Today a friend asked me how my weekend went, and I was excited to tell her about it–until I realized how gluttonous and shameful it was.
I told her how great date night was at Benihana and how it was so good I scarfed every last bite on my plate, including the fried rice with extra globs of garlic butter…I told her how cool the Valentine’s Day weekend wine tasting was, each of the 13 wines paired with a different chocolate dessert, sometimes two…I rambled about how we went to happy hour at McMenamin’s afterwards, the burger and Cajun tots hitting the spot after all that wine…but I left out the part about having a second dinner a few hours later of brown rice, chicken pot stickers and broccoli to “balance everything out.” I also told her we celebrated my mom’s birthday at The Old Spaghetti Factory for lunch on Sunday, but left out the part about devouring a whole plate of spaghetti and meatballs, a loaf of french sourdough and spumoni ice cream.
I also failed to mention that–as if to mock me–after all the damage was done, my mom gave me my souvenir gift from her recent trip to Panama…a frilly teensy weensy bikini…in a size or two too small.
I drowned my sorrows on the couch Sunday night with Chinese takeout, season 4 episodes of Breaking Bad and…Brownies with Salted Caramel.
To continue my shame, after I finished baking I stood at the stove dipping pieces of brownie that fell off the cookie cutters directly into the salted caramel pot and popped them in my mouth like potato chips.
When I went to bed I had to lay on my back like a beached whale because laying on my side made it impossible to breathe. While running 30 miles a week does increase my appetite, I need to figure out where to draw the line. But that will have to wait until after Valentine’s Day, because I’ve still got these brownies to eat, and a jar full of salted caramel in the fridge.
This brownie recipe is amazing! It’s as easy as making boxed brownies, and just as tasty! I adapted this recipe from the blog Ingredients Inc. To get the original recipe visit: http://www.ingredientsinc.net/2011/01/easy-valentines-day-brownies/
Easy Valentine’s Brownies
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup butter
1 cup raw cane sugar (you can use regular too)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Cool in the pan on a wire racks. Cut into heart shapes with cookie cutters if desired. Drizzle with salted caramel (recipe below).
Salted Caramel Sauce
Recipe adapted from: http://lickmyspoon.com/recipes/salted-caramel-sauce/
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt (In honor of my heritage I used Philippine fleur de sel)
Heat sugar and water in a 2-quart or 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir to help the sugar dissolve, but stop stirring when the sugar comes to a boil. You can swirl the pan a bit if you want. PAY CLOSE ATTENTION THE WHOLE TIME. I turned my head a minute to cut the brownies and before I knew it the whole thing burned, my house was filled with smoke and I had to start over. 😦
When the liquid sugar hits a dark amber color, add all the butter to the pan. The mixture will foam up and thicken. Whisk until the butter has melted. Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat.
Add the cream to the pan (the mixture will foam up again) and continue to whisk to incorporate.
Add the sea salt and whisk until caramel sauce is smooth.
Let cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then pour into a glass jar and let cool to room temperature. Don’t worry if the sauce seems a bit too thin at first, it will thicken as it cools. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Warm before serving to loosen it up again.