Dulce de Leche Brownies


Dulce de Leche Brownies

Most of my life I’ve preferred brownies made from a box mix to homemade brownies. Box-mix brownies have a consistently glossy, crackly top and chewy, fudgy interior while homemade brownies, mine anyway, have always come up short in the looks and taste department.  Too dry. Too dense. I’m not alone in my preference. Several years ago, Cooks Illustrated published a feature on how to achieve a homemade version of — believe it or not — brownies made from a box mix. Yes, the kind you haphazardly sling off the grocery store shelf into your cart only to discover months later when you have a hankering for brownies that you have no vegetable oil.

Walker’s school held a chili and brownie cook-off* in January (about two weeks after this guy made his debut), and Walker wanted to make brownies. In search of the best brownies in the world (taking an internet search tip from my father), I landed on a brownie recipe tested and approved by several reliable food bloggers. Amateur Gourmet not-so-subtly hailed them as “The Best Brownies of Your Life.” With the base recipe decided, I began strategizing how to make the brownies stand out. Taking a cue from David Lebovitz’ dulce de leche brownies, I merged recipes, adding swirls of decadent caramel to the batter and a scattering of sea salt on top. The result? The best brownies of my life.

Dulce de Leche Brownies

Dulce de Leche Brownies

Dulce de Leche Brownies

The brownies are incredibly dark, almost black, with a fudgy center and pockets of dulce de leche hiding in nearly ever bite. They’re addictive despite being decadently rich — I can’t explain this.  The recipe is also ridiculously easy and requires minimal clean-up.  There’s no sifting. No stand mixer. No bars of chocolate to chop. It’s a one-bowl operation. I’m a fan.

Dulce de Leche Brownies

As for the dulce de leche, you can go the easy route (which I did) and buy canned dulce de leche or you can make your own. I provide links below to two ways to make it. Choose your own delicious adventure.

*Hats off to my friend, Hannah, whose “Over the Top Brownies” won the brownie contest. If you’re going to lose in a baking showdown, you better hope it’s to someone like Hannah. She’s one of the best cooks I know. I’m glad we’re friends.

Dulce de Leche Brownies

Yield: 12-16 depending how large you cut them

Dulce de Leche Brownies


10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups dulce de leche*
Coarse sea salt

* You can find cans of dulce de leche near the sweetened condensed milk in the grocery store. If you want to make your own, I recommend David Lebovitz' recipe or Smitten Kitchen's recipe. If you go the homemade route, make sure the dulce de leche has cooled before adding to the brownie batter.


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Spray an 8x8-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Place the bowl on top of a pot of simmering water. Stir until the butter melts and the mixture turns into a paste. Remove the bowl from the pot and allow to cool for five minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at time, stirring vigorously after each addition. Stir in the flour, then beat the mixture with a wooden spoon for 40 strokes.

Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan. In spoonfuls, drop half of the dulce de leche on top of the batter. Run a knife lightly through the batter and dulce de leche in a swirling motion. Pour the rest of the batter on top, followed by spoonfuls of the remaining dulce de leche. Lighly run the knife through the batter again in a swirling motion. Sprinkle the top of the brownies with coarse sea salt.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool on a rack.  It's easiest to cut the brownies and remove them from the pan when they have completely cooled. (I have been known to throw them in the freezer for 10 minutes to speed up this process.) I've also found the brownies are best the day after baking.

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Adapted from a variety of sources including Food52, David Lebovitz and Amateur Gourmet.

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