The best way to eat dulce de leche might be straight out of the jar, but even that can get a bit boring after a while and it’s nice to take advantage of some of the other options you have with a big, open jar of the milky caramel. You can pair it with fruit, pour it on ice cream or swirl it into a big batch of brownies.
These dulce de leche brownies are very easy to make, given that the only variation between them and standard brownies is the swirl. That swirl, however, adds just enough extra “oomphf” to take these brownies from good to great. The brownies are fudgy and rich, without being too dense or heavy. The caramel adds a little extra moistness, a little extra fudginess to the areas touched by the swirl. The sweetness of the caramel also stands out against the chocolate background, and although I can’t say that you would definitely be able to identify dulce de leche in a blind taste test, you would definitely detect some of its caramel notes.
I like the swirl because it is an easy way to incorporate the dulce de leche into the brownie batter. Some of it sinks slightly during baking, so there is no need to do any more mixing than simply running a knife through the mixture. You could add a little bit more dulce de leche if you want to emphasize its flavor a little more (or have a big sweet tooth), but if you really want to do that I’d suggest making an ice cream sundae with dulce de leche brownies, vanilla ice cream and dulce de leche sauce, as the brownies might be a little bit too fudgy if you are overgenerous with the amount of caramel in the swirl.
Dulce de Leche Brownies
1/2 cup butter, softened
2-oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup dulce de leche
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir with a fork until very smooth. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Whisking steadily, pour chocolate mixture into sugar mixture. Stir until smooth. Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt into the bowl and stir until just combined.
Pour brownie batter into prepared pan and top with dollops of dulce de leche. Using a butter knife, gently swirl the dulce de leche into the brownie batter.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until brownies set and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the pan comes out with only a few moist crumbs, not batter, attached.
Cool in the pan completely before slicing and serving, either at room temperature or chilled.
Brownies can be refrigerated, covered, for several days.
Makes 20 brownies (16 large or 25 small brownies).