Thursday, January 31, 2013

Homemade Caramel Sauce & Brownies

Why is our page called Caramel Living, you ask?  When Mel and I started to brainstorm a creative joint venture, the issue of a name came up.  We took some time to think of names and guess what?  We both independently came up with the same name, Caramel.  You see, it combines parts of our real names.  We're geniuses and it was clearly meant to be if we both thought of the same name!  So we set up the blog and then created the Facebook page.  As we have grown, we have been asked "where's your caramel recipe?!?!"  Based on our recipes that have been posted so far, you probably think we should really be Cheesy Living.  We do love cheese.  :)  In any case, we now have a caramel recipe on the blog.  I made caramel sauce last night and it was SOOOO good.  It was really easy, which I was surprised by since I reviewed several recipes on the internet and started to get nervous that my first batch may very well be a disaster.  I settled on a recipe that contained several cautions and comments to the effect of, "don't worry if you are a beginner and mess it up, you'll get it eventually."  I bought a new candy thermometer and was all set.  Then at the last minute I realized I was going to use up too much of the white sugar making the brownies (below).  I had to find a pinch hitter recipe.  Boy am I glad with the switch because this recipe was easy and the resulting sauce is delicious.  I'm honestly surprised at how well it turned out.  I do have to admit, I was disappointed I didn't get to use the new candy thermometer but I'll use it for my next project - wrapped caramels for our 500th Facebook fan along with the person who referred her.  They'll be arriving soon, Jami & Jill!  :)

Saucy Salted Caramel
Adapted from the Pioneer Woman

1 packed cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream or half & half
4 T butter
1/4 t kosher salt
1 t vanilla 

Place brown sugar, cream, butter and salt in medium saucepan and cook over medium heat while whisking slowly for 5-7 minutes.  Add the vanilla and heat another minute to thicken further.  Remove from heat and pour into container.  As it cools, it will thicken even more.  Serve right away or store in refrigerator.  Warm to serve.

Now the question is, what can I serve this incredible caramel sauce with???  This morning, I added a spoonful to my latte.  Ermagawd it was good. Last night I made the following brownies to drizzle the caramel over.  The brownies are also very easy to make and so, so good.  They really aren't that much more work to make than brownies out of a box so try it!  Just remember, no matter how yummy unsweetened chocolate looks, its NOT until you add sugar.  :)  

Homemade Brownies
From Baker's

4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar (I tend to use a little less, like 1 3/4)
3 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup pecans or walnuts (I don't add nuts because we have a nut sensitivity in the family)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 13x9 or 9x9 (for thicker brownies) with aluminum foil and grease foil.  Microwave chocolate and butter on high for 2 minutes.  Stir until chocolate is melted.  Stir in sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla and stir well.  Next add the flour and nuts.  Spread into pan and bake for 27-32 minutes (as long as a toothpick comes out clean when inserted).  You can remove the foil and just wrap over top for easy storage. 

For the above pictured double-decker brownie, I put walnuts on a single layer brownie, drizzled with the caramel sauce, topped it with another brownie and added another layer of walnuts and sauce.  Delish! 



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