After last year’s slightly traumatic Sweet Swap (I ruined my sweets 3 times in a row), I wasn’t sure if I’d sign up to The Sweet Swap again. But let’s be honest, the only thing I love more than making baked goods is receiving baked goods!
I wanted to bake something decadent yet sturdy, as my caramels arrived to my matches a little melted last year. I settled on a fudgey dark chocolate brownie with a caramel popcorn base and topping, and salted caramel drizzle. Fortunately I made extras for my own tasting pleasure as these were AWESOME. And I got them right the first time! Phew!
- ½ cup of popcorn kernels
- 3 tbsp canola oil
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup golden syrup
- 60 g butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Dark Chocolate Brownies
- 375 g soft butter
- 375 g dark chocolate
- 6 eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2¼ cups caster sugar
- 1¾ cups plain flour
- 1 tsp salt
Salted Caramel topping
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp butter
- Line a baking tray with baking paper, set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan on medium high heat. Put a few popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the saucepan.
- Once the kernels pop, add the rest of the ½ cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer.
- Cover, remove from the heat and count 30 seconds. This method I have learnt first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.
- Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts vigorously, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner. Try to keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam from the popcorn release (the popcorn will be drier and crisper). Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.
- Break up 3/4 of the popcorn into small bits, this will become the base of the brownie. Leave the remaining 1/4 as is in a separate bowl.
- Now, on to the caramel. In the same saucepan, place sugar, golden syrup, butter, vanilla extract and heat on low to medium heat until sugar has dissolved.
- Increase to medium heat (but watch it like a hawk, sugar burns easily) and cook without stirring for around 2 minutes (please note this is a reduced cooking time as it continues to cook in the oven).
- Stir in baking soda and then add popcorn and stir furiously to coat kernels all over before the caramel starts to set.
- Quickly press 3/4 of the broken up popcorn into a lined 33 x 25 x 5.5 cm pan.
- Spread the remaining 1/4 out onto the lined baking tray and allow to cool and set.
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave in short bursts on medium.
- In a bowl beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla.
- Sift the flour into another bowl and add the salt.
- Let the chocolate mixture cool a bit before beating in the egg and sugar mixture, and then the flour.
- Pour over popcorn base and bake for 30-40 minutes (but can often take longer).
- When it’s ready the top should be dried to a pale brown but the middle still dark and gooey.
Salted Caramel topping
- Once the brownies are cool, slice into even squares. Top each square with a few pieces of the remaining caramel popcorn.
- Put the brown sugar and butter in a small pan and heat on medium for 5 minutes, then drizzle over the top of each brownie.
These were bundled up in little polka dot boxes and sent to:
Sandra from The $120 Food Challenge
Alex from Eating Adelaide
Lauren from Create Bake Make
I hope they all enjoyed them!
And what did I receive? First up was Wonka Fudge from Bryton of Bryton Taylor!. It unfortunately melted enroute but after a quick visit to the freezer they were good to go.
3 types of chocolate bark from Shari of Good Food Week! There was Christmas Inspired (white chocolate, cranberries, shortbread and pistachios) A Night at the Movies (milk chocolate, popcorn, marshmallows and pretzels) and Mummy’s Healthy Treat (dark chocolate, dried fruit and pecans)!
And last but certainly not least were the Raw Vegan Bounty Bars from Cassie at Food My Friend. Raw and vegan aren’t 2 words I usually associate with dessert but these were absolutely delicious!