Christmas is probably my favourite holiday. I love the spirit, the traditions, and how my family always tries to spend as much time together as possible.
The holiday tradition I look forward to most every year is the Christmas baking. At the beginning of December, my mom and I always set aside one weekend and take over the kitchen with a whirlwind of flour, sugar, butter, and (of course) chocolate! There are always plenty of the staples: gingerbread and shortbread cookies, mince tarts and butter tarts, and a couple squares. Over the past two or three years, I’ve been adding new goods to our baking menu which have always been a rousing success.
Because I’m not home for the holidays this year, I’ve missed sharing in the Christmas baking with my family. However, to make up for it, I’ve been doing some of my own!
Enter these Caramel Brownie Snowflakes. Topped with a generous amount of flaked sea salt, these brownies will be a welcome addition to your usual holiday baking. I spent a lot of time (and a lot of chocolate and butter) perfecting this chewy brownie recipe. They’re gooey, they’re oozy, and they’re an all-around delightful spin on the salted caramel fad. I hope your family enjoys them as much as we do.
Caramel Brownie Snowflakes with Sea Salt
Brownie recipe loosely adapted from Supernatural Brownies
- 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter
- 8 oz (226 g) good quality dark chocolate
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 (135 g) bag of chewy caramel pieces
- flaked sea salt, for topping
- Christmas-shaped cookie cutter
Preheat your oven to 180 C (350 F) and grease and line two 8×8 tins with baking paper.
MAKE THE BATTER:
In a saucepan, melt the butter on a low heat. Add the chocolate and stir until smooth. To avoid burning the chocolate mixture, move the pan off the heat every 20 seconds, stir, and return to the heat.
Carefully pour the melted butter and chocolate into a heat resistant mixing bowl. Whisk in both sugars until smooth. Add the vanilla and salt and stir to combine.
Add the eggs into the batter, two at a time, and beat until just incorporated. Be sure not to over mix the batter, or the eggs will cause the brownies to have a glossy sheen on top and will make them more cakey than chewy.
Sift in the cocoa powder and flour and stir until just combined.
LAYER THE BROWNIES:
Divide the batter into four equal portions. Pour one portion into each tin and smooth with a spatula to cover the entire base. Make sure this is very even to avoid burning.
Place unwrapped caramel pieces evenly onto the first layer of brownie. Depending on which shape of cookie cutter you use, you may want to use the cutter to eyeball where the caramels should go to ensure an even distribution.
Pour the last two portions of batter into the tins and spread evenly.
BAKING AND DECORATING:
Bake the brownies for 15 minutes and then watch them like a hawk. As soon as the batter begins to pull away from the sides of the tin, take them out of the oven (usually about 3–4 minutes more). Test the brownies with a toothpick inserted into the centre – if it comes out clean, they are done.
Immediately sprinkle with flaky sea salt and leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin. Take them out of the tins and let cool on a rack for 10 minutes more.
Refrigerate your brownies for at least 1 hour. The refrigeration firms them up and makes cutting them a lot easier.
Cut your brownies using the cookie cutter. Be gentle when removing them from the cutter or they will break. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks (if they last that long!)
- This batter will firm up as you’re mixing it due to the melted chocolate. I suggest moving quickly to ensure you have an easier time spreading it in the tin.
- If you’re having trouble spreading the top layer of batter, use your finger. I find it works better than using a spatula as you can get in between and over the caramel pieces without moving them too much. Don’t worry if you can’t get it perfect as the batter will spread in the oven.
- I’ve found that metal cookie cutters work best for this recipe as they cut the brownie nicely. If you have a plastic cookie cutter or it’s a bit dull, run the cutter under hot water for 3 minutes to heat it up. Heating the cutter will make it easier to cut the brownie. If you’re still having trouble cutting through some particularly nasty caramel, simply use a sharp knife to gently loosen the caramel away from the cookie cutter.
Baking together is a huge part of my family’s Christmas. Mom and I make the treats, my brother helps decorate, and my dad helps eat them all! What are some of your family’s holiday traditions?