To celebrate my son’s graduation from Millbrook High School, my parents and I started the weekend with lunch at 18 Seaboard. Everything was wonderful, and no one requested dessert. However, the chef sent over four small bites of a rich, dense brownie topped with a thick layer of a nut-studded caramel. It was a perfect bite to end the meal. If you could find this recipe, my mom and I would be most grateful.
18 Seaboard’s pastry chef Billy Apperson was happy to share the recipe for the Honey Walnut Caramel Brownies, which are not on the menu.
18 Seaboard’s chef-owner Jason Smith explained in an email that the brownies are a special item that they send out as a small taste to diners if they are celebrating a special occasion.
“They are very popular and we have had many requests for the recipe,” Smith explained.
18 Seaboard is Smith’s flagship restaurant. He also owns Cantina 18 at Cameron Village, which is closed for renovation but will reopen this fall, as well as Harvest 18 in Durham.
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18 Seaboard Ave. #100, Raleigh
Honey Walnut Caramel Brownie
Our recipe tester adapted this recipe to work in a 9-by-13-inch pan, which most home cooks own. The original recipe from pastry chef Billy Apperson of 18 Seaboard in Raleigh called for baking the brownies in a half sheet pan until they are done and doubling the amount of honey walnut caramel. This is a very rich treat, so cut small pieces.
14 ounces (3 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 cups sugar
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup honey
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish with baking spray or butter.
Cream sugar and 2 sticks butter together in a bowl with a mixer until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and mix until fully combined. Add salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and stir. Add flour and cocoa powder and combine until fully combined.
Spread batter evenly in baking dish and bake for 25-28 minutes or until firm in the center. Set aside to cool.
Melt 1 1/2 sticks butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add honey, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir constantly so sugar does not burn. Bring to 220 degrees on candy thermometer and add heavy cream. Stir to combine. Bring to 235 degrees or “softball” stage on the candy thermometer. Add walnuts. Stir to fully coat nuts.
Pour honey walnut caramel over brownies and chill until firm.
Yield: 36 servings.