Salted Caramel Peanut Brownie Bars
With a chewy chocolate chunk-studded base and heaps of gooey peanut-laden caramel, these bars are part candy bar and part brownie with cookielike edges. Super-rich and satisfying, a little piece is all you need. A candy or deep-fry thermometer is an inexpensive and useful tool worth investing in to achieve a caramel that is neither too hard nor too soft.
- Serves: 32 persons
- 1cup/130 grams all-purpose flour
- ½cup/45 grams natural cocoa powder
- ¾teaspoon kosher salt
- ½teaspoon baking soda
- 12tablespoons/170 grams unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
- ½cup/100 grams granulated sugar
- ½cup/110 grams packed dark brown sugar
- 1large egg, at room temperature
- 1teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4ounces/115 grams semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1cup/200 grams granulated sugar
- ½cup light corn syrup
- ¾cup heavy cream
- 4tablespoons/55 grams unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 ½cups/225 grams unsalted roasted peanuts
- ½teaspoon kosher salt
- Flaky salt for sprinkling
Step 1Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides.
Step 2Prepare the base: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda. In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until creamy, 1 minute. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Mix in the flour mixture and the chocolate until evenly moistened.
Step 3Transfer the thick batter to the prepared pan and spread it out into an even layer with an offset spatula. Bake until the base looks dry and set, about 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Step 4Prepare the topping: To a small saucepan with high sides add ¼ cup/60 milliliters water. Pour the sugar and corn syrup into the center of the pan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until the mixture is a medium amber color, about 15 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally. Quickly and carefully add the cream and the butter. Take care: The mixture will steam and sputter. Stir the mixture until combined and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot.
Step 5Cook the caramel until the mixture reaches 238 degrees, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanuts and the kosher salt. Pour the caramel over the base, using the raised edges of the base that formed while baking to keep the caramel on top. Sprinkle with flaky salt. Let stand until the caramel is completely cool.
Step 6Using the parchment overhang, transfer the bar to a cutting board. Cut into 32 small rectangles to serve.