caramel apple brownies
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when it comes to dessert my kids and husband are all about the chocolate. for me, it is all caramel all the time especially since making apple cider caramel sauce last week. i’ve been pouring it on everything lately. fyi…it is really tasty on a tall stack of cider pancakes.
the kids will eat caramel sauce on ice cream if that is the only choice available to them, and they do love the cider caramel, but they have been begging for something chocolate. so i decided to surprise them with a pan of brownies for after school.
it’s a cool, rainy day here and that is all the encouragement i need to spend a day in the kitchen baking. fall baking is my favorite. there’s naan for thai yellow curry tonight, apple muffins for this weekends’ breakfast, and these caramel apple brownies. the kids get their chocolate and i get my caramel.
my all time favorite brownie recipe is from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book. as far as i’m concerned, there’s no need for another brownie recipe. ever. the tops are crispy and crackly as a brownie top should be. the center is fudgy. in a word perfection.
i make sarah’s brownies at least once a month and they disappear almost instantly. page 257 in my book is covered in chocolate fingerprint smudges. at the end of the recipe she offers a peanut butter variation that the kids love, but with a full jar of cider caramel in the fridge these caramel apple brownies came to be.
caramel apple brownies
- 8 tbsp butter (1 stick)cut into small pieces
- 8 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp apple pie spice
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup apple cider caramel sauce
- preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- grease a 9 x 9 baking pan, and create a Non-Stick Parchment Paper sling (cut two pieces of paper to fit the bottom of the pan and long enough to come up the sides, grease the pan, lay pieces perpendicular to each other, then spray or grease the paper making sure the paper fits into the corners of the pan)
- in a small saucepan melt the butter and dark chocolate over medium low heat, once melted, remove from the heat stir in the cocoa powder
- in a small bowl whisk together the flour, apple pie spice, baking powder, and salt
- in a large bowl combine the eggs, oil, sugars, and vanilla
- add melted and cooled chocolate to the eggs and blend well, add flour and stir just until combined
- pour batter into the prepared pan
- drop caramel sauce over the top of the batter, and then using a knife drag caramel through the batter creating swirls
- bake 30 - 35 minutes (20 - 25 minutes if using a larger 9 x 13 pan)
- brownies are done when the sides are set, the top is crackly
- cool completely before cutting
because i used cider caramel sauce, i wanted to play up the fall flavor in the brownie batter as well. i added apple pie spice. if you don’t have apple pie spice at home, simply add 3/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. you can leave it out altogether, but i enjoy the hint of spice it gives and it does bring out the fall flavors in the caramel sauce.
typically, i bake my brownies in a 9 x 13 baking pan. for these caramel apple brownies, i wanted BIG thick gooey brownies. i baked them in a 9 inch square baking pan. if you prefer a more “done” center (these are pretty soft in the center, just how i like them) i suggest baking in the larger pan.
and not that these bad boys aren’t over the top rich and delicious on their own, a hefty drip of extra caramel is never a bad thing.