Dulce De Leche Brownies

by Jillian

Ultra fudgy brownies infused with brown butter, loaded with toasted walnuts, and swirled with thick pockets of dulce de leche!

A few weeks ago, I was scrolling through Instagram when I came across a fellow foodie’s post about brown butter brownies. Immediately, I was intrigued by the idea! I mean, come on…brown butter combined with brownies?! Why have I not thought of this before???

Right then and there, I knew I had to make my own rendition of brown butter brownies. But with a little twist…

A Latin twist, that is! Not only are these brownies infused with the rich, nutty flavor of brown butter, but they’re also swirled with luscious pockets of creamy dulce de leche and brimming with toasted walnuts. It’s a brownie enthusiast’s dream come true!

If you’re new to the brown butter game, allow me to delve into its amazingness… 

What is brown butter?

Brown butter is made by cooking butter slightly past its melting point, which is just long enough to toast the milk solids. During this process, much of the water evaporates from the butter, creating those flavorful caramelized bits that settle at the bottom of the pan. Brown butter imparts an incredible toasted, nutty caramel flavor to any recipe, which is why I’ve been absolutely obsessed since I first tried it.

How do you make brown butter?

Browning butter might sound intimidating, but it’s actually really simple. Just start by melting the butter in a medium light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Using a light-colored pan allows you to see the color of the butter better as it browns. Once the butter is melted, continue to cook it, stirring constantly. The butter should begin to foam and sizzle. After about 5-8 minutes of cooking, the butter will turn golden brown and you’ll see tiny amber flecks on the bottom of the pan. The aroma is intensely nutty and rich.

Beware of burnt butter!

Once the butter has browned, it’s important to transfer it to another bowl immediately to stop the cooking process. If left in the hot pan, the butter will continue to cook, and you’ll end up with bitter burnt butter. 

Why are these brownies so gosh darn delicious?

Brown Butter: Obviously!! Brown butter imparts a depth of flavor that you just can’t get with regular butter. It has a richer, nuttier, and almost toffee-like flavor. The flavor is more subtle in these brownies since the chocolate has a stronger flavor, HOWEVER, the brown butter helps to deepen the chocolatey richness.

Espresso Powder: Along with brown butter, espresso powder also helps to enhance the flavor of chocolate. For this recipe, you only need a 1/2 teaspoon, and you won’t taste any coffee, I promise!!

Ultra fudgy brownies infused with brown butter, loaded with toasted walnuts, and swirled with thick pockets of dulce de leche!

Cocoa Powder AND Semi-Sweet Chocolate: I prefer to use a combination of cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate in my brownie recipes. Cocoa powder has a higher amount of cocoa solids, but it’s very starchy, which can result in dry brownies if used alone. Adding semi-sweet chocolate (chips or chopped) incorporates the fat that’s lacking in the cocoa powder, thus creating perfectly moist brownies.

Dulce De Leche: There is definitely no shortage of dulce de leche in these brownies. With an entire can of this luscious Latin American caramel swirled throughout, every single bite is brimming with dulce de leche. Feel free to use only half or maybe 3/4 of the can, if you prefer a brownie that’s not quite as rich. You can usually find dulce de leche next to the sweetened condensed milk in the baking section. You might also find it in the international aisle.

Ultra fudgy brownies infused with brown butter, loaded with toasted walnuts, and swirled with thick pockets of dulce de leche!

Toasted Walnuts: Walnuts are pretty much a must in brownies. They just offer the perfect crunch and flavor that you can’t get with peanuts or even pecans. It’s also imperative to note that walnuts must be toasted in order to realize their full potential. Having that extra time in the oven not only enhances the walnut’s flavor, but it also makes them extra crisp and crunchy.  

It’s important to note that these brownies need to cool off COMPLETELY before you even think about slicing into them. This cooling off period allows them to firm up and finish baking from the residual heat. I recommend giving them at least 2 hours to cool. You could also stick them in the refrigerator after they’ve cooled at room temperature for one our, which will speed up the cooling process and make them easier to cut.

Ultra fudgy brownies infused with brown butter, loaded with toasted walnuts, and swirled with thick pockets of dulce de leche!

These Dulce De Leche Brownies were a hit in my household. And why wouldn’t they be?? They’re extra fudgey, brimming with decadent pockets of dulce de leche, and loaded with crunchy walnuts. They take divine to a whole new level…

Dulce De Leche Brownies

Ultra fudgy brownies infused with brown butter, loaded with toasted walnuts, and swirled with thick pockets of dulce de leche!
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16 Pieces

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped or chips
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • ¾ cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1 (13.4 oz) can Dulce De Leche

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. As the butter melts, it’ll start to foam, then turn a clear golden color. Continue to stir the butter, scraping up any browned specks from the bottom of the pan as it starts to brown. It should have a nutty aroma.
  • Once browned and nutty, turn off the heat. Working relatively quickly so the butter doesn't continue browning from the residual heat in the pan, whisk in chopped chocolate until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • Add both sugars to the butter mixture and whisk vigorously until combined. Allow to cool until just barely warm.
  • Add the eggs, yolk, and vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
  • Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour, cocoa powder, salt and espresso powder until just combined. Stir in the walnuts.
  • Pour half of the batter into the baking pan. Dollop half of the dulce de leche evenly on top, then swirl with a knife. Pour the rest of the batter on top, followed by dollops of the rest of the dulce de leche, and swirl once again with a knife.*
  • Bake for about 37-42 minutes, or until brownies look set, and there's no jiggle in the center when you gently wiggle the pan. Allow to cool in the pan for at least 2 hours** before slicing and serving.

Notes

*Try not to go overboard with the swirling since you still want those nice big pockets of caramel!
**To speed up cooling process, brownies can be placed in the refrigerator after they've cooled for an hour for room temperature.
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