Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Dulce de Leche Brownies (and more!)

This week's TWD recipe was an espresso-cheesecake brownie, which sounds fabulous...if you like espresso. Or cheesecake. Unfortunately, neither of those elements are too popular around my house. BROWNIES, on the other hand, will earn you fawning compliments, a kiss, and a folded twenty slipped into your palm, easy. So instead of the given recipe, I decided to make a recipe I've been dying to try: David Lebovitz's Dulce de Leche Brownies.

My husband loves dulce de leche. Looooves it. Busts out a spoon and hovers protectively over the dulce de leche and snaps like a chihuahua at anyone trying to get near it-style love. So knowing this, you'd think I would make it a point to work dulce de leche into our dessert rotation on a regular basis, but no. It just doesn't usually occur to me to make a batch and then use it for baking. However, now that we've had these brownies, we may start seeing a lot more of it around these parts.

I made the dulce de leche the old-fashioned way: boiling a can on the stovetop for about 5 hours. Some folks have a problem with this, to which I say, feh! If you let a little thing like exploding cans and grievous bodily harm worry you, you have no place in my kitchen. NO FEAR, SUCKAS. Buuuut I suppose if you're really going to wuss out, you can make it using other methods, like in a pressure cooker, crock-pot, or out of the can and baked in a water bath in the oven. (Weenies.) At any rate, once you have the gorgeously thick dulce de leche, you'll want to eat a bunch of it on its own, until you start to vibrate from all of the sugar in your system. At that point, you're ready to use the rest to make these brownies!

The brownies turn out rich and somewhat fudgy, although the 3 eggs in the recipe prevent them from being too dense or gluey. The dulce de leche is swirled throughout the batter but I tried to leave some in pockets so the flavor wouldn't be lost, and it worked well--most bites had at least a little dulce de leche, and some had big gobs of the caramelized goodness. DELICIOUS. These were pretty intense, so they can be cut into fairly small squares, and I found a pan stretched pretty far.

I also made these wonderful candies with some of the dulce de leche. They're super-simple but incredibly addicting! I took two jumbo pecan halves and sandwiched them with a small spoonful of dulce de leche. Then the whole package was dipped in dark chocolate. It was such a great combo--crunchy toasted nuts, rich chocolate, and creamy, caramelized dulce de leche. They're a perfect one or two-bite candy, almost too easy to munch, if you know what I mean. You don't really need a recipe but if you'd like one it can be found here: Dulce de Leche Pecan Bites.

The recipe for the brownies can be found after the cut...

Dulce de Leche Brownies from the ever-fabulous David Lebovitz
Yield: 12 brownies

8 tablespoons (115g) salted or unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup (25g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1 cup (200g) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (140g) flour
optional: 1 cup (100 g) toasted pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup Dulce de Leche (or Cajeta)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 C).

Line a 8-inch (20 cm) square pan with a long sheet of aluminum foil that covers the bottom and reaches up the sides. If it doesn't reach all the way up and over all four sides, cross another sheet of foil over it, making a large cross with edges that overhang the sides. Grease the bottom and sides of the foil with a bit of butter or non-stick spray.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the chocolate pieces and stir constantly over very low heat until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sugar, vanilla, then the flour. Mix in the nuts, if using.

Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan. Here comes the fun part.
Drop one-third of the Dulce de Leche, evenly spaced, over the brownie batter, then drag a knife through to swirl it slightly. Spread the remaining brownie batter over, then drop spoonfuls of the remaining Dulce de Leche in dollops over the top of the brownie batter. Use a knife to swirl the Dulce de Leche slightly.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. The brownies are done when the center feels just-slightly firm. Remove from the oven and cool completely.


  1. With brownies THAT decadent... who needs coffee anyways, right!? LOL

    I'm getting ready to jump through the screen! WOW!

  2. I had already decided to make these brownies later in the week, after seeing your pictures I can't wait!

  3. Miss you around TWD..come back!

  4. Ooooooh mama - these look incredible! I bought Dulce de Leche for the first time recently with the thought of making snickery squares, but I just might make these instead. I'll just put on my full body armor to protect myself against exploding cans and go for it! Gorgeous brownies!

  5. I have seen these darn brownies so many times and I keep telling myself I'm going to make them!!! I just need to do it already!

  6. Your brownies look so much more appealing than the cheesecake brownies. Send one to my house.

  7. omg - i'm swooning right now. those pecan bites look amazing. gourmet. i'd pay big $ for those :)
    nice twist on the brownies too. i loved this post. thx for 2 great recipes.

  8. Anonymous10:52 AM

    I am so glad you posted these. I have been dying to try these since I read "the sweet life in Paris." I need to get on it!

  9. Weenies? Who are you calling a weenie - just because I don't want to end up in the ER! For shame!!

    Bah ha ha ha ha - that's a good one. Someday I'll try to make DDL at home, because I am sure it is far superior to the canned stuff.

    I remember making those brownies last year - they are not for the faint of heart.

  10. Anonymous11:31 AM

    Did my comment save? Can't tell.

    Anyway, I love your version and I think I would have found it tastier. Love the bites too.

  11. So glad you made these! I don't like cheesecake. These look tons better!

  12. Now THAT's what I'm talking about, Liz. Delish. I've made the dulce in a can the non-wussy way like you. It was awesome. I was not afraid. ;)
    Now I want some caramelly brownies! Sigh.
    Oh, and I love the little turtle bites. Yum! (I get a weekly email from your candy posts at about.com--always yummy! I've printed a number of things to make during the holidays!)

  13. They are gorgeous! Love your version of the brownies and your Pecan Bites are really tempting!

  14. Oooh...all that sugar is making me vibrate already, just by looking! These look divine, and love the pecan bites.

  15. wow--those look awesome!

  16. amazing! these look fantastic. what a great switch!

  17. I'll take some. Thanks.

  18. I've been seeing these brownies around everywhere!! I've always wanted to try this!! And now you've made me want to make DDL the authentic way too! I've only made it in the oven :P :P

  19. Two amazing desserts in one!!! Those brownies are TOTALLY calling my name!!! And I'd eat all of those bites... in one fell swoop

  20. I could so do with having some of these right now. They look lovely.

  21. Oh those brownies look absolutely SINFUL!

  22. Anonymous9:21 AM

    Step aside, espresso cheesecake brownies, because I'll take these dulce de leche brownies any day. And the candy, too!

  23. Great alternative. They look luscious.

    I use the boiled can method all the time. Make banoffee pie.

    And love the little bites. You rock, girl.

  24. Both the brownies and the candies look incredible - yummy !!

  25. Anonymous3:38 PM

    I've been wanting to make those brownies, and after seeing your post, I REALLY want to make those brownies!

  26. I boil my milk can too.. cos sardines are pressure cooked right in their sealed can, so why be scared of boiling the milk can in water??

    BTW, does the weenie include David? He bakes his in the oven :p

  27. Anonymous4:10 AM

    these brownies makes me drool!! can't wait to try these,but have to make it without egg,any tips as bestegg replacement?? :D