I was one of the lucky food bloggers to participate in the Will Bake For Food event at the University Height building last weekend. The concept is brilliant. We all made a dessert and set up booths displaying our goods. Then people exchanged non-perishable items for tickets to spend on the goodies. Then all the food was donated to the Emergency Feeding Program. It kind of felt like we were all participating in a live board game or carnival with money in the form of little red tickets. And because it was an event full of food bloggers, every single item looked and tasted of professional grade.
This event was also in the midst of a food centric weekend for me. Friday night was karaoke paved with curried fries, Japanese Karaang Chicken, tequila and birthday cake. Saturday was Will Bake for Food, followed by Mexican fiesta of tamales, beef tacos, margaritas, chips, mango and papaya salad and slivers off a Chihuahua-sized burrito. That night, another birthday party at a Mexican restaurant...with roasted beet tacos, guacamole and black bean tostado, AND...no, not a tequila inspired beverage...but white wine. Then the next day, homemade apple and oatmeal pancakes and French press coffee. For lunch, sesame chicken with kale (you can see that post on the site I have been contributing to on FaveDiets by clicking on it), followed by happy hour snacks and wine. Yes I have entered some sort of edible vortex. So starting yesterday, I am eating all clean, color-rich vibrant food, such as my Curried Carrot Apple soup...in preparation for Thankgiving.
But let's focus on the matter at hand...spicy caramel brownies. This was a new spin on the salted caramel concept. Spicy chocolate smoothed out with homemade caramel. You really can't go wrong with all these ingredients whipped together in a 9x9. And you can even package them in little bags tied with hemp twine and arrive at your next lunch date with a treat.
Spicy Caramel Brownies
Yields 12 good sized brownies
from Cooking Light November 2011
It was a very uncharacteristic way for me to approach this recipe, but I followed it exactly how it said (except that I used 1/2 whole wheat flour). And I certainly was pleased with the result. As someone who has more of a savory tooth, it was shocking for me to find that they were a tad on the less sweet side. So if you like super sweet brownies, bump up the sugar to 3/4 cup. I also think some cinnamon would really round out the flavors. But all in all, fabulous dessert. The spicy red pepper adds a subtle heat.
1 can (14 oz) fat free sweetened condensed milk
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, in big chunks
1/2 cup sugar
6 Tbsp butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 egg whites
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground red pepper (or ground red pepper flakes)
1/8 tsp salt
Parchment paper or cooking spray
Pull out your double boiler, or do a makeshift one like I did by getting out your largest saute pan. Fill it with water and place a large metal mixing bowl into the water. This will serve you just as well. The whole reason for this is so the sweetened condensed milk warms and cooks but doesn't burn. So bring the water to a soft boil. From here, pour the sweetened condensed milk into the bowl of the double boiler. Keep the water at a constant simmer. Simmer the sweetened condensed milk for 1 1/2 hours, stirring fairly regularly. Cook until it turns to a nice light brown caramel color. After this happens turn off heat and allow to cool off a little bit.
While this is cooking, you can prep the other ingredients and start to assemble them when there are about 30 minutes left for the caramel. At this point, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium microwave safe bowl, microwave the bittersweet chocolate pieces for about 30 seconds. Remove and stir until it is a velvety liquid. Add in the sugar and butter and beat on low speed until all the ingredients are fully blended. Add in the vanilla and egg whites and beat again until smooth.
In a separate bowl, combine the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, red pepper and salt. Slowly pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir in half of the sweetened condensed milk (now caramel). Spoon the batter into a parchment lined 9x9 or sprayed with cooking spray. Drop in small spoonfuls of the remaining sweetened condensed milk and swirl around with a knife to make a creative design. Bake for 19-25 minutes, depending on your oven, until the center is fully cooked. Cool (if you can wait) on a wire rack. Goes really well with a hot cup of coffee.