Sit down my darlings and let me tell you a story of how these caramel hot chocolate brownies came to be. Circumstances fell into place starting in September when we had a cool evening… by cool I mean under 70 F. Cool evenings make me think of hot chocolate with my favorite people, and so on three *separate* occasions I ended up picking up a box of hot cocoa mix at the store “just in case” we had an evening where I wanted hot chocolate, but didn’t have the chocolate on hand to make hot chocolate from scratch. This is a rational precaution in this house, until I realized I had three unopened containers of hot chocolate in the pantry and we maybe go through one in a year at most.
What was I going to do?
The answer is, clearly, bake something, because that is among the top three best answers to most questions in life. I’ve been on a bit of a brownie kick, and so brownies were the first thing that came to mind and these came out perfectly! I was able to cut down on the sugar by using the sweetened hot chocolate mix, and the resulting brownies were chewy, fudge squares of happy. I wasn’t too happy that my caramel just disappeared right into the brownie, and if I hadn’t been packaging them up to give away, might have drizzled them with a bit more caramel just because, but the flavor was there, and I couldn’t get over the delicious texture.
Caramel hot chocolate brownies are definitely my new favorite baked good inspired by hot chocolate. The itty-bitty mini marshmallows you see can by found in the grocery store by the hot cocoa mixes usually, and I like how they provided a nice dry “crunch” to contrast the chewy, moist brownies. If you can’t find them, go ahead and substitute standard mini marshmallows. They will melt a bit, but will still work just fine.
So should you find yourself looking at your pantry and realizing you too have a surplus of hot chocolate (whatever that is), and some caramel sauce on hand, don’t fret… bake caramel hot chocolate brownies (recipe below picture)!
If you’d like more caramel-inspired deliciousness, be sure to check out links from some other lovely ladies participating in this month’s Monthly Ingredient Challenge. Just click on the photo for the links! This month’s ingredient was caramel, chosen by Victoria at The DIY Foodie!
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup instant hot chocolate mix
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, 16 tablespoons
- 1 3/4 c granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
- 2 cups dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup caramel sauce
- mini marshmallows for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and lightly grease a 9x13" pan. If you'd like to make the brownies a little easier to remove, line the pan with parchment paper, leaving "handles" protruding along the long side of the pan.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, salt, hot chocolate mix, baking powder, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed about 4 minutes.
- Combine the butter and sugar in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute, then additional 30 second intervals as needed, stirring after each, until the butter has completely melted and the mixture is hot (not bubbling) and a little shiny. If it gets too hot, let it sit a minute or two before moving on to the next step.
- Slowly drizzle the butter and sugar mixture into the egg and cocoa mixture, stirring constantly until smooth. Immediately stir in the chocolate chips.
- Add the flour and stir until just combined, then pour the batter evenly into the prepared baking pan.
- Drizzle the caramel sauce over the brownies and sprinkle on the mini marshmallows.
- Bake the brownies for 33-38 minutes, until the edges are set and the middle looks slightly under-done, but not raw. A tester will come out with a few moist crumbs, and that's okay.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a rack before slicing and serving. For an extra decadent treat, top with additional caramel sauce.