Every city has its "hidden gem" and I am ashamed to say that even living in Charlotte for over half of my life, I discovered this one less than two years ago! My dear cousins Meg and Jim introduced me to Amelie's one summer night, and my taste buds were forever changed. Upon my first visit to the quirky bakery located in Charlotte's eclectic "NoDa" neighborhood, I explained to the friendly man behind the counter that it was my first visit, and that I wanted the very best item that they had. He pointed to their award winning Salted Caramel Brownie and as soon as I took my first bite...It. Was. All. Over. Not only is this the number one selling item at Amelie's but it was also voted by Charlotte's residents as Charlotte's #1 dessert in Creative Loafing magazine. The base is rich, fudgy and decadent. The caramel topping is sweet, salty and hugs the brownie in all the right places.
Amelie's supplied Charlotte Magazine with their coveted recipe back in October of 2009 and I am so thankful that they did. This just might be my greatest kitchen creation to date. I was apprehensive to even attack this dessert since the original product is chocolate perfection but I was craving a little bit of Charlotte and giving this a whirl was a must. These brownies take time, patience and a lot of love, but I promise you once your mouth meets this masterpiece, you will soon realize it's not possible to just take one bite. If I were asked to describe these babies with one word? Sinful. Whether you give this recipe a try in your kitchen or take a trip to Amelie's and experience the bakery perfection for yourself I promise you that upon your first bite, as far as desserts are concerned, you may have just found your new addiction.
Salted Caramel Brownies
Amelie's French Bakery- Charlotte, North Carolina
6 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
Salted caramel glaze, recipe below
Heat oven to 325 degrees. The original recipe says to grease or butter your pan, but after reading several adaptations to this recipe online, I decided to line my 9 X 13 inch baking pan with foil. It was much easier to lift the whole sheet of brownies out of the pan, resulting in a prettier product.
In the top of a double boiler, over medium heat, melt chocolate and butter, being sure that the water in the double boiler does not touch the top pan. Stir in chocolate and butter until completely melted. Then, stir in the sugar. Blend well and remove from heat.
In a separate bowl, lightly whisk eggs. Stir eggs into chocolate mixture then add flour, stirring until completely blended. Spread batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.
Completely cool brownies in pan. Pour caramel glaze over brownies and cool in refrigerator until caramel sets (at least two hours but these are even better the next day). Cut into 2 inch squares, take your first bite and fall madly in love.
Salted Caramel Glaze
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 tablespoons powdered gelatin, combined with 1/4 cup cold water
In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm heavy cream until hot, but not boiling. in a separate tall saucepan, combine sugar and water. Place over medium-high heat. DO NOT STIR. This is where the patience comes in. As the sugar dissolves, the mixture will begin to boil and this where the adventure of making caramel begins. It will seem like you are watching paint dry waiting for the mixture to turn a dark amber color but I promise you, it will get there. Once you see a beautiful caramel color, add cream, butter and salt. Stir gently until everything is smooth and well combined. Remove from heat and stir in water/gelatin mixture. Use immediately.