Have you ever made something following a recipe that just didn’t turn out at all like the picture? Ok, maybe I should rephrase the question – is there anyone out there who this hasn’t happened to? I have to admit, I choose my recipes very carefully, and for the most part, I get lucky. Before I had this blog, I actually didn’t care as much what my creations looked like – as long as they tasted good. All of a sudden appearance has become extremely important. The last thing I want to do is spend hours making something that tastes incredible, but takes a horrible picture – then I am left convincing you that you HAVE to make it – even though it looks horrendous. I actually recall doing that a couple of times, and I swear, it is not easy. Beautiful pictures take us in, in fact you can almost taste the food with your eyes. There are times though when the picture just does not do the food justice. Such a sad statement.
Back to the brownies – now, I have never really made a bad batch of brownies – until Thanksgiving week. I made the worst brownies ever – they were caramel brownies, and you would think, how could they be bad? Well, they were – even my family agreed these were not worth eating. I swear it was the first batch of brownies I ever had to just give to the compost bin – and I do not waste food, but I just could not waste the calories on these crumbly brown squares. Soon afterwards, I found this recipe in Cooking Light – another batch of Caramel Brownies. I figured there was no way this could happen again. As I was making these brownies though, I knew something was just not right. The topping was a little runny, and did not cover the brownies well. I decided all was not lost though, since there was another layer of chocolate to drizzle on top. The problem was that the chocolate was just too runny – so as I tried to drizzle it on top, it basically just ran all over the caramel, and looked horrible. There was only one last thing to try, and that was to spread the chocolate and cover the caramel completely. The chocolate didn’t cover the caramel though as well as I hoped, but at that point I didn’t care. I took a bite, and they were so delicious. Much moister and chewier than the other caramel brownies, and the layer of dark chocolate on top was just the perfect balance with the sweet caramel. So – even though these look nothing like the picture in the magazine, they tasted great – and none of them got close to the compost bin, thank goodness!
- 3 19/50 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cooking spray
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 1/2 tablespoons evaporated fat-free milk, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare brownies, weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through baking powder) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Combine 6 tablespoons butter, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add butter mixture to flour mixture; stir to combine. Scrape batter into a 9-inch square metal baking pan lightly coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 19 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
To prepare topping, melt 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons milk; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and powdered sugar; stir with a whisk until smooth. Spread mixture evenly over cooled brownies. Let stand 20 minutes or until set.
Combine 2 tablespoons milk and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH for 45 seconds or until melted, stirring after 20 seconds. Stir just until smooth; drizzle over caramel. Sprinkle with sea salt; let stand until set. Cut into squares.
For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Caramel Brownies