Did you trust me? Did you make your Dulce de Leche? If so, have you eaten it all? Given it away as gifts? Keip Looking Up, I was thinking the very same thing about using this delicious caramel as a holiday gift for neighbors. I think perhaps the small glass jam freezing jars would be a more manageable size.
If you don't have homemade Dulce de Leche, you can still make Caramel Swirl Hunks, just buy some caramel sauce at the store. This recipe is from Marcy Goldman's A Passion For Baking. I have tried many of the recipes from this oh-so-tempting baking book. She does not hold back on sugar, butter or white flour. Hers are not exactly healthy treats. She does have one short section at the back of the book on multi-grain recipes. But who can manage to bypass all the refined white sugar and flour and get to the whole wheat? Not me, not with so many beautiful desserts staring me in the face. I do highly recommend this cook book. Without further ado--the Hunks!
Let's get baking! Put your apron on, because you are going to be wiping your hands on it a lot. And put on your self control if you have such powers.The sheer amount of butter and sugar required for this recipe freaked me out. I do so love butter. It doesn't usually scare me. And I have some pretty decadent recipes. But never before have I had to use an entire box of butter for one (un-doubled) recipe. After you close your eyes and melt all the butter and then close your eyes again to dump in all that (3 1/3 C) sugar you can open them and add in one measly little cup of oats that is supposed to make you feel better about these bars.
Then you'll get squeamish again as you crack 4 eggs and pour in what seems like half a bottle of vanilla (4 t).
Then it's time for some leavening.
Dump in the white stuff when no one is looking. I didn't have the heart to sub in whole wheat flour on this recipe. I can't imagine that the sugar, chocolate and caramel would take kindly to me trying to reform them. Who ever heard of reforming something so refined?
Time for the chocolate chips. Now, Marcy calls these bars "brownies". To me a brownie should have a chocolate base. So I rebelled and added a second cup of chocolate chips. One cup of semi-sweet and one cup of milk-chocolate.
The dough is entirely too thick to be easily poured into the prepared pan. You'll build up some muscle as you wield your spatula.
Doesn't that caramel look luscious? Don't worry, I didn't lick any of it off the top.
Swirling has a sort of calming effect on a person. Time to pop these babies in the oven. I really struggled with the baking time. I could not get the brownies to stop jiggling in the middle. Maybe they saw my middle and wanted to join the celebration? While the middle was jiggling away, the edges were beginning to burn, not brown(like my brother in the sun). I finally pulled them out and not a second too soon. I think that were I to use this recipe again I would bake them in a 11 x 13 to spread them a bit thinner. I did not follow Marcy's recommendation to bake them in the pan on top of a parchment lined cookie sheet. She always wants you to use more parchment paper than necessary, in my humble opinion. I don't have a publisher paying for my supplies, so I put the brownie pan directly onto the cookie sheet. And I'm pretty sure that is not why they stayed jiggly in the center.
Um, what happened to those brownies? How weird. It couldn't possibly be that the Gluttonous baker took a sample or two or three or four from the middle before she served her family! Never!
See how gooey they are in the middle? They are awfully delicious. The jury is still out on whether I'll make them again or not. I don't often get sick from eating more than one small brownie--but these little guys are not to be taken lightly.
Sad but true fact--sampling the cooking Dulce de Leche with my piece of dark, dark chocolate was my favorite part of the whole process.
Caramel Swirl Hunks (Marcy Goldman, A Passion for Baking)
2 C unsalted butter, melted
3 C firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 C white sugar
4 large eggs
4 t pure vanilla extract
1 C quick cook oats
4 C all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 C semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1 (13.4 ounce) can dulce de leche or half of the homemade recipe you made last weekend
Preheat the oven to 350. Generously spray 9 x 13 with nonstick cooking spray and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet.
In a mixer bowl, blend butter and both sugars. Add eggs, vanilla, and oats and blend well. Fold in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt. Fold in chocolate chips.
Spread batter in prepared pan. Top with dollops of dulce de leche and then swirl or smear the caramel into the batter.
Bake 38 minutes or until batter is set (not wobbly and jiggly). If brownies seem browned around the edges but jiggly in the center, reduce temperature to 325 and continue baking 10 to 15 minutes longer or until set.
Refrigerate or freeze 1 hour. Cut into large hunks or blocks.