigerator. In a mixing bowl, beat 1 1/2 cups heavy cream with a hand held mixer until medium peaks form.
14. Whisk about 1/3 of cream into chilled caramel cream base, Fold remaining whipped cream into caramel cream; set aside.
15. Remove caramel sauce from refrigerator. Gradually and gently liquefy it at 15-20 second intervals in the microwave on defrost just to a drizzling consistency (you don't really want to heat it it as otherwise the hot caramel will melt your caramel cream.
16. Cut your brownies into cubes, if you have not done so already. Place 3 brownie cubes and 2 -3 teaspoons of caramel sauce in the bottom of each glass (adjust accordingly if you chose to make mini versions).
17. Top with approx. 1/4 cup of caramel cream. Continuing layering brownies, caramel sauce and cream, ending with brownie cubes and caramel sauce as shown.If not serving immediately, cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
18. When ready to serve, top with whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles and a small brownie cube, if desired.
19. Dig in! Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Note: this parfait would also be great with a little added crunch. Try layering toasted chopped pecans or these praline pecans (divine!!) in the brownie layer. Feel free to leave a comment if you try this recipe. I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Happy creating! ♥
"You can't make everyone happy. You aren't a jar of Nutella." - unknown
It's hard to find anyone who doesn't seem to like Nutella, that European chocolate-hazelnut spread. It was popular in Europe long before it came here and it has really taken the US by storm. Now grocer shelves are lined with the real deal and plenty of knock-offs, too. Have you noticed?
Recently, I was going through my Facebook feed and came across a post from King Arthur Flour company for a cookie that turned out to be a prize-winner in their office (imagine the competition there). It looked so good I thought I should try it. They call them Nutella Sea Salt Stuffies, and you can find the recipe here. I adapted it just a tiny bit and made a second variation which was even more well-received by my family. They reported back that the ratio of crispy to fudgy/chewy was better with the caramel filled version.Try both and see what you think. The recipe is super simple and requires just a few ingredients. So grab everything you need and let's get baking!
Stuffed Nutella Cookies
For the filling:
1/2 cup (5 1/2 ounces) Nutella
For the Dough:
1 cup (10 1/2 ounces ) Nutella
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour*
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup Hazelnuts, toasted and skinned, chopped fine
1. For the filling: Scoop out 2 teaspoons of Nutella into 12 mounds on a tray lined with plastic or parchment and freeze until firm, a few hours or over-night
2. For the dough: Preheat your oven to 350 Degrees F. In a stand mixer or by hand, mix together the remaining 1 cup of Nutella, flour, sea salt, egg and espresso powder. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed.
3. Scoop out heaping tablespoons of dough and wrap the dough around a mound of Nutella. Enclosing it completely. Place the dough bundles on parchment-Lined cookie sheet, about 2" apart, and sprinkle each with the chopped hazelnuts. Pat down lightly on the nuts to adhere.
4. Bake cookies in preheated oven for 8- 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Take a bite!
Variation: Chocolate-Caramel Filled Nutella Cookies
1. Use the same dough as above. Substitute Caramel filled chocolate , such as Rolos, or Cadbury caramel filled chocolate squares for the Nutella filling
2. Form the cookies the same way, patting down on the dough so they aren't completely ball shaped before baking.
3. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with mini chocolate chips.
4. Bake as directed above.
5. Swoon with delight when you bite into one. ♥
* I used Einkorn flour for my gluten sensitive daughter. You can find out more about Einkorn here.