B and I got together to make dinner this weekend. We made massaman curry and Dorie's caramel-peanut-topped brownie cake.
The curry was great. The cake was okay. I really liked the salty peanut caramel topping on the cake--it reminded me of the caramel and peanut wrapped nougat bars I used to eat as a kid. The cake itself was remarkably blah. It's entirely possible that I'm just too accustomed to eating rich foods and I've deadened my tastebuds or something. But it just didn't do anything for me. Its entire purpose was to provide a place to put the caramel; the cake tasted like neither chocolate nor brownie to me. It was a cinch to make, though, and since the caramel provided flavor, it was an okay dessert.
I melted the butter and chocolate while B did everything else. Then B made the curry while I made the caramel topping.
Since I'm not confident in my caramel-making skills quite yet, I brought along a strainer to take care of any lumps or burned bits. The caramel came out nicely, with only a few small lumps. (I think next time I'll skip the water, since you have to boil it out anyway.) I threw the peanuts on top of the cake and then we poured the caramel through a strainer onto the peanuts. (Dorie says to stir the peanuts into the caramel, then spoon them back onto the cake, pour on the caramel you want, and save the rest for later. My pan is bigger than 8", though, so we used all the caramel. And adding peanuts to caramel just to spoon them back out immediately seems like a waste of time, so I didn't bother with it.)
caramel-peanut-topped brownie cake (Baking, Dorie Greenspan)
1 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 sticked unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
5 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
1/2 C (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 C sugar
3 TB light corn syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 C sugar
1/2 C water
1 1/2 TB light corn syrup
2/3 C heavy cream
2 TB unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 C salted peanuts
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter an 8" round springform pan.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
Heat butter and chocolate together in a double boiler until just melted (do not let butter separate).
Whisk togther eggs and sugars until well blended. Whisk in corn syrup, then vanilla. Whisk in butter and chocolate. Gently stir in dry ingredients with whisk until just incorporated. Pour batter in pan and jiggle to even out batter.
Bake 40-45 minutes, or until cake passes knife test (there may be a few moist crumbs on knife).
Transfer pan to a rack and cool for 15 minutes. Then remove side of pan (you may need to run a blunt knife around the edge). Cake may sink; this is normal. Cool to room temperature. When completely cool, remove bottom of pan. Return cake to pan and refasten sides.
Put sugar, water, and corn syrup in a medium heavy-bottom saucepan. Stire to combine. Place over medium-high heat. Heat, without stirring, until caramel turns deep amber, 5-10 minutes. As sugar is caramelizing, wipe down splatters on the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water.
Lower the heat a bit and add the cream and butter, standing back from the pan to avoid being splattered. After splattering subsides a little, stir to dissolve lumps. Stir in peanuts and pour caramel and peanuts into a heatproof container.*
Pour mixture over cake. Allow topping to set at room temperature about 20 minutes before serving.