Maturing tastebuds, 2

I’m getting old – not just because there’s another birthday looming on the horizon. I know I’m getting old because when we were at Edworthy Park last week, I stalked a bird. Because I wanted to take a picture of it. (Next year I’ll probably know what kind of bird it is, too.) There I was, a grown woman, traipsing around behind a bird who didn’t even have the decency to stay put so I could just take one lousy picture.

In addition to the bird-stalking, I also saw a recipe for Salted Caramel Brownies on the Pioneer Woman’s website. She waxed rhapsodically about how they were the best brownies she’d ever eaten. And I looked at the picture of the brownies and thought ‘meh‘.

Meh? Caramel and chocolate combined and my first thought was the equivalent of ‘I don’t want to trouble myself with such excessive brownies?’ This could only mean that I am beginning my journey down the jello mold and tapioca pudding road typically associated with advanced age.

Aside from my seemingly declining sweet tooth, my issue with the brownies is that I don’t like stuff on my brownies. I mean, I’ll eat a frosted brownie but I won’t swoon over it. It won’t be my favorite brownie of all time. At this point in my life, I’ve found two excellent brownie recipes and I don’t see any reason to depart from them. (The first is excellent because you only need cocoa powder to make them which most people have on hand at all times. The second is excellent…because it is. Everyone I’ve made them for has loved them.)

But the salted caramel brownies got stuck in my mind. Maybe I was being too exclusive. Maybe my initial judgment was wrong. Maybe I was missing out on the best brownie of all time.

So the professor came back from the land of museums and atrocious souvenirs and I made these ‘for him’. I’d just pulled the brownies from the oven when he appeared in the kitchen, holding a spoon. ‘Where are the brownies,’ he nearly hyperventilated. ‘You can’t have the brownies,’ I tried to explain. ‘I have to make the caramel topping and they have to cool and it’s going to be a while.’

He looked very disappointed.

I made the caramel which is always an arduous task. For some inexplicable reason sugar and water take forever to caramelize when I’m the one standing behind the stove. Many, many minutes later I poured the sticky goo over the brownies. And, since I’d worked so very hard, I availed myself to the bits of caramel left in the pan.

Without fail, every time I make caramel, I stick my finger in the pan to swipe a leftover dollop of tastiness; completely ‘forgetting’ that the dollop is finger-searing hot. And then I find myself with a finger about to implode from the pain caused by the heat and what do I do? I stick the finger in my mouth to get the caramel off.

Which is how I end up with a burnt roof-of-my-mouth, too. Every time.

‘ARRRRGGGGGH!!’ I yelled as I burned my finger and then my mouth. ‘What’s wrong?’ the Gort asked as he walked through the kitchen on his way outside. ‘I just burned my finger making the caramel sauce,’ I tried to explain. Omitting the bit about how I stuck my finger into boiled sugar and water. Willingly.

‘Maybe next time you should just buy caramel sauce at the store,’ he advised ‘and then you won’t burn your finger.’

He’s on to something, that kid. Stir in a couple of teaspoons of sea salt, call it salted caramel sauce and pour it over the brownies.

The verdict on the brownies was as I expected: ‘Meh’.

10 thoughts on “Maturing tastebuds, 2

  1. Two votes for robins. Secondly, that has always been my response (and Shawn’s) after making one of PW’s recipes: “meh”. I’ve given up, and unsubscribed…

  2. Definitely a robin!
    And my thinking is, it’s great to try new recipes, but if you’ve already something with a big ‘wow’ factor, stick to what you know is best!

    1. Look at you three barely-thirtyish kids telling this old dog what kind of bird that is. Clearly the young people of today can teach the older generation a thing or two!

  3. I saw the same recipe. thanks for the review which will save me from a potential caramel burn. 🙂

  4. Pioneer Woman, like Martha Stewart, is a little too frenetic for me. I work at a slower pace (somewhere between Nigella Lawson and geriatric tree sloth). I attribute this to efficiency (laziness) rather than age.

    Salted Caramel Brownies sound like something the church ladies’ guild make once a year and then foist on children instead of hard candies or circus peanuts.

    And once you’ve made and eaten Nigella’s splendid, disorderly Baklava Muffins, there’s little reason to dirty your pans making anything else.

  5. confused…neither of the links to your favorite brownie recipes is a recipe for brownies that only take cocoa powder. one of the links is to another salted caramel brownie recipe.

    1. Amy – I just fixed it. Sorry I must have forgotten to hit ‘copy’ and just pasted the link I’d already posted! (Like I said, I’m getting old…) Try the cocoa one, it’s surprisingly good considering it’s just cocoa powder….And you’re welcome for sparing you from the caramel burn. It is pretty awful 🙂

  6. oh, I’m disappointed! I was reading through, getting excited for the finale when you would announce “they were the best, ever”, then I could invite you for a coffee requesting the Salted Caramel Brownies accompany you and the kidlets. Really? Caramel and chocolate just ‘meh’? although I just read a comment on Baklava Muffins – maybe you should give those a try 😉


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