Dream Brownies

What's in a "Dream Brownie"?  The stuff my dreams are made of, of course!

Dark Chocolate.  Salted Caramel.  Coffee.  Ganache.

Really, is there anything else?  And that just happens to cover my two favorite food groups...Chocolate and Coffee.  I mean, if Congress can declare pizza a vegetable, than surely chocolate as a food group can't be far behind, right?

So let me share the recipe and inspiration behind these bad boys in just a moment.  But first, let's talk "New Year's Resolutions", shall we?

Cookie Crazed Mama is going on its 2 year anniversary.  My resolution is to bring MORE.

More posts.  More followers.  More variety.

I've decided to add savory items to the recipe index.  Probably not as often as the baked goods, but there are too many delicious, some bad-for-you foods that I feel I must share.

I'm hoping that with more posts come more readers, blogger followers, and Facebook "Likes".  It feels good to share delicious recipes and even receive feedback-good and bad.  Well, more good than bad, I hope!

I'm hoping that since now Cookie Crazed Mama is a .com, and with enough traffic, I can justify shelling out some dough to have someone make the site prettier, brighter and more user friendly.  But don't go expecting any fancy photographs, because the photographer won't change!

Okay, enough with the resolutions!  Let's get to the good stuff.  The yummy stuff.

Dream Brownies
My primary inspiration is Bake or Break and her Mascarpone Brownies.  And then halved the caramel recipe from this brownie recipe sent to me by a good friend.  Finally I went to Baked Explorations recipe Sweet and Salty Brownies for some final tips on pulling it all together.  Whew.

Cookie Mama's Notes:
* Leave some parchment paper hanging over the sides of pan so you can pull the brownies out of pan with ease.
* If you don't have instant espresso, you can omit or one packet of Starbucks Via, Italian Roast works.
* Mascarpone cheese is often found in the specialty cheese section of the grocery store and in a plastic container similar to cream cheese.  It is like the Italian version of cream cheese and is most commonly used in tiramisu.
* The easiest way I find to bring eggs to room temp. quickly is to place eggs in a bowl and cover them with warm water and let sit for at least and hour.
* If you don't have kosher salt, use sea salt, or table salt
* I like Brach's Milk Maid caramel, they are softer and creamier than other brands.
* You can use a 8x8 pan, cooking time may need to be longer.
* I did not use all the caramel, pour the rest of it in the jar for later use, like on top of ice cream!

Serious enjoyment in your mouth.  If you like yummy things, that is.

Brownie Batter
- 1 c. unsalted butter
- 3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 tsp. instant espresso powder
- 1 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. cocoa powder
- 1/2 c. mascarpone cheese, softened
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 c. flour
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

- 14 oz. bag caramels, unwrapped
- 1/3 c. evaporated milk
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt

- 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 6 Tbsp. heavy cream
- 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Preheat oven 325 degrees.  Line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper.  Coat with non-stick cooking spray.

Caramel:  Place unwrapped caramels and evaporated milk in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring each time.  Continue until caramel is smooth and creamy.  This took about 2 1/2 minutes in my microwave.  Set aside.

Batter:  In a medium-large, microwave safe bowl, add your butter and finely chopped chocolate.  Microwave in 30 second intervals.  DO NOT OVERHEAT.  Stirring well after each interval will ensure this.  Chocolate is ready when melted and smooth-this took me 1 1/2 minutes in my microwave.  Add espresso powder and stir.

Sift in sugar and cocoa powder.  Stir until combined.  Add mascarpone, eggs, and vanilla.  Stir and beat until combined.  Fold in flour and salt until you see no visible flour pockets.

Pour half your batter into the prepared pan.  Use an offset spatula to evenly distribute batter.

Reheat caramel if needed to make it more pourable.  Drizzle about 3/4 of melted caramel over top of batter, being careful not to reach the edges of the pan, as caramel can burn.  Use your offset spatula as needed to ensure even layer of carmel-work gently so as not to stir in batter.  Scoop remaining brownie batter over the caramel layer.  Again, use offset spatula to work batter evenly over the top of caramel.

Bake 40-45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out with little crumbs.  Rotate pan halfway through baking time.  Remove pan from oven and place on cooling rack.

Ganache:  In a small saucepan, heat and stir cream and butter until just under boiling, aka, scalding.  Pour evenly over finely chopped chocolate.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Whisk until smooth, creamy and shiny.

Remove cooled brownies from pan.  Pour ganache over top.  Work evenly over top and down the sides with an offset spatula.  Let cool until ganache hardens, but I recommend the fridge so you can cut into these bad boys sooner!

I've shared these on "Sweet as Sugar Cookies" too!


  1. These look amazing! I love that you put the parchment paper tip in your notes- it's those little details that seem obvious, but to a novice can make or break a dessert! Thanks for helping me out with that problem earlier, BTW! -BJ

  2. Kim, my mouth was watering by the end of this post. I guess that means I should make them. Thanks for sharring.

  3. Those sound like the ultimate brownies. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog till Monday night and I'd love it if you'd come by and link your brownies up. http://sweet-as-sugar-cookies.blogspot.com/2012/01/sweets-for-saturday-51.html