Fran’s Gold Bar Brownies
As demand started to increase for our first adult candy bar, the Gold Bar, we were faced with the pleasant problem of what to do with the odds and ends left on the trays after the bars were cut. We know it’s hard to imagine, but even chocolate professionals have to stop eating chocolate eventually. When volume got too great to distribute as samples, we tried selling bags of remnants for nibbling – and then lightning struck! Someone came up with the idea of folding the pieces into a brownie, creating the sensational Gold Bar Brownie – an over-the-top chocolate brownie shot through with gooey caramel and almonds.
This version, developed for the home baker without an endless supply of broken Gold Bars, is the next evolution of that toothsome concept. You can make the caramel sauce several weeks in advance, or purchase a good prepared sauce (of course, we’re partial to our own Caramel Sauce). The results are always awe inspiring.
Makes 24 brownies or 48 miniatures
- 1 cup Caramel Sauce
- 8 ounces (1 ⅔ cups) whole almonds
- 1 pound (16 ounces) semisweet chocolate
- 1½ ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 1½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon espresso powder
- 3 large eggs
- 1¾ cup cake flour, sifted then measured
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Lightly butter a 9-by-13 inch sheet pan, or quarter-sheet pan.
- Have ready the Caramel Sauce. The sauce can be made as much as a month in advance. It can be used cold, directly from the refrigerator.
- Place the almonds on another baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes or until their fragrance is released. Let cool, then roughly chop into 1/4 inch pieces. Set aside.
- Finely chop 12 ounces of the semisweet chocolate for melting. Chop the remaining 4 ounces of semisweet into ¼ inch chunks for chips.
- Melt the finely chopped semisweet and unsweetened chocolate in a double boiler over low heat. Remove when nearly melted and continue stirring until smooth, about 100°F.
- In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and two sugars until light and very fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
- In a small bowl, stir together the vanilla and the espresso powder.
- Add vanilla and espresso blend to the butter mixture and beat to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions and scraping the bowl several times. Pour in the melted chocolate and beat to combine.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the sifted flour by hand until no traces of white remain. Fold in the toasted almonds and the 4 ounces semisweet chocolate chunks. The batter will be quite thick.
- Evenly spread the batter in the prepared pan.
- Spoon the cold Caramel Sauce in tablespoon sized dollops over the top. Using a table knife drawn through the batter, swirl the caramel into the batter to marbleize. Bake for 45 minutes. When tested with a toothpick in the brownie portion (not the caramel), it will have moist crumbs.
- Let cool in the pan 1 hour.
- Cut into squares and remove with a spatula. Store brownies in sealed plastic containers as long as a week, or freeze.
Celebrate being an adult!
Pair these brownies with a dark, rich beer (we like Firestone Walker’s Vintage Ale series) or a nice dry Prosecco, which tempers the sweeter aspects of the dessert and adds a lovely dimension to this classic offering.