Chocolate fudge and caramel is a classic dessert combination that is always a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Here’s a recipe that we love:
Caramel Popcorn Brownies
Recipe adapted from Chow.com
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 stick (8 tablespoons) of unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup prepared caramel sauce
2 cups caramel popcorn
Leave the eggs out on the counter until they get to room temperature, which should take about two hours. Chop the butter into small pieces and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit. Spray an 8 x 8 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Add the chocolate and butter to a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. Be careful that you don’t leave it on the stove too long, or else the chocolate will burn! Remove from heat and let stand for about five minutes.
Whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl until well combined. Gently stir in the chocolate and butter mixture with a rubber spatula until fully incorporated. Fold the flour in with a rubber spatula until the batter is smooth, about 20 strokes. Resist the urge to mix it for longer than that because it will make the brownies tough and hard after they’re baked.
Pour the batter into the 8 x 8 baking pan, smoothing it out with a rubber spatula. Place in the oven and bake until the sides are cooked through – a toothpick inserted into the side should come out clean. This will take 20-25 minutes depending on your oven. Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack. Let the brownies cool completely.
After the brownies are cool, spread caramel sauce on top and press in the caramel popcorn. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to let the popcorn and caramel sauce set. Slice the brownies just before eating. Serve with a scoop of ice cream, if desired.
Once you make the brownies, you can actually put any flavor of popcorn or sauce on top! Here are some of our favorite ideas:
• Chocolate sauce. Use chocolate sauce instead of caramel sauce.
• Chocolate popcorn. Substitute chocolate popcorn for caramel popcorn.
• Melted chocolate. Drizzle melted chocolate over the brownies for an even more decadent treat!
• Double chocolate brownies. Stir ½ cup of mini chocolate chips into the brownie batter just before placing in the pan.
• Buttered popcorn. If you love the combination of salty and sweet, use buttered popcorn instead of caramel popcorn.
• Nut brownies. Stir ½ cup crushed walnuts into the batter just before placing in the baking pan.
• Brownie mix. You don’t need to make the brownies completely from scratch. You can always use a mix!