Monday, November 29, 2010

Caramel Sea Salt Brownies

In addition to the salad combination I luckily stumbled upon, I also brought some brownies to the Thanksgiving feast at my boyfriend's apartment this year. I am more confident with sweets and baking then other types of cooking but will admit I've made good friends with Betty Crocker over the years. I never had a problem cutting corners and using a mix. "Made from scratch" never brought me the same satisfaction as I think other people feel. I'm not in this for pride. I'm here for tasty treats! 

I had a bit of a roadblock this Thanksgiving though. My boyfriend and his family revel in doing things the hard way. "Made from scratch" is Kurt's middle name. Practically everything on the table was grown in his parent's garden in Ohio or from nearby. The turkey was raised by a local kid. They would probably grind their own flour before stooping to the level of using a boxed mix of some sort.

So while my Thanksgivings growing up consisted of Stove Top stuffing, cranberry sauce in the shape of a can, and Stauffer's macaroni and cheese, I needed to step up my game, roll up my sleeves, and give this made from scratch thing a try. I had been eying this brownie recipe from a blog I typically read and thought I would give it a try.

The ingredients were pretty basic. However, I would not wait until the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to get your supplies at Whole Foods. It's a madhouse! 

Olivia does a pretty good job of walking you through the recipe and adding some hints. Here are a few of mine:
-I found it helpful to measure out the flour and sugar into small bowls (Martha Stewart style) before starting to cook. Some of the steps move quickly and I didn't want to be fumbling with measuring cups while burning things.
-I let my caramel thicken too long and probably cooked the whole thing in the oven too long. This combined with refrigerating overnight turned my brownie into a brick. It softened a little in the microwave, but I would be mindful of those things and maybe even slice into portions as soon as it comes out of the oven because it will be difficult to cut later.
-In that same vein, wash your caramel saucepan immediately. Otherwise the caramel will harden and be a beast to clean out!
-There isn't any egg in the brownie mixture, so it has a tendency to be crumbly. It is great served warm over some vanilla ice cream. The sea salt is a great complement to the rich and sweet brownie!

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