Sunday, February 17, 2013

sweet and salty brownies

I haven't blogged in forever! I skipped the last 6 Baked Sunday Morning recipes including this week's Lacy Panty Cakes. But I wanted to post anyway, just to see if I remembered how! Seriously, I did bake a lot in the past weeks, but did not have the energy to take proper pictures and write about the recipes, but I figured I could do a recap post, just so I could come back to the recipes I made.

So this weekend was my sister-in-law's father's 50th birthday, and I was asked to do a dessert bar for the occasion. We went with mini chocolate cupcakes topped with peanut butter cream cheese frosting, and a sprinkle of gold luster dust, Corona blondies with a hint of lime, and Baked's Sweet and Salty Brownies, also my contribution to this week's Baked Sunday Mornings. I rounded out the dessert bar with some red licorice, chocolate covered almonds, sour cherry candies and salty and sweet popcorn.

The group had made the Sweet and Salty Brownies back in December 2010, but I never got around to making them. The first step is to make a salted caramel sauce from sugar, corn syrup, water, cream, sour cream and salt. I might have taken my caramel a tiny bit past dark amber, but it was still delicious. The brownie batter is the standard Baked recipe: Butter and chocolate, melted over a pan of simmering water, white and brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, cocoa and salt. Half the batter is spread in a 9x13 pan, then the caramel is drizzled over top, and the rest of the batter covers the caramel. The brownies bake for 30 minutes and need to chill so they can be cut cleanly.

I expected a layer of caramel between two layers of brownies, but the caramel got incorporated in the brownie. The brownies should have been sprinkled with coarse sugar and fleur de sel, but I skipped this step. I cut them into 24 squares, but they revised my plan and cut them in half as I thought they were a bit too big compared to the rest of the desserts on the table.

This last baking project went relatively smooth. Helped that I got almost two weeks to plan and execute it!

Since I last blogged, we celebrated my niece's third birthday with a Dora themed cake. Not a big fan of Dora, but had fun decorating this girly cake! It was a 9-inch cake consisting of two chocolate, two strawberry and one vanilla layer, with homemade honey strawberry jam between the cake layers. It was frosted with standard vanilla american buttercream, a royal icing border and fondant accents.

We also celebrated a coworker's birthday and I made Baked's whiteout cake into cupcakes. The frosting on these cupcakes was a huge hit! It was creamy and fluffy and so tasty! I might have found my new favorite fluffy frosting recipe! I'm pretty mad at myself for not taking pictures as the cupcakes were pretty with their frosting swirl and white sprinkles and non pareil, plus I had wrapped them in pretty cupcake wrappers.

That same week, I made a Skylanders cake for my coworker's son's 7th birthday. Skylanders is a videogame (that I kinda want to play after doing the research for this cake) and the cake was supposed to look like the portal in the game. The cake was an 8-inch chocolate cake filled and frosted with chocolate american style buttercream. If it looks unfinished, it's that they put the Skylanders toys that the birthday boy was getting as a gift on top of the cake.

Two weeks ago was my daughter's school's open house for registration and her teacher had asked if I could provide the snack for that day. Not thinking twice about it, I immediately said I could without fully comprehending what they wanted. Turns out, they wanted 100 cupcakes. Thinking about it now, it doesn't seem that bad, but that week, it was a tiny bit overwhelming. So I made 25 chocolate cupcakes frosted with chocolate frosting and decorated like beavers (inspired by these) and 25 vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting topped with beaver toppers (inspired by these). I made rice krispies squares and chocolate chip cookies to round out the 100 snacks needed. Also mad that the only picture I took of these was a horrible blackberry picture taken at 9 pm.

Then came Valentine's day, with my daughter's expectation that I would bake treats for her friends, for her teacher, for the entire world. I was pretty caked out by that point, so I made the often repinned rolo-stuffed ritz cracker sandwich and drizzled them with white and pink candy melts. Two to a valentine's day treat bag, I was done in under 15 minutes. And by the way, these things rock. The salty-sweet, chocolate + caramel, crunchy treats? Super addictive.

So that's where we are. And just to round out the month, I have a brother-sister birthday party to bake cupcakes for next Saturday, a 3-tiered Strawberry shortcake cake for Sunday and my mom's birthday cake before the days in February run out!

So the next recipe on the Baked Sunday Mornings schedule is Vanilla Bean and Milk Chocolate Budino, and I really hope I get to make that one and blog about it next week! See you then, hopefully!