Friday, April 18, 2008


Living in the midwest, you don't expect to be awakened from a deep sleep by an earthquake, of all things. But this morning at about 5:39 I woke up to the house shaking and the windows rattling, soon to be followed by two little people quickly jumping into my bed. Quite a surprise since the last earthquake I recall feeling happened more than 20 years ago. Quite an exciting start to the morning for the kids.

This evening will to be pretty exciting, too. It's DC (dear cousin) Reba's birthday and there will be cake and ice cream and all sorts of fun things happening. My contribution to the big shindig will be Warm Nutty Carmel Brownies, a recipe that I got from my sister-in-law Jenny. Jenny is a new Pampered Chef consultant and this is the recipe she made for her first Pampered Chef party last weekend.

This batch didn't turn out as well as Jenny's did. Hers was gorgeous. (See, you really do need to buy all that neat Pampered Chef stuff!) I'm sure it will taste great though. (How can it not? Chocolate, caramel, nuts? Gotta be yummy!) On this one, I used a different type of mix and a cheap zipper bag that fell apart when I tried to pipe on the melted chocolate. Oh well. Live and learn! LOL!

Happy Birthday Reba!

Warm Nutty Caramel Brownies

1 pkg (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate morsels, divided
1 pkg (18-21 oz) brownie mix (plus ingredients to make cake-like brownies)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar, divided
1 cup salted mixed nuts, divided
5 rolls (1.7 oz each) milk chocolate-covered chewy caramels, divided (40 pieces total)
Vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly brush bar pan with vegetable oil . Coarsely chop 1 1/2 cups of the chocolate morsels. In a large mixing bowl, combine brownie mix, water, oil, eggs and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar; mix well. Fold in chopped chocolate; pour batter into bar pan, spreading evenly.

Chop nuts using food chopper. Combine half of the nuts and remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar; sprinkle evenly over brownie batter. Bake 20-22 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Meanwhile, using a utility knife, cut 16 caramels into quarters. Place remaining 1/2 cup chocolate morsels in a microwave safe bowl; microwave on HIGH 1 minute or until melted, stirring after each 20-second interval. Spoon melted chocolate into resealable plastic bag; set aside.

Remove bar pan from oven to cooling rack. Immediately press remaining 24 caramels evenly into brownie in four rows of six caramels each. Sprinkle quartered caramels and remaining nuts over brownies. Trim corner of chocolate-filled bag; drizzle chocolate evenly over brownies. Cut into squares; serve warm. Serve with ice cream, if desired.

Yield: 24 servings

1 comment:

giz said...

You're kidding right? House shaking of an earthquake in the morning and you're baking for DC in the afternoon. You amaze me. I'd be starting the car and heading to who knows where.