Friday, July 20, 2018

Connie's Caramel-Stuffed Sea Salt Brownies




I am always on the hunt for a new and interesting brownie and recently I found it while paging through my absolutely favorite cookbook Extreme Brownies: 50 Recipes for the Most Over-the-Top Treats Ever. I have had this book for years and have made many recipes from it, some of which I have shared here before they were gobbled up but I have never made these caramel-stuffed brownies. I am not sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing because they are so good that I wanted to eat the entire pan! 





Connie's Caramel Stuffed Sea Salt Brownies
Recipe from Connie Weiss


Ingredients

Caramel Layer

1/3 cup and 1 teaspoon heavy whipping cream
tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon bleached all purpose flour
12 ounces (about 43) Kraft America's Classic Caramels
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Brownie Batter

Vegetable shortening for the pan
2 sticks unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate chips
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 packed cup light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
11/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup bleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder


Milk chocolate glaze

3/12 teaspoons canola oil
3/4 cup and 1 tablespoon milk chocolate chips

Garnish

1 to 2 teaspoons Maldon flaked Sea Salt

Directions

To make the caramel layer, place the cream and the butter in a 2 quart sauce pan, begin the melt the mixture. Then add the unwrapped caramels and add them to the saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, stir occasionally with a rubber spatula, until the caramels are completely melted and smooth. FINISH the caramel layer when the brownie base is in the oven.

To make the brownies: make sure the oven rack in in the middle level and preheat the oven to 350. Prepare a 9 x 13" baking pan with heavy duty aluminum foil and then lightly grease the foil lined pan.

Cut the butter into 1" pieces and place in a heavy saucepan. Be sure to melt the butter on the lowest setting. While the butter is melting, chop the unsweetened chocolate and add it to the melted butter along with the 60% chocolate chips. Whisk until melted and smooth, then turn off the heat and leave the saucepan on the burner while you continue with the rest of the recipe.

In a large bowl lightly whisk the eggs. Place the sugars and salt in a small bowl and then add to the eggs until just incorporated. Briefly whisk the chocolate and then gradually whisk it into the egg mixture until just combined. Briefly whisk in the vanilla.

Place the flour and the baking powder in the small mixing bowl, whisk to combine. Sift through a strainer directly over the chocolate batter. Stir in with a spatula until just combined. Pour half of the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Spread evenly with a small offset spatula, bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While the base is baking make the rest of the caramel.

Once the caramels are completely melted and smooth, sift the flour over the top and stir well. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Stir well.

Pour the cooked caramel over the HOT brownie base immediately after it comes out of the oven, spread with a spatula. Dollop the remaining brownie batter over the top and carefully spread over the caramel mixture. Return to the oven and bake an additional 20 minutes.

Let cool for 15 minutes then glaze. 

For the milk chocolate glaze:

Bring a medium saucepan of water almost to a boil. Combine the chocolate and canola oil in a bowl that will fit over the saucepan to form a double boiler. Once water comes to a boil remove from the heat and place the bowl over the top. Stir with a spatula until the mixture is smooth, once smooth pour over the brownies, smooth in an even layer. Then sprinkle with sea salt. Let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature. Then refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Remove brownies from pan, cut and enjoy.






If you love baking, and you love brownies you need to get a copy of this book and the good news is that it is on sale for $15.00 or was at the time I was writing this post! You can also order the Kindle edition here for $8.99!

If you get yourself a copy and you make something please come back and share your recipe!








Monday, July 16, 2018

Fine & Raw Chocolate Bars




Good morning! I hope that you had a wonderful weekend! Mine was so relaxing that I do not want to go back to work this week. 

This weekend I was lucky enough to try a a few, new to me, candy bars from Fine & Raw and they were so delicious I thought I would tell you about them just in case you wanted to try a few for yourself.

Fine & Raw was started by Daniel Sklaar who came to the US from South Africa for a job in finance. After a couple of years working as an analyst Daniel decided that finance was not for him so he left his job to search for his passion. Lucky for us he discovered his passion was chocolate and he began creating raw chocolate bars in 2007. For those of you who do not know raw food can only be cooked to a certain temperature, and the belief is that it retains more of its nutrients, in the case these chocolate bars 118 degrees.

All Fine & Raw chocolates are bean to bar, meaning that Daniel and his crew start with the raw beans instead of making their bars from ready made chocolate and melting it. 

I was sent a few bars to sample, including Almond Chunky, Sea Salt, and Cashew Butter and they were all delicious but my favorite was the Alderwood Smoked Salt. I love the slightly smokey salty flavor, paired with the rich 70% dark chocolate.

You can find Fine & Raw at Whole Foods or you can order directly from their website.


NOTE: This is not a sponsored post, I was sent several bars to sample in exchange for my honest opinion. 



Friday, June 8, 2018

Zingerman's Bakehouse Black Magic Brownies


This post contains affiliate links. 





While I was born in Michigan and lived there for many years I have not been to the world famous Zingerman's Bakehouse or the Deli in Ann Arbor. When I had the chance to review a copy of their new Zingerman's Bakehouse cookbook I couldn't wait to try a few of their recipes. 

