Here’s an ooey-gooey take on my quintessential brownie recipe: strands of silky salted caramel and feather-light marshmallow cream cut through a sea of chocolate, making for a sublime edible experience. Bring these divine bites to your next potluck — or do what I do and hoard them all for yourself.
It took me many years to find my perfect brownie recipe — dense, fudgy, and just flitting on the cusp of raw. But finding “the one” was only the tip of the iceberg. Once I nailed my ideal base, the sky was the limit.
I am always looking for new ways to take basic brownies over the top, and this marbled version might just be my new favorite. The inspiration for this particular twist came from none other than Ben & Jerry’s Phish food. I've always been a devotee to this wildly decadent ice cream laced with milk chocolate chunks and swirls of caramel and marshmallow cream. I figured what could be the harm in folding these delightful flavors into baked brownie form?!
These brownies are five-alarm fudge factor. The caramel makes them chewy and dense while the marshmallow cream adds a pop of color and flavor contrast. They are definitely intense, but in the best way possible. If you have some leftover caramel sauce, drizzle a bit on top to really gild the lily.
I highly recommend making these brownies a day before you plan to serve them, as hard as that task may sound. (Trust me, I feel you. Patience is not my virtue.) The flavors really do fuse together better after having a chance to set. Gently reheat them if you prefer them warm and gooey as I do, and don’t forget to wash them down with an extra large, extra cold glass of milk.
Caramel Fudge Brownies with Marshmallow Cream
Makes 9 to 12 squares
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup good-quality cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground espresso powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 ounces (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
8 ounces good-quality semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (about 7 ounces) marshmallow fluff
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce, store-bought or homemade
1 cup milk chocolate chips or pieces
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8x8-inch baking dish with cooking spray (or butter), then line with 2 sheets of parchment paper or aluminum foil, allowing a two-inch overhang on each side. Grease inside of paper or foil with additional cooking spray.
In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. Melt the butter and semisweet chocolate together over a double boiler (or in the microwave on medium power for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds) until the mixture is melted and smooth. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Fold the melted butter and chocolate into the egg mixture, then gently fold in the dry ingredients until just combined and no flour more is visible.
Dollop one-half of the brownie batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth with an off-set knife or silicone spatula. Drop dollops of half the marshmallow cream and caramel on top of the batter. Top with the remaining brownie batter and carefully smooth to fill the pan. Finally, drop dollops of the remaining marshmallow cream and caramel over the top. Drag the offset knife through the batter in both perpendicular and horizontal directions, making sure to reach the bottom of the pan. Finish by sprinkling the milk chocolate chips over everything.
Bake the brownies for 28 to 30 minutes, until only a few moist crumbs are visible when the brownies are pricked with a toothpick.
Let the brownies cool in the pan on wire rack for 1 hour. Using foil overhang, lift brownies out of pan. Let the brownies cool completely before serving, preferably overnight. Carefully peel off the foil and put the brownie on a large cutting board; cut into squares. Drizzle extra caramel on top, if desired.
- The brownies can be stored in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 3 days.
(Image credits: Nealey Dozier)