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’.