Today I'm honored to be part of a special Valentine's Day blogging event, Chocolate Valentines!
Serendipity contacted me a few weeks back and asked if I'd like to participate in this fabulous intercontinental event. The idea was for a little crew of us to each make something featuring chocolate and then link back to Kate's blog, who would in turn link to all of ours. If you're not familiar with Kate's wonderful blog, you're really missing out. She's an American living in Belgium, and her beautiful blog describes her fascinating (and delicious!) life abroad. I couldn't say yes fast enough, especially when she added that she'd be happy to send me some chocolate from her local artisan chocolate maker.
About two weeks later, a little package arrived at my door from Belgium, containing two kinds of chocolate: chocolate for eating (which turned out to be some of the most fabulous chocolate I've ever had) and chocolate for baking.
I had a few ideas about what to make with this special chocolate and came very close to making enchiladas in mole. But in the end, I chose the dulce du leche brownies from David Lebovitz's great book, The Sweet Life in Paris. I briefly considered making dulce de leche from scratch like Jessica did over at Apples and Butter. But in the end I took the lazy way out.
The brownies turned out highly chocolatey and laced with gooey, molten dulce de leche.
Let's get a little closer.
I liked these brownies, but they were a tad sweet. The husband felt they were too much, although let it show for the record that he ate a rather large piece without fussing about it until afterward. I would make them again--but they are definitely the kind of brownies that need to be toted along to a picnic or party. No household of two should be consuming an 8-inch pan of these.
Thank you, Kate for organizing this fun event. I can't wait to check out what everyone else did with their Belgian chocolate. And to all of you readers, Happy Valentine's Day!
Dulce de Leche Brownies
From David Lebovitz's The Sweet Life in Paris
8 T. salted or unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for greasing the pan
6 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 c. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. flour
1 c. toasted pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped, optional (I skipped)
1 c. confiture de lait (dulce de leche)
Preheat oven to 350 and generously grease an 8" square pan and line the bottom with a square of parchment or wax paper.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add chocolate and stir constantly over very low heat until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in cocoa powder until smooth.
Add eggs one at a time, then stir in the sugar, vanilla, and flour (and nuts, if using).
Scrape half of batter into prepared pan. Drop one-third of the dulce de leche in prune-sized dollops, evenly spaced, over the brownie batter, then drag a knife through it to swirl it slightly. Spread the remaining brownie batter over the top, then drop spoonfuls of the remaining dulce de leche over the batter. Use a knife to swirl the dulce de leche ever so slightly. (If you overdo it, the whole thing will bake into a bubbly mess. Just drag a knife once or twice through the batter and leave it at that.)
Bake for 40-45 minutes (mine was done in 40), or until the center feels just slightly firm. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Cut the brownies and wrap individually, then distribute freely.
DL notes that the brownies actually become better the second day, which I found to be true.