Brownies: Part Two or The Ones That Got Me Fired

There is a dark side to brownies. And I don’t just mean chocolate. The brownies for today are as rich and decadent as they are dream killing…no not really. My first job in the “back of the house” that is, in a restaurant kitchen, was as a pastry grunt at a high-end place in an up-scale town just north of San Jose.

I think the reason they moved me from the serving floor to the kitchen was because the executive chef didn’t like the pastry chef and wanted her out–so giving her an untrained (but earnest and eager to learn/please) waitress as an assistant was kind of an insult. But I managed to outlive her (oh that month and change where I held down the pastry fort with the sous chef, oi!) and cling to my position by hook and crook until. Until. The concept expanded. Not only did they need a full-time pastry chef but they needed a morning breakfast pastry baker and several grunts. Grunts who were more experienced than I. But it’s hard to fire someone who works off the clock and tries. So. Hard. Plus, the hassle of unemployment and yadda yadda…so much better to make her quit, yes?

Enter the brownies.

The brownies were developed by the head baker at the City location. He had perfected all the house-made bread recipes and developed the baked items to go into the lunch-counter concept. The brownies were killer. Nothing but melted chocolate, butter, eggs, heavy cream and caramel. And I had always cut a 1/2 sheet pan into 24 squares. About 2″x3″ squares. HUGE. But it’s what I was told to do. Until the new concept floundered and the hammer came down from the owner to the executive chef, down to the pastry chef and down to me. About the size of the brownies. In the words of social media: I was doing it wrong.

Oh well. A week after the thorough tongue lashing I also got the news that, starting the next week, my schedule would be completely different and my pay cut almost in half. I quit the next day. And thus ended my glamorous restaurant career. I blame the brownies.

So. I like to give the “secret recipe” away, ala the Neiman-Marcus Cookie. It’s a truly rich brownie. As far from my humble brownie making beginnings as one could get. I made these suckers three times a week for months. The recipe is a part of me; making them is an act of muscle memory. You will love them. And please, do share the recipe with a friend. ;)

Chocolate Caramel Brownies


  • 1# 12 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 9 oz unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 cups suagr
  • 6 whole eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups AP Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 12 oz bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips (divided)
  • 3/4 cup caramel sauce*

Cooking Directions

  1. Spray a half sheet sized baking pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper. Preheat over to 350°.
  2. Combine 1#12oz chocolate, butter and cream and melt over a double boiler.
  3. Meanwhile, combine sugar and eggs, whisk. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda and baking powder.
  4. When chocolate has melted, whisk into egg mixture.
  5. Stir in flour mixture.
  6. Fold in half of the reserved chocolate chunks.
  7. Pour into prepared baking pan.
  8. Drizzle caramel over brownies and top with remaining chocolate chunks.
  9. Bake in a 350° oven until just set, about 20 minutes.
  10. *If making own sauce, do so before starting brownies, allow to cool while putting together the brownie batter.

Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce with Raspberry Jam


  • 1 1/4 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry jam

Cooking Directions

  1. Whisk brown sugar and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. Whisk in cream and stir until sugar dissolves and sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and whisk in raspberry jam.
  3. Let cool before drizzling over the brownies.

**Note** This is an industrial-sized batch. Really intended for commercial sized 1/2 sheet pan. And a mob of people to eat them. If that suits your needs, make the big batch. If you have more normal baking sheets, halve the recipe and bake in a well greased 9×13 pan.

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6 Responses to Brownies: Part Two or The Ones That Got Me Fired

  1. Rachel says:

    I was just thinking not 30 minutes ago that I needed to plan my next ‘treat.’ (I told myself that I needed to wait until we finished last weekend’s cookies though) I thought ‘brownies, and then after that maybe fudge.’ How lucky of me to find an awesome brownie recipe! We’ll see if I can make them properly…

  2. laura says:

    you are evil and I love you!

  3. kathy says:

    I made these brownies the third time in 2 weeks. It’s that good! Good thing there are lots of people to share it with. It’s rich and delicious!

  4. Amy K. says:

    sounds rich and delicious! will have to make soon! thanks for spreading the good word!

  5. Lisa Tognola says:

    Yum, Valerie–Looks awesome!

  6. richett elmhorst says:

    I am super stumped what is 1# 12oz mean?

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