Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Simple Things

I think I've mentioned this before but it bears repeating. Sometimes, I get so caught up in an idea of a recipe, that I kinda lose site of the recipe. And yes, that makes a great Life Lesson, so you can read into that as deeply as you like. I let. Anyways, let me give you an example: Say, someone super cool is coming to me for the weekend. Like Hyper D. Or my Super Awesome Sister-in-Law. Say,we want to knock their socks off. So I start surfing Foodgawker, Pinterest, Tastespotting. Before you know it, there is a tidal wave of drool on my keyboard. (Ew, gross. TMI?) And then I have this monstrosity of an idea in my head for dessert: It sounds like this:
 Hey, I'll make a pie.No, no. Mini trifles are way fancier. Yeah, that will be good. It has to have chocolate, so I have to make some chocolate mousse. Oh, and I love brownies, so gotta have that in there. Peanut butter? Yep, hand in hand with chocolate. Oh, and caramel. I love caramel. And what is dessert without whip cream? Before you know it, this dessert is three feet high and your taste buds are so confused, they are like "What? What are you feeding us? How many tastes are you bombarding us with?"
Yeah, its kinda like that. 
Scary, I know. 
So sometimes, to remember whats really good in life, I ask my kids what they want me to make. So this week, Z-Monkey requested brownies. And then my brain automatically added ice cream and caramel to that. What?! I can't help it! It's like a knee-jerk reflex. Point is, its something I am working on. 
And here is something for you: 
I'm thinking of printing this strip of pictures and framing it in my kitchen.
Whaddya think?

Here's what you need to put this together:

Mary Poppins Brownies (Practically perfect in every way)
I totally just made that up by the way. They are really called Best Brownies.
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup cocoa 
  • 1/2 cup  flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350°.  Melt margarine in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add sugar, eggs and vanilla. Stir by hand until smooth. Add cocoa, flour, salt and baking powder. Mix just until combined. Pour into greased 8'' square pan. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. 

Non-Dairy Vanilla Ice Cream
16 ounces non-dairy whipped topping (Rich's whip)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
6 eggs
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Using an electric mixer, beat whippped topping until stiff peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add in maple syrup and beat until smooth. Pour into a airtight container and freeze overnight. 

  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 cups non-dairy whipped topping (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large, heavy bottomed pot, combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1 cup non-dairy whipped topping. Heat over medium flame to 250° F. (Candy thermometer is a must here...keep a close eye on the temperature, it makes a big difference) Add the remaining whipped topping and vanilla. Stir quickly, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and allow to cool.

Caramel Troubleshooting

I've made caramel more times than I care to admit in the past month, and I've had to deal with caramel that was rock hard and caramel that was watery thin. Luckily, I was able to salvage both, so here's some tips that might help you:

1) If your caramel is too hard, it means you overshot the temperature mark and you just made candy. Congratulations! But never fear, it can be saved. Transfer the hard caramel to a pot. If you can't get it out, stick it in the microwave for 30+ seconds.  Reheat the caramel until its back in a liquid form, and add 2 tablespoons of creamer. Let it cool again back to room temperature.  Now, when I had rock hard caramel, it was really hard, I added 1/2 cup creamer and it was perfect. So it really depends on how hard the caramel is. I would start with 2 tablespoons, and if its not enough, add 2 more. The point is: to resoften hardened caramel, you need to add more liquid.

2) Caramel cooled completely, and its watery thin. In this case you undershot the caramel. It didn't reach the proper temperature to become a caramel consistency. (Very scientific terminology here. I had 5 hours of sleep! Its the best I can do!) So its pretty simple here- just dump it back in the pot, and reheat it again. If your thermometer originally said that it was  250° F, and it cooled to a watery consistency, your thermometer must have been lying. So reheat it to  260° F- 265° F. Let it cool completely, and you should be good to go!

P.S. I did not whip up the caramel because my brain told me to. (Obviously, I would never do such a thing.) I had some in the freezer left over from a Joy of Kosher recipe column.  It  freezes amazing, so its worthwhile to make some and keep for emergency times such as these.


  1. Is this for next week or was it for last week?

    Looks h-e-a-v-e-n-l-y.

  2. Z-Monkey sounds like his Father and Grandfather :)

    Big D.

  3. these are definitely the best brownies! i make the same recipe but add 4 oz of baking chocolate to the margarine while it's melting which makes for an even richer brownie!!!


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