Guess what I found while digging through stuff from my college days.
… Juuust kidding. This is not a random act of madness and mystery pantry finds–I put ramen in brownies on purpose. It was all very deliberate, actually; I even briefly considered what kind to get. Though it clearly doesn’t matter here, I went with chicken just in case I find a use for the seasoning packet (such as… Giving myself a mild stroke for whatever reason).
See, I got all sorts of inspired by this Raspberry Ramen Rocky Road a while back. I have occasionally eaten dry ramen as a snack, but it’s also a genius way to add crunch and visual interest to desserts if you don’t want to or can’t use nuts (hey allergies) or seeds (allergies, again? Wow, I’m sorry).
Also, if you do have mysterious packets of ramen in your pantry, I wouldn’t judge you if this is how they met their fate. Truth be told, if they’ve been hanging around a while, they kind of deserve this treatment. They’ve been here for you. All along.
Flavor-wise, of course, ramen doesn’t add a whole lot; there’s a reason MSG is the yin to its yang. But here’s a shining example of teamwork in action: this is why we bring in chocolate, caramel, and a hefty splash of whiskey.
This brownie batter is probably the closest I have to a go-to. It makes dense, moist, and fudgy brownies. All decadence and depth! We don’t have time for anything less. Honestly.
… See? As soon as I grow a third arm, I’m making a brownie batter pour gif.
As for the caramel sauce, it’s adapted from this one, and it’s exactly the perfect consistency for a brownie drizzle. Not too runny, and not rock-hard, even straight from the fridge… Which is my favorite way to eat these, at least until I find a way to eat them in the Hamptons with Ina Garten as we gently poke fun at Jeffrey and pour ourselves a fourth glass of sangria. (Dreams, babes. We all need them.)
The above photo is supposed to tell you that it’s cool if, during the process of caramel sauce-making, you find yourself with a big, hard lump of caramelized sugar. Just keep stirring, champ! It’ll all be okay. More than okay, actually.
See? Sugar melts, and all is right in the world again.
If you suspect that the ramen gets soggy at any point, to be honest, I’m not sure if you’re right. These didn’t last long enough to find out–though they did make it a good while (at least a day), and didn’t seem to be heading in the soft direction at all.
However, they did head in a downward direction here. Literally downward.
When your models topple over, the photo shoot is done. It’s a dramatic move, but hey. If I were that rich, that dense, that eccentric… I’d behave in exactly the same manner.
Now, let’s talk about what we’re putting ramen in next. You know this train has to have more than one stop! Ideas?
- 8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 stick (4 ounces) butter
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 package ramen noodles, broken in pieces
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons whiskey of choice (Jameson used here)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9x9 baking pan by lining with parchment paper. Leave an overhang at each end to make brownies easier to remove.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler set over simmering water, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Set aside to cool a bit.
- In small bowl, whisk flour and salt to combine.
- In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture is pale and thick and when beaters are lifted out of the mixture, it falls in smooth ribbons. (See photo above.) This'll take about 3-5 minutes.
- Beat in vanilla, then the chocolate mixture until well blended.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture until well incorporated and smooth. Pour batter into your prepared pan and smooth out the surface, pushing batter into the corners with a spatula.
- Scatter the ramen pieces over the surface and gently press into the batter a little.
- Bake until puffed a little, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
- In a medium saucepan, cook the sugar over low heat until melted and browned. Stir it occasionally, but not too much.
- When the sugar is completely melted, remove pan from heat and add half the cream. It will bubble up a lot, so be careful. Stir to incorporate the cream and sugar, then add the remaining cream. Try to make it as smooth as possible, but if you have a big lump of hard caramel, that's ok.
- Return saucepan to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches measures 230 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer.
- Add the butter, salt, and whiskey. Stir mixture well, until completely smooth.
- Strain the sauce through a mesh sieve to catch any crystallized bits of sugar.
- Let the caramel sauce cool until it's still pourable but firm enough not to run too much. Drizzle over the brownies (I had extra, but you can certainly use it all).
- Let the caramel harden up a bit before cutting into squares. (These are amazing chilled, actually.)