You really shouldn't know that these exist.
It would be better for your diet, your health, and your cravings if you forget what you just saw, move on and cook up some nice, tasty quinoa instead.
But that's a little boring, innit?
This little ingredient is the key to the whole recipe's success: Le Saunier de Camargue Fleur de Sel.
I have no idea why it's so tasty.
I have no idea why it's so perfect in this recipe.
But it is.
This salt is a key player in the caramel that you put in the middle of two layers of brownie. Oh, that reminds me...
Who's too intimidated to try to make caramel?
See, that's what I thought! You really shouldn't be. It's not hard, and the results are oh-so-gratifying. A lot of people seem to think that they process is super hard/time-consuming/easy to mess up. You might be sorta right on that last one, but you won't mess it up if you follow this handy guide!
I know that a lot of recipes tell you that you need a candy thermometer, that the sugar-water-corn syrup combo must be a precise 346 degrees... what crap. You don't need a thermometer, you need eyes.
Step 1: Dump your sugar, corn syrup and water into a medium saucepan. Turn heat on high.
Step 2: Small bubbles will begin to form around the sides, 2 minutes.
Step 3: The entire mixture will begin to bubble - do not stir! 3-4 minutes.
Step 4: The sides will begin to brown where there is the most intense heat. Consider stirring. 5 minutes.
Step 5: The entire mixture is browning rapidly. This is a nice, light caramel color, but it needs to be darker for full flavor. 6-6:30 minutes.
Step 6: Ah, the perfect color, just on the cusp of burning. 7 minutes.
After you've cooked your caramel, you'll need to pour cream into the sugar-syrup mixture. Pour slowly,
Now stir, stir, stir.
Be careful, the mixture will bubble like crazy and steam! Remember to keep your face a respectable distance away from the pan.
Finally, stir in a bit of Greek yogurt. Set caramel aside to cool, or cover and set on counter until you're ready to use.
See, I told you it's not that bad!
Now, go order some salt (or use kosher) and start baking.
Your taste buds won't regret it. Your hips, on the other hand...
Maybe it's just me, but I'm totally willing to sacrifice my skinny jeans for a few days if it means I can eat these.
Fleur de Sel Caramel Brownies
Recipe slightly adapted from Baked Explorations
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
¼ cup Greek yogurt
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces quality dark chocolate (60-72%), coarsely chopped
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/4 cup water, stirring them together carefully so you don't splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350 degrees F, or until the mixture is dark amber in color (Beware: it will go from golden brown to burnt very quickly), 6-8 minutes.
Remove from the heat and slowly add the cream and then the fleur de sel. Whisk in the Greek yogurt. Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 350.
Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 9x13 inch pan. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper and butter the parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cocoa powder.
Place the chocolate and butter in a metal bowl. Set over a pan of simmering water (basically, a double boiler) and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water of the double boiler and add both sugars. Whisk until completely combined and remove the bowl from the pan. Let sit until it's at room temperature.
Add three eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat, as this will make the brownies cakey.
Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate. Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until there is only a trace amount of flour visible.
Pour half of the brownie mixture into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Drizzle about 3/4 cup of the caramel over the brownie layer in a zigzag pattern, taking care to make sure the caramel does not come in contact with the edges of the pan or it will burn. Use your offset spatula to spread the caramel evenly across the brownie layer. In heaping spoonfuls, scoop the rest of the brownie batter over the caramel layer. Smooth the brownie batter gently to cover the caramel layer.
Bake the brownies for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, and check to make sure the brownies are completely done by sticking a toothpick in the center of the pan. The brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
Remove the brownies from the oven. Cool completely before cutting and serving.
I cut down the time in the kitchen by making the caramel one day and the brownies the next. You can leave the caramel out on the counter, covered, for up to three days.
P.S. -- Butter.