Well I was going to go all cliche on you and start 2014 off with something healthy, but then Hercules happened. Hercules, you know, the winter storm, not the mythical hero. [when did they start naming winter storms btw?]
I hoped for a snow day, but I didn’t really expect one. Let’s just say I certainly did not complain though, when I called the weather alert line on Friday morning and heard that my office was closed for the day.
Typically before a snow day, I make a mad rush too the grocery store [with everyone else] and dream up about 16 different ways to spend my day off. Since I wasn’t really counting on Hercules, I didn’t have a snow day plan this time around, so I slept in til 8, then woke up and leisuryly checked my favorite blogs while sipping my morning coffee. [ugh, if only ever day could start that way!] While perusing the internets, I stumbled upon Erin’s Boyfriend Brownies, which I decided I absolutely needed to make them. Trouble is, I didn’t have any cake mix or evaporated milk on hand, so I was going to have to improvise. [there was no way my 2001 Plymouth Neon–no, they no longer make those, but yes I still drive one–was making it up the hill to the market].
I decided to stick to the caramel stuffed brownies theme, but substitute in my favorite fudgy brownie recipe and stuff them with melted caramels left over from Roommate and my Christmas baking extravaganza. Total. Freaking. Success. The results were the most decadendt fudgy, chewy, gooey, sweet, little bit salty, addictive brownies I’ve ever tried. After the agonizing cooling time, I cut them in to squares, piled them on a plate, and hiked the half mile up the hill to my friends’ house. [seriously, I think everyone in Philadelphia was on snow day] We bummed around the rest of the afternoon watching movies, polishing off dips from their NYE party, and snacking on these Snow Day Brownies.
Snow day or not, I promise you won’t be able to resist their awesomeness.
- 12 Tbs salted butter [1 1/2 sticks]
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla, divided
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 cup cocoa powder
- 30 caramels, unwrapped
- 2 Tbs milk
- sea salt
- 2/3 cup chocolate chips [optional]
- 1 cup flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease (with butter or cooking spray) the bottom and sides of a metal 9×9 cake pan very well [especially the sides].
In a 2 quart sauce pan over medium heat, melt the stick of butter. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla and remove from heat. Whisk in the cocoa powder and let the mixture cool until luke warm. Whisk in the eggs one at a time and then mix in the flour with a spatula, just until blended and all the white disappears.
Pour two thirds of the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth out the top. Bake for 15 minutes on the top rack of the oven.
While the brownies are baking, melt the 30 unwrapped caramels with 2 Tbs of milk and 1/2 tsp of vanilla. Stir frequently until melted and very smooth. Pour the caramel over the baked brownies and top with a delicate layer of sea salt. If using the chocolate chips, sprinkle them in a single layer over the caramel.
Top the caramel and chocolate chips with the remaining brownie batter. Smooth the batter into an even layer trying to seal in all the delicious gooey caramel. Bake the brownies on the top rack for an additional 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before cutting into them. You’ll need to run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan before cutting into these brownies, as the caramel gets quite sticky. The first time I made these, I lined the pan with foil, but I actually found that they cute more cleanly when I baked them in a well greased pan.