“Salted Caramel Brownies” from “The Little Book of Lunch”

Intellectually, I know that salted caramel brownies can’t be classified lunch. But my heart says otherwise, given that I myself have done so on several occasions. In this case, the recipe comes from the aptly described section, “Bribing Colleagues with Sweet Treats.”

I fully endorse this message. Although I work from home on my own (other than the supervision from Buddy the dog), I do occasionally have to go to meetings or meet ups, and I can categorically say that every meeting is improved enormously when baked goods are included.

Unfortunately, this recipe didn’t quite deliver. Now that the boys are on their summer break, I thought this would be a nice thing to have kicking around the house when they inevitably get hungry. Nicholas and I made them together and we thought, based on tasting the batter, this would be a fantastic brownie experience. It didn’t work out that way.

What you do is you make salted caramel (which always makes me nervous) but then also brownie batter. Once everything is made, you take a third of the caramel and mix it into the brownie batter, then you spread half of the batter in the pan, put another third of the caramel on top of that layer, top that off with the rest of the brownie mix, and finish it all off with the remaining third of the caramel topping off the brownie.

The problem was that the top layer of caramel puffed up during baking, which made the resulting brownie pan a big gooey mess of chocolate and caramel. As Nicholas noted, “This looks NOTHING like the picture in the book.” We then had a long discussion about food styling, so at least it was a teachable moment.

The picture above was taken after things had calmed down and I put the brownies in the refrigerator for 24 hours to set. Don’t get me wrong– there’s no such thing as a brownie disaster if they didn’t burn. They tasted delicious, but it just didn’t work.

The boys suggested that the brownie part of the recipe worked fine, so maybe if I made them again, I should just make that part of it and skip the salted caramel. It’s not a terrible suggestion, since the brownie part was very, very good.

Regardless, the takeaway from this is: always bring in baked goods to the office or a meeting if you can. It definitely makes things sweeter.

“Salted Caramel Brownies” from “The Little Book of Lunch”

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