Confession: I can’t stop eating these brownies.
I sent them all away, but stupidly left the off-cut bowl sitting on the worktop. Well, there’s nothing in that bowl now. I’ve steadily picked my way through an entire heaving cereal bowl of slivers and crumbs of brownie, chocolate, caramel, and peanut. Whoops.
I can’t bring myself to feel guilty about it though, the brownies were just too good to waste.
Snickers had never really been on my chocolate bar list until we went travelling. Then they became my absolute staple. For some reason, where ever you go in the world, there always seems to be snickers. All the little places where you don’t even expect to find a shop, there they’ll be. A lady with a little make shift stall, sometimes a little table laid out, other times boxes will be carefully laid out on the floor. There you’ll find a few bottles of water, a couple of cokes, and, if you’re lucky, a few cans of local beer in an ageing cool box. A few bags of whatever snack is favoured by the locals, maybe lotus seed pods, or pots of instant noodles. Perhaps a few faded, greying souvenir t-shirts will be hung at the back, and maybe a few tin terracotta warriors, or lucky coins. And then, whether you find yourself in China, or Thailand or Laos, there they will be, a box of snickers bars.
I ate these bars climbing Tiger Leaping Gorge, bought from a bent, wiry lady who effortlessly carried them up each day, bounding daily up the path I huffed, panted and hauled my way up. I ate one on the Great Wall of China, the chocolate almost frozen solid in the cold. It was the first thing I craved in Laos when we got caught out on a moped in a pouring rainstorm, dripping, drenched to the skin, and shivering.
Even before getting back home I knew my favourite travelling treat was just calling out to be made into a brownie. Chocolate, caramel and peanuts. A salty sweet combination just begging for a thick layer of fudgy brownie beneath it.
Don’t be afraid of the caramel. Its a really simple, wet method caramel. The sugar goes into the pan with water and golden syrup. It all bubbles away until a lovely, golden, amber colour. Then we add butter and cream. Whisk them in, leave it to cool for a few minutes, and you’re done. No scary sugar thermometres here.
These are, for now at least, my dream brownies. Each bite takes me back to memories of travelling, and each bite is deliciously moreish. First you get a delicious, satisfying snap as you bite through the smooth, creamy chocolate layer. Next you get the delicious, fudgy, gooey brownie. Finally, a salty bite from the peanut, sweetened by the sticky caramel.
I see this being a recipe that I’ll be making over, and over, and over again.
Fudgy Snickers Brownies
(makes 16 large brownies)
for the brownie base (adapted from Nigella Lawson)
380g unsalted butter
400g dark chocolate
6 medium eggs
350g caster sugar
230g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
150g salted peanuts
for the caramel
100g caster sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
50g unsalted butter
30ml double cream
for the chocolate topping
200g milk chocolate
100g dark chocolate
50g unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/ 350F.
Grease and line a 33 x 23 x 5cm (13 x 9 x 2 in) rectangular tin.
In a large pan, melt together the butter and chocolate.
In a separate jug, whisk together the eggs and sugar.
Once the butter and chocolate have melted, take the chocolate mixture off the heat. Whisk in the egg and sugar mixture. Finally, whisk in the flour and salt.
Pour the batter in the prepared brownie tin and bake for about 25 minutes.
When the brownies come out of the oven they should still be a little under baked. The top should be crackled and dry, but there should be a little wobble in the middle of the brownies.
Cool completely in the tin.
Once cool, sprinkle the salted peanuts over the top of the brownies.
Next, make the caramel.
Put the sugar, water and golden syrup in a heavy based pan. Bring to the boil, and allow to bubble away from about 5 minutes, until much of the water has bubbled away, and the sugar has turned a deep amber colour. Take off the heat, and add the butter. Allow it to melt in the pan, then add the double cream. Whisk everything together and leave to cool slightly.
While the caramel is still liquid, pour it over the peanuts, trying to evenly cover the surface of the brownie. Leave to cool completely.
Place a heatproof bowl over a small pan of boiling water. Add the milk chocolate, the dark chocolate, and the butter. Melt together.
Pour the melted chocolate over the caramel.
Leave to cool completely, then slice into 16 large slices, or smaller squares if you prefer.