Recently, I finished reading David Lebovitz’s book, The Sweet Life in Paris, which tells about his move to Paris and coming to terms with the cultural differences between his newly adopted home in Paris and San Francisco where he lived and worked. More than just a relocation, moving to Paris, or any other location really, involves some cultural shifts. David’s retelling of adapting to new ways not only triggered memories of our short-term travel to Paris, but also serves as a reminder that personal growth can sometimes be uncomfortable. And funny.
David included some outstanding favorite recipes in his book. This one, Dulce de Leche Brownies, was one of the last shared and it was, in my opinion, a winning way to close out this narrative.
I’ve left the weight measurements in the recipe as those produce a more consistent result.
- 8 tablespoons (115g) salted or unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup (25g) unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (140g) flour
- optional: 1 cup (100g) toasted pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup (260g) Dulce de leche (David Lebovitz share’s his own recipe (linked), but I wimped out here and used a commercial version that I had in the pantry)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF degrees (175 C.)
- Line an 8-inch (20 cm) square pan with a long sheet of aluminum foil that covers the bottom and reaches up the sides. If it doesn’t reach all the way up and over all four sides, cross another sheet of foil over it, making a large cross with edges that overhang the sides. Grease the bottom and sides of the foil with some softened butter or non-stick spray.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the chocolate and stir constantly over very low heat until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sugar, vanilla, then the flour. Mix in the nuts, if using.
- Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan. Drop one-third of the dulce de leche by scant tablespoons evenly spaced over the brownie batter. Either drag a butter knife through the dulce de leche mounds to swirl them very slightly, being careful not to overdo it, or leave the mounds as they are. Spread the remaining brownie batter over, then drop spoonfuls of the remaining dulce de Leche in dollops over the top of the brownie batter. Use a knife to swirl the dulce de Leche slightly.
- Bake until the center feels just-slightly firm, but still jiggly, about 30 minutes, but check them at the 25-minute mark as different chocolates behave differently and with these brownies, as with most brownies, you want to catch them before they become overbaked. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Once cool, lift the brownies out of the pan by grabbing the edges of the foil to remove them from the pan.