Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Oooey Gooey Caramel Brownies and also the Pioneer Woman wins at life

As I'm stepping in and out of the blogosphere every now and then, I've naturally become more cognizant of "stories" to accompany my recipes. You know, because otherwise I'd be such a snore. Not to say that every single recipe has to come with a backstory, but it's nice when it happens. Food especially is meant to transport us places. A convenient escape, I guess. Different flavors remind us of different places (home being the most sought after, yes?) Maybe it's silly but coconut water reminds me of sugar cane juice off of the road sides in India. Probably because it's the same texture on the palette (duh) but it's SO good and cleansing. ....and now I'm craving a big slurp of "ghane ka juice" with lemon and ginger.

Um, you know when someone builds up a joke so intensely and holds your attention by a string and you're SO into it....and then plop. The punchline is dead air and you feel stupid?

I'm afraid I may have done that just now. I made a batch of ridiculously outrageous gooey caramel oozing brownies and that's it. I don't have a story, you guys. I was just trying to make a point that food and stories just kind of go together. Are we still cool? (sometimes I feel like know, Judy Blume's Margaret?)

The Pioneer Woman on Food Network is one of my favorites, especially because I've actually been following her blog even before she had a cooking show. (maybe I should keep this guy running...hehe) She's so real to me, none of that made up stories stuff to appear more relatable or likable. Everything she talks about she shows, whether on camera or through pictures. And certainly her ability to be hilarious (blog) and instructional at the same time is solid. These brownies were inspired by her recipe "Knock you naked brownies..." yep, knock you naked. She claims they don't really knock you naked, but they certainly knock you out. They are the BEST BROWNIES EVER. I will say no more. (but maybe a few more things because I cannot stop talking about them in person either)

She uses a german chocolate cake mix as the "brownie" on top and bottom. Not devil's food or fudge or milk chocolate. She doesn't exactly explain why that and not the others but Ree can do no wrong, that I am sure of. I'm not much of a boxed mix girl, and I PROMISE it's not a snooty thing, I just think baking from scratch is really fun. That being said, these brownies don't even have a "boxed" taste but even more than that, you'll want to parade around it's semi-homemadeness because it's JUST brilliant. (wait question, when I go turbo CAPS unnecessarily, do you actually read it in a loud yelling way??)

Also, I made these while fasting with about 7 hours to go, but it worked out for the better actually. (They have to refrigerate for several hours before you can slice them! It's to ensure the perfectly compact gooeyness, though you are more than welcome to dive into a mess.) If I wasn't fasting, I'd probably never make it.

I don't really want to call them knock you naked brownies, but I think

"Ooey Gooey Caramel Brownies" works pretty nicely: 

1 box German chocolate cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 stick melted butter
40 unwrapped caramels 
1/2 cup evaporated milk 
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, pecans, 1/3 cup evaporated milk and the melted butter. The batter is going to be really thick dough, not at all like normal brownie batter. Make sure to mix it well!

2. Split the batter in half.

3. Take one 1/2 and press it down into a greased or lined 8x8 square baking dish. Spread it out evenly and bake at 350 degress for ONLY 9 minutes. 
4. Put the caramels in a microwave safe bowl and pour the 1/2 cup of evaporated milk over them. Microwave for 30 seconds to start, stir to move things around, and pop it back for 30 more seconds and so forth. It took me about four 30-second microwave trips to get them melted and smooth. Be sure to stir after each 30-secs. 

5. Pour the caramel over the warm brownie and sprinkle with chocolate chips. (this is optional according to Ree, but we both know the word "optional" is basically "don't be lame.") 

6. Carefully take the remaining 1/2 of the batter and tear and place on top of the chocolate chips and caramel. Seeeee, the topping will cover the gooey yumminess pronouncing you genius. Cover the top completely, below you'll see how I was fitting it like a puzzle.

7. Bake again for 22 minutes. 
8. Cool on counter for a bout 30, and then cover with foil and patiently refrigerate for several 6 or 7.  

SooOOoo sinful
(We've been nibbling on them for the past couple of days. Today I warmed one up and devoured it a la mode. Omg.)