It’s been a minute since I baked something out of the Magnolia Bakery Handbook, no?
The last recipe I made was the fabulous Blueberry Jamboree which I still have dreams about!
This time, I was in the mood for brownies but I wanted something a little bit fancier than your usual brownies. So, I decided to make the brownies fit for the rich: Billionaire Brownies. A shortbread crust drizzled with some caramel then topped with a lush fudge brownie sounds like heaven, right?
Well, it didn’t turn out exactly the way I thought it would. Here’s what happened.
This recipe calls for making a shortbread crust, which contains just three ingredients: flour, butter, and brown sugar. You combine the sugar and butter, then mix in the flour to form a dough. After spreading the dough into the pan, you bake it for a total of 25-ish minutes and before you know it, your house it smelling like delicious shortbread!
This part was fine!
Once the crust cools, you spread a thin layer of caramel sauce over it. Now, the cookbook says you can either make your own caramel or use store-bought. I opted for store-bought since I’ve used it in the past for the Peanut Butter Icebox Bars and everything turned out peachy for those.
Once the caramel sauce is on top of the crust, you make the brownie batter, dollop it onto the caramel-covered shortbread crust and bake. The brownie batter used is the basic fudgey brownie recipe included in the cookbook. It makes very rich brownies and has some chocolate chips in it for extra decadence.
This concoction bakes for only 23 minutes, according the recipe. But upon checking it, I knew that it would need a bit longer. I think in total I baked those brownies for almost 45 minutes!
But, eventually, the toothpick came out clean and I removed them from the oven. And let me tell you: they looked and smelled amazing!
With the exception of the longer bake time, I didn’t think this recipe was a flop until I cut into the baked brownies.
They appeared doughy and raw, except for the ones on the outside edges. At first I was disappointed, but upon trying one that seemed acceptable, they tasted so good that I knew I had to make them again.
So a few days later, I did just that…shortbread crust, caramel layer (I used a different brand of store-bought caramel sauce this time), brownie layer, baked for an eternity, let cool, and cut into them.
Sadly, it happened again! Only the outer most brownies looked baked through. I figured I must be doing something wrong, but I had done it twice and I knew I followed every step correctly. That’s when my friend stepped in and had a potential idea — he’s a chemist, after all, and like to teach me some food science every now and then…
He figured that the store bought caramel sauce has some type of ingredients that separates during the baking process, gets into the batter, and causes the gooey texture. After tasting a brownie, he assumed that the brownies were baked through (thus safe to eat, yay!), but the (fake) caramel sauce was to blame.
One day, I’ll put his theory to the test and try my hand at making my own caramel sauce. After all, I purchased a candy thermometer almost a year ago that has yet to be put to use!
Until next time, readers…