Chocolate Caramel Lava Brownie (In the microwave!)

So there I am. It’s 9:00 at night. I’m minding my own business, working in my home office, when suddenly… it hits. It’s silent, sneaky, and conniving… The dreaded…

Chocolate Craving.

Just about every woman, and maybe even most men, can identify. It’s cruel. It’s mean. It’s unstoppable. You need chocolate, and you need it RIGHT now.

Fear no more, my chocolate loving friends: this super easy, super fast, super delicious recipe is here to save the day.

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I think probably just about everyone has heard of this whole “sweet-delicious-chocolatey-concoction-in-the-microwave” business. And I confess, I have tried it before last night, and was disappointed with the results. It was just always lacking something. Usually sweetness. It always came out bitter, or dry, or just… tasteless. So, while I believe I have conquered all of those demons with this little gem, it goes without saying that this fabulous treat is not at ALL good for you.

Finished Dish 2

I did top mine with sliced bananas. And there’s no egg in it. So that counts for something. Right? Right. We’ll go with that.

Anyway, here’s the super simple process. Yes, it does involve making caramel. I PROMISE it’s easy. I’m going to list it out in the most time-effective way, which involves starting the caramel first and then doing everything else while the caramel is cooking, but if you’re really afraid of burning your caramel, please feel free to do everything else and then devote a few minutes at the end to standing in front of your stove and staring at a saucepan of boiling sugar.

So, for you brave souls, put 2 tablespoons of sugar and one tablespoon of water in the smallest saucepan you’ve got. Stir it around to dissolve the sugar, and then put it on a high heat.

Sugar in pot

Bravely walk away from the stove and commence with the main brownie component. Take two tablespoons of butter and put it in whatever microwave safe bowl you’re planning on using for serving your brownie in.

Butter

I used a 6 inch ramekin, but any mug, bowl, or other ceramic dish with high sides will do. Melt the butter by putting it in the microwave for 30 seconds. If it doesn’t melt the butter completely, just stir it around until it’s totally liquid. To this, add 2 tablespoons of milk and a half teaspoon of (PURE) vanilla extract. A whole teaspoon if you’re really feeling adventurous. Stir that up until it’s blended together, and then add 2 tablespoons of flour, 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 1/3 cup of sugar (yes, really, that much), and a dash of salt. (A dash would be a couple of shakes of your salt shaker.)

Add dry ingredients

Carefully stir this up until everything is blended and it looks like… well, brownie batter. Try not to over mix it! Just stir until there’s no more huge dry clumps.

Batter

Restore your sanity and do a quick check on your sugar on the stove. Realistically only about a minute and a half should have passed at this point, so your sugar should be at a rolling boil but still decidedly white.

Boiling sugar

Give that a quick stir and then return to your brownie batter. Add a scant 1/4 cup of whatever chocolate chips you prefer. I used semi-sweet, but I expect milk or white (or even butterscotch or mint) would also fare well.

Get a 1/2 tablespoon of butter ready, and then check your sugar again. After about 3 minutes or so from the first moment you put it on the stove, it should be turning an amber color. Once this happens, IMMEDIATELY remove it from the heat and add your little pat of butter.

Amber sugar

Quickly stir in the butter – the liquid will foam up and then relax down into a lovely liquid caramel:

Caramel

Now, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Just be careful and work quickly, because once it’s in its caramel form, it will harden up pretty quickly unless you do something else with it. In our case, we’re pouring it right into our brownie batter and swirling it in.

Batter with caramel

Do yourself a favor and take a second to get your saucepan and spoon soaking in hot soapy water to prevent the caramel from hardening and making an awful sticky mess for you to clean up later!

Put your prepared bowl of batter in the microwave on high for 1 minute and 30 seconds. When it’s done, it WILL be boiling angrily. DO NOT PANIC. This is normal. Carefully take it out of the microwave and put it on a rack to cool for 2-3 minutes, then top it with whatever you like. I used banana and whipped cream with chocolate syrup, but that was only because we didn’t have any ice cream around. I’d bet a lot of money vanilla ice cream would be PERFECT on top of this. Someone try it and let me know!

Finished Dish 3

Once you’ve topped it with your sweet of choice, dig in! It might still be pretty hot, so be careful!

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Just look at that gooey, chocolatey goodness. Makes me want to go make another one!! If you’re exceptionally hungry or just really addicted to chocolate, go ahead and keep it all to yourself. However, I really think it’s the perfect portion size for sharing. You could even mix it up in one bowl and then transfer it to two mini ramekins to microwave it.

Full Recipe:

Chocolate Caramel Lava Brownie

Yield: 1-2 servings.

Ingredients:

Caramel:

2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp water
1/2 tbsp butter

Brownie:

2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar
dash salt
Scant 1/4 cup chocolate chips (any variety)

Process:

1) Dissolve 2 tbsp sugar in 1 tbsp water in small saucepan and put on high heat.

2) Combine melted butter, milk, and vanilla in a small microwave safe bowl.

3) Add flour, cocoa, sugar, and salt to butter mixture. Stir until just combined.

4) Stir in chocolate chips.

5) When sugar turns an amber color, immediately remove from heat and quickly stir in 1/2 tbsp butter to create a caramel. Pour caramel into brownie batter and swirl it in.

6) Microwave on high for 1 minute 30 seconds. Place on a rack to cool for 2-3 minutes, then top with your choice of sweets and serve!

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