Salted caramel brownies - They're not lighter and they're not local. That's kind of a lie. It's a recipe from Cooking Light, so some of the fat has been stripped of these decadent bars. They're local because they were made from scratch, in my kitchen.
But let's be honest, shall we?
Even though they don't fit the title of this blog, would you blame me for sharing them? Would you stop reading this blog, angry that they don't quite fit the mold?
I doubt it. If so, I am sorry to offend you with these very lovely brownies.
I started this blog years ago. It had a different name, with a different purpose. I simply wanted to share my recipes and my writing with friends and family. I then used it to log a weight loss battle. Finally, in the end, I fell in love with sourcing local and regional food and this little slice of web heaven was born.
Times, they do change, right?
It's very easy to get caught up in the "food blog hamster wheel". You churn out posts, you tweet, you Facebook, you suddenly worry about how many people are coming to your site. You ponder if the food blogging community at-large likes you, are you part of the club? You start thinking about quantity, and not quality.
You forget it's about having a voice, starting a conversation, sharing something you love. You forget it's about community.
It's the community that surrounded fellow blogger, Jennie Perillo, after her husband suddenly passed away. It's a community that came together to help someone, that many have never met, but someone whose story and experience touched at our very hearts. More about the work to help out Jennie's family in just a moment.
If you've gotten this far, great job, I appreciate it. The point of this little speech from my soapbox is that I've been fairly silent the last couple of weeks. I've had a schedule change at work, an increase of responsibilities, and I've been trying to balance that with my family life. In short, I haven't had a lot of time to blog. In the beginning, I felt guilty I wasn't feeding the beast. What would people think?
Then, it changed. I cared less about the guilt, and realize how much I miss the community, how much I miss sharing with those who read this blog (and I thank every single one of you). I missed it being my outlet from my stressful day job.
The break from the blog reminded me why I love it so much. I think it's an excellent lesson for bloggers to learn. Sometimes you have to let go, let the guilt subside, remind yourself why you do this. I can say this because this isn't my full time job, I understand it's much different for those who use this as a way to make a living.
For the rest of us, however, sometimes I truly believe we could all use the permission to cut ourselves a little slack. Even if you don't blog, cut yourself some slack. So what if you missed a playgroup/email/sewing class. So if you need someone to say it, I will. Give yourself a break. You might find yourself much better when you return.
Salted Caramel Brownies
Source: Cooking Light
Yield: 16 small brownies, 12 larger ones (CL says the yield is 20, but frankly, that's too small of a brownie for me.)
I actually doubled this recipe for a 9x13 baking pan and it worked out perfectly. They were a little thicker, but honestly, I like it better that way. Be careful, these things are addicting.
- 3.38 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon backing 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 degrees
- Start preparing your brownies. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, brown sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until well mixed.
- Combine your 6 tablespoons of melted butter, eggs, and the vanilla extract.
- Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture and stir until well combined.
- Pour batter into a 9x9 square metal baking pan lightly coated in cooking spray.
- Bake brownies for 19 minutes or until a toothpick comes out from the center cleanly.
- Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
- Once brownies are cooled, begin making your topping. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the evaporated milk. Cook the mixture for at least two minutes.
- Take the mixture off the heat, add you vanilla, powdered sugar, and stir with a whisk until everything comes together and becomes smooth.
- You're now going to pour the mixture over the brownies, and then use an offset spatula or just a regular one to make sure the brownies are well covered.
- Allow to set for 20 minutes to set. (I found putting it in the fridge really helped with this step.
- Finally, take a microwave-safe bowl, combine your chocolate and 2 tablespoons of the evaporated milk. Microwave for 45 seconds or until melted... make sure you stir it halfway through the cooking time.
- Drizzle over the caramel topping on the brownies, sprinkle with your 1/8th of a teaspoon of sea salt.
- Allow the chocolate to set, then cut into squares.
If you read a good amount of food blogs, you've seen the community reaching out to support Jennie, who lost her husband suddenly several weeks ago. Some people are doing auctions with proceeds going towards the family to help with things like health insurance and day-to-day expenses. There is a very simple way you can help out, by just making a donation. Click on the image below, and it will take you to Bloggers Without Borders. It's an amazing organization that brings food bloggers together to help those who need it. Jennie needs it right now, and I'm only too happy to pass along the link. So please, if you can spare just a few dollars, every single one counts. Thank you!