Do you ever feel like you’ve accomplished a lot? Like a whole heck of a lot? But that no one notices? Maybe the list of stuff you’ve accomplished lately is internal and people around you can’t “see” it: you didn’t cry last time you got invited to a baby shower, you stepped way out of your comfort zone and met new people in a new city (and consequently saw Adele perform), you broke your six mile record. Maybe it’s the little stuff that the people around you take for granted: you did the laundry, unpacked the suitcases, grocery shopped and made sure there was healthy food on the table at mealtimes.
Or maybe you’re too busy noticing everyone else’s successes to pay heed to your own. But sit back and look at where you started. You have made progress. You have come a long way, from wherever and whenever, your journey started. Take the time to enjoy the milestones, be they large or small, that you’ve passed on your trip from point A to point B. Because we all have small victories, accomplishments, and successes.
Yea, there will always be someone smarter. Or prettier. Kinder or more generous. A better friend. Or more creative. But I suggest you stop. Stop looking at others and be proud of what you’ve done. Have you smiled at someone today? Volunteered at school? Vacuumed the front entrance? Gotten out of bed? Enjoyed the sunshine? I’m thinking there is something you’ve done… and it might not be grand enough for anyone to notice and throw you a parade. But you deserve it. And maybe a brownie.
Salted Caramel Brownies
from Baked: Explorations
For the Caramel:
- 1 C sugar
- 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
- 1/4 C water
- 1/2 C heavy cream (whipping cream, 35%)
- 1 tsp fleur de sel
- 1/2 C sour cream
- In a medium sized saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 C water and stir together. Be careful not to splash up the sides of your saucepan. Cook until a thermometer reads 350F or the mixture is a dark amber color. This should take about 6-8 minutes. Be careful not to burn yourself or your caramel. If the mixture splashes up the sides of your saucepan, brush the sides only, with a wet pastry brush while the mixture cooks.
- Remove the caramel mixture from the heat and slowly stir in the heavy cream. Then stir in the salt and sour cream.
- Set aside to cool
- 1 1/4 C flour
- 2 Tbsp dark cocoa powder
- 11 oz. dark chocolate (I used 72% Valrhona)
- 1 C unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 1/2 C granulated sugar
- 1/2 C packed brown sugar
- 5 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp fleur de sel
- 1 tsp coarse sugar
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper (or lightly grease).
- In a medium bowl whisk together your flour, salt and cocoa powder.
- In a large saucepan, over very low heat, gently melt the chocolate and butter and stir continually. (The recipe calls for doing this over a double boiler but I just do it over the “simmer” setting on my smallest gas burner). Once the chocolate and butter are melted remove the pan from the heat and whisk in both sugars until well combined.
- Next whisk in three eggs (yes, by hand and just think of the nice, muscular arms your builidng) until JUST combined. Then add the remaining two eggs and vanilla. Do NOT over mix.
- Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixtures and gently stir until just barely combined. It is perfectly fine to see small flecks of flour. If you over mix at this stage your brownies will be cakey instead of thick and fudgy.
- Pour half the brownie mixture into your pan. Smooth out the mixture with a spatula.
- Drizzle about 1/2 C of the caramel mixture over the brownie mixture. Make sure the caramel does not touch the sides of your baking pan because it will seriously burn on. Not fun. Gently spread the caramel into an even layer.
- Finish by spreading on the remainder of the brownie batter: it works well to drop by the spoonful and then spread it out using a spatula.
- Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes. I would be careful not to over bake the brownies. They are done when you insert a toothpick (or whatever you have on hand) and it comes out with a few moist crumbs.
- Directly after removing from the oven, sprinkle the brownies with the fleur de sel and coarse sugar.
- Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting. (Although, if you NEED a sample, just to make sure you didn’t “forget” any ingredients, no one will fault you. In fact… go right ahead. It will be like throwing yourself a little parade. Maybe even with a sprinkle of confetti).