Caramel Brownies

Brownies.

I love brownies.

I’m not much of a sweet tooth person, but I am a total sucker for a good brownie. Tell me I can make brownies  in a small batch and you’ve won me completely.

Most of my brownie recipes call for an 8×8 pan, so to me these aren’t really small batch, but still totally worth it.

I am totally addicted to Dessert for Two … not just desserts, but dinners for two as well. With just the Dear One and I at home these days, I always have a hard time cooking for just two people. Christina is the solution for everything … desserts, mains, drinks, cookies! It’s all there!

We invited our dear friend Dave for dinner and while dessert isn’t usually on the menu, one of the dear daughters brought chocolates, lots of chocolates to the house. One of the selections was Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Caramel squares. The stars aligned. Tonight we needed dessert and this had to be the one.

  • 10 T unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 1/4 C granulated sugar
  • 3/4 C + 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t espresso powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 9 caramel-filled chocolates

NOTE: I used Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate & Salted Caramel squares.

Preheat the oven to 325, and make sure an oven rack is in the lower third of the oven.

Line a 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper in two directions, overlapping. Leave enough excess to make handles so it’s easier to pull the brownies out once they’re baked.

NOTE: My parchment paper is really wide, so I just used one piece and tucked it in. I always find it hard to keep the paper in place and those large metal clips do the trick.

Next, in a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar and cocoa powder.

Microwave for 30 seconds, stop and stir, and microwave for another 30 seconds. The mixture will be quite hot.

NOTE: So we don’t have a microwave. I know. I know. I’ve been living int he woods for far too long. But when someone who will remain nameless put something with metal in the microwave, she did us a favor. We really only use it to start potatoes and melt butter. Why take up all the cabinet or counter space? I did this on the stove top and it was fine.

Let the mixture rest on the counter for a few minutes to cool, stirring occasionally.

When the mixture feels warm, not hot, stir in the vanilla, espresso powder and salt. Finally, stir in the eggs.

Add the flour to the batter, and using a spatula, vigorously stir the mixture for 50 strokes. This activates the gluten and makes for a rich, chewy brownies.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan evenly.

Bake for 23-26 minutes, until the top is dry.

Unwrap the squares while the brownies are still hot, and press into the top of the brownies evenly. Slice and serve.

PLT #FantasticalFoodFight

While tip-toeing through the internet, I came across Fantastical Food Fight. And, while I’m REALLY bad at timed anything, this really intrigued me. A dish is picked, make your own version, compare. I liked that.

And April’s theme … the BLT! Not that I think there’s anything you can do to a BLT to improve it. Bacon, mayonnaise, bacon, lettuce, bacon, tomatoes, bacon, bread. But perhaps, just perhaps, there is another way to have a BLT.

Crispy pancetta, arugula and sun-dried tomatoes, some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, all tucked inside a ciabatta roll. Well, that works for me.

The arugula is from our garden. The sun-dried tomatoes too – the last jar from last summer.

You may find this shocking, but there really isn’t a recipe for this.

  • Ciabatta roll or loaf
  • Thinly sliced pancetta or prosciutto
  • Arugula
  • Sun-dried tomatoes

Heat oven to 425.

On a baking sheet, make a single layer of the pancetta or prosciutto. Should take about 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Pile everything onto the ciabatta.

Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. (I suggest a balsamic glaze or reduction)

DIG IN!



Pistachio Lemon Bars #SundaySupper

 

This week’s Sunday Supper is brought by Anne from Simple and Savory. The theme is Easy Spring Recipes. There are so many spring vegetables that I would love to write about, but this is Maine. Spring doesn’t hit until June and we’re pretty lacking in local produce at the moment. I haven’t even begun to think about the garden yet! I am dreaming about it … but in the meantime …

There’s a little happy dance being done here – a very tentative happy dance, mind you. This is, after all, Maine. The snow has started to melt (hard to believe 2 1/2 weeks ago there was 4 FEET of snow out there), seems as though the grip of winter has started to ease. I realize, that merely typing these words can bring upon us another snowmageddon, but we’re hopeful.

We have a short growing season here, so vegetables that take a longer time to mature grow in our greenhouse, all else in the garden. I CAN NOT WAIT!

I’m not quite sure why lemons and pistachios remind me of spring, but they do. Perhaps it’s my Greek roots. Perhaps it was my Papoo’s love of pistachios and sneaking handfuls out of his night stand drawer – though, those were the red dyed ones. Not easy to be sneaky when your fingers and lips and tongue are dyed bright red!. Perhaps it was his idea that lemons were good for everything – softening your hands, flavoring things, making you feel better, taking away unpleasant smells.

So, Papoo, this one’s for you …

THE CRUST:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup shelled unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped

THE FILLING:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  •  cup shelled unsalted pistachios
  •  Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper (if using foil, lightly butter it). Place flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add butter and process until well combined. Stir in chopped pistachios. Firmly press mixture into the bottom of the lined pan using the flat bottom of a glass or measuring cup (if it sticks, place a piece of parchment paper on the dough before pressing).

Bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the filling ingredients. When the crust is baked, pour the filling into the pan and bake until set, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and cut into 2-inch squares.

Breakfast

Cakes, Pies, and Sweets

Cookies and Bars

Main Courses

Pastas

Seafood

Veggies and Sides

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.