Monday, 27 February 2012

Salute to caramel

On Saturday we had a flat warming at our new place. We decided that instead of making dinner for everyone (because we didn't know many people were coming) we asked everyone to bring some takeaways to share. Yes, a pot luck takeaway night. It worked out really well, we got a range of yummy things and everyone could just have as much as they wanted. 

Now because we didn't provide dinner we instead provided wine and dessert. This is my caramel salted brownie recipe that I made. Ok so it's not actually mine... It's from another lovely foodie blogger called Michele her blog is

You start by making a salted caramel sauce which is then spooned over the brownie mixture before baking and results in this yummy crunchy and gooey topping on your brownie. The actual brownie itself is one of my more complicated brownies to make. You have to do each step in order or things can go wrong.

Salted Caramel Brownies
Yield: 16 brownies
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Bake Time: 35 to 40 minutes
5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (about half your block of chocolate)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped (About a quarter of your block, that leaves a quarter for you to eat while make them!)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into quarters (100 gms)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 eggs
1¼ cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Salted Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)
Fine sea salt
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Spray a square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter. Line the pan with baking paper.
2. In a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost-simmering water, melt the chocolates and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. (Or, melt in the microwave on 50% power for 30-second increments, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.) Whisk in the cocoa until smooth. Set aside to cool.
3. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture; then stir in the flour until just combined. Then add your pieces of broken up chocolate. Pour about half of the brownie mixture into the prepared pan and spread into the corners. Spoon 9 dollops of Salted Caramel Sauce on top of the brownie batter. Top with the remaining brownie mixture, spread into the corners and level the surface with a spatula. Again, spoon 9 dollops of the Salted Caramel Sauce on top of the brownie batter. With a dull butter knife, gently run it through the batter to swirl the batter just a bit (don’t do it too much or it will all mix together). Sprinkle a bit of sea salt on top.
4. Bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours. Remove the brownies from the pan using the foil handles and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
(Brownie recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated)
Salted Caramel Sauce
Prep/Cook Time: 10 minutes
1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2/3 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
In a 3-quart (heavy bottom pot) saucepan, heat the sugar over medium-high heat, whisking as the sugar begins to melt. Some of the sugar will harden into clumps, but that’s okay – it will melt eventually – just keep whisking. Continue to cook the sugar until it reaches a dark amber color. At that point, whisk in the salt, and then add the butter all at once and whisk until it is completely incorporated into the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the heavy cream (it will foam up when first added). Continue to whisk until it forms a smooth sauce.
Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before using in the brownies. The leftover sauce can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. (You’ll probably need to warm it up a bit straight from the refrigerator.)
It got me thinking about how much I love caramel, I think I love it even more than chocolate ( I know crazy!). Here are a few of my favourite caramel pictures (from Pinterest)

Caramel Mocha from Starbucks

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

M&M Cookies

I made these the other night and they make the perfect lunch box staple! (Louella this is for you!)

Start by getting out everything you need, this is good for two reasons. 1 you will have everything at your finger tips and 2 it lets you make sure you have everything before you begin!

  • 150 g of butter or you can use about a cup of margerine
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essense
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs  
  • M& M minis or regular chocolate ones as many as you like!

    Combine your dry ingredients and set aside.
    Beat the butter (room temp) and sugars together with an electric mixer until light,pale and creamy. Then beat in the eggs and vanilla. combine the dry ingredients with the sugar and egg mixture. Beat until the mixture combines and forms a soft dough.

    Add as many m&m's as you like I put in about half a packet.
    Place the dough in the fridge for about 30 mins or until chilled and firm.
    Take tablespoons of the dough and roll into balls, evenly space apart on your cookie sheet or grease proof paper.

    Bake for about 10- 12 mins. Don't over cook or they won't be chewy in the middle like subway cookies! Cool and enjoy x

    Thursday, 16 February 2012

    Homemade peanut butter cups

    Hello blog, I haven't seen you in a while and I missed you! I've been a little busy this past month GETTING MARRIED!! ah yes, I am now a married woman and am pleased to say I love it! I will do a special post on our wedding for you blog friends but first I have to share my latest delcious creation with you.

    This Valentines Day was our first as a married couple so I wanted to make something special. James really love's American candy but its really hard to find in NZ and expensive so instead of spending 5 dollars on a tiny packet of Reeses peanut butter cups I just made my own!

    I saw a recipe online a while ago and just changed it around to suit me better. I used dark chocolate instead of milk and crunchy peanut butter because I like it better. Here's my step by step guide, it takes about 10 mins from start to finish and the result is mouthwatering and amazing, I highly recommend!

    Step 1: You need to melt your chocolate. I like to do this in the microwave in short bursts, its mess free and quick!

    Step 2: Fill your little chocolate cases or muffin liners. I used mini cupcake muffin papers but you could buy special chocolate ones if you like! All you do is drop about a teaspoon of chocolate into each and use the back of the spoon to coat the case. Then refrigerate. They should look like this after about 2 mins in the fridge.
    Step 3: While your chocolate cases are setting you need to make your peanut butter filling, I used about 5 big tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter and 1/4 cup of icing sugar plus a pinch of salt (which was enough filling for 15 peanut cups). Heat all of the mixture in the microwave for about a minute and then whip it up until its creamy and combined.

    Step 4: Place about a teaspoon of the peanut filling into each little case. Then microwave the remaining chocolate until its melted again and cover each with a half a teaspoon or so of chocolate, place back into the fridge and your done!
    Peel back your cupcake case and devour!


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