The Zingerman's Bakehouse cookbook shares 25 years of the their best bread and pastry recipes with home cooks and bakers. There are 65 recipes for bagels, Detroit style pizza, French Crueller donuts, Rhubarb pie, brownies and more. Because I love brownies that was the first recipe that caught my eye.






The bakehouse actually makes three different brownies, the Black Magic which are plain brownies, Magic brownies with walnuts and Buenos Aires brownies with dulce de leche in the middle. I made both the Black Magic and the Magic brownies and they were both fabulous. I typically do not like walnuts in my brownies but the addition of them is this brownie was delicious. The brownies are not cakey and they are not fudgy, they fall in between and are incredibly chewy. 

This cookbook is a wonderful book for both fans of Zingerman's and those who have yet to visit. I am looking forward to making more of their recipes. 






If you would like to make the Black Magic or Magic Brownies here is the recipe.


Black Magic Brownies

1 cup plus 1 Tbsp chopped unsweetened  chocolate
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp softened unsalted butter
11/2 cups pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
23/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract

For Magic Brownies:
11/4 cup toasted walnuts


Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare a 9 x 13" baking pan with baking  spray . I like to line my pan with foil and then spray it so that I can easily lift the brownies out.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, and baking powder. Mix with a whisk to eliminate the lumps.

In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer combine the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat with a whisk until well aerated, about 5 minutes. Add the melted chocolate and whisk to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients using a rubber spatula. If you are making with the walnuts stir in the toasted walnuts at this point.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spread the batter evenly. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool on a cooling rack for at least an hour. Cut into squares. Enjoy


Note: I was given a copy of the book in exchange for my opinion.


Linking to:

Savvy Southern Style



Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day



To all the moms out there and most especially my mom, I hope that today you are surrounded by your children and perhaps grandchildren, enjoying a wonderful day and maybe even something chocolate. 

I love you mom!

Happy Mother's Day!



Sunday, April 29, 2018

Double Chocolate Banana Bread from Smitten Kitchen





I am a huge fan of Deb from Smitten Kitchen and love to make her recipes because they always turn out and taste fabulous. This chocolate banana bread is perfect, it is easy, chocolaty, fudgy and delicious. 





Double Chocolate Banana Bread
Recipe from: Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:

3 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup  butter, melted

3/4 cup brown sugar 

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or paste

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder

1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips

Directions:


Pre-heat your oven to 350F. Prepare a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with butter or spray it with baking spray. I line mine with parchment paper as well to make it easier to remove. 
Mash bananas in the bottom of a large bowl. Then whisk in melted butter, add the brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Place baking soda, salt, flour and cocoa powder in a sifter and sift over wet ingredients.  Stir dry and wet ingredients with a spoon until just combined do not over mix as you do not want to bread to be dry.  Stir in chocolate chunks or chips.
Pour mixture in to prepared pan. Then bake for 55-65 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick or skewer, should come out clean and may have a smear of the chocolate chips. Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack. Let cool for in pan for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and serve warm or cool completely. 

You can find Debs great recipes on her blog or in her cookbooks


Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Best Basic Chocolate Chip Cookie







I am always searching for the BEST tasting chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, brownies and chocolate chip cookies. This week while perusing Pinterest I came across  a new recipe for the "best" basic chocolate chip cookie and frankly in my mind it is the best cookie I have made in the last few years. These cookies are easy, chocolaty, crispy and delicious. They have a crispy outside which I love and pockets of chocolate throughout from chipping the chocolate and soft gooey insides.







The BEST, Basic Chocolate Chip Cookie

1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter, chopped
31/4 cups (415 g) all-purpose flour
11/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
11/2 teaspoons medium-grain kosher salt
11/2 cups (320 g) packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces (340 g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling (optional) 

Preheat an oven to 360°F (180°C). Line 2 heavy baking sheets or sheet pans with parchment paper.
In a medium saucepan over the lowest heat possible, melt the butter, without boiling, so minimal moisture is lost. Stir regularly, until the butter is almost completely melted. 
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt. Set aside.
Pour the melted butter into a large bowl and whisk in the sugars. The mixture may look like it will seize, but it will relax with a few seconds of stirring. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking briskly after each addition, but only to combine. Stir in the vanilla. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir in the dry ingredients. Once mostly blended, fold the chocolate into the dough until the remaining flour is incorporated, and the dough no longer looks dusty. Do not overmix.
If the dough seems warm or looks overly glossy, refrigerate for 5 minutes. Then roll into balls using 3 tablespoons of dough for each. Arrange on the prepared pans, leaving 3 inches in between each cookie. Sprinkle with sea salt if you like. Bake until the tops are cracked and lightly golden, yet the cookies are still soft at the center, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking. Leave the cookies on the sheet pan for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. The cookies can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
To make ahead, shape the dough in scoops or logs, wrap tightly, then seal in bags, and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Frozen scoops can be baked without defrosting, while logs should be held in the fridge until soft enough to slice. Reduce the oven temperature to 330°F (165°C) and increase the baking time as needed.