David Lebovitz’s Dulce de Leche Brownies
Many of you must have heard about the pastry chef David Lebovitz. He is an American living in France since 2002, studying and writing about… sweets. Yes, he is an expert in ice cream, chocolate, cakes, pastries and what else has sugar in it. David teaches the art of making desserts around the world, has 6 cookbooks published (unfortunately none of them were translated to Portuguese) and takes groups to culinary tours in Paris to taste the best of its chocolates, pastries and other delicious things. I’m sorry, but if it isn’t a dream job, I don’t know what is.
Well, since we can’t go on any Paris tours with David, we take his blog. Which is not such a bad deal, ’cause the stories are fun, the pictures are beautiful and the recipes are great.
The first recipe I noticed there was this fabulous dulce de leche brownies. You can’t go wrong with the stuff, it’s CHOCOLATE + DULCE DE LECHE, guys.
I’ve baked them several times now – a hit every time.
Dulce de Leche Brownies (adapted from here)
8 tablespoons (115g) butter
170g chopped dark chocolate
1/4 cup (25g) cocoa powder (sieve before use)
3 large eggs
1 cup (200g) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (140g)flour
1 cup dulce de leche (Note: You want a firmer dulce de leche for this recipe. I’ve made it with a softer one, and the dulce the leche boiled and overflowed all over the brownie. The cake was full of empty holes. Now, I use condensed milk boiled in a pressure cooker – recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 C).
Line a 8-inch (20 cm) square pan with a long sheet of aluminum foil (I use parchment paper) that covers the bottom and reaches up the sides. If it doesn’t reach all the way up and over all four sides, cross another sheet of foil over it, making a large cross with edges that overhang the sides. Grease the bottom and sides of the foil with a bit of butter or non-stick spray.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the chocolate pieces and stir constantly over very low heat until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sugar, vanilla, then the flour. Mix in the nuts, if using.
Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan.
Drop one-third of the Dulce de Leche, evenly spaced, over the brownie batter, then drag a knife through to swirl it slightly. Spread the remaining brownie batter over, then drop spoonfuls of the remaining Dulce de Leche in dollops over the top of the brownie batter. Use a knife to swirl the Dulce de Leche slightly.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. The brownies are done when the center feels just-slightly firm. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
Granny’s Dulce de Leche (Note: here in Brazil we use our pressure cookers almost everyday, since we can’t imagine other way to make our everyday beans! If you don’t have one or are afraid to use it, look here for an alternative recipe)
Put a can of sweetened condensed milk in the pressure cooker and cover with water. Fix the lead and bring to the fire. When it whistles, count: 10 minutes for soft dulce de leche, 20 minutes for medium (I use this for the recipe) and 40 minutes for very firm. Turn the fire off and wait until the cooker is warm to open. DO NOT, UNDER ANY, ANY CIRCUMSTANCES OPEN THE CAN UNTIL IT’S COMPLETELY COLD. The content may explode, causing serious burns. Before use, put the dulce the leche in a bowl and whisk with a fork to losen it.