Recipes

Salted Caramel Brownies

Posting from HQ:  May 22

Chocolate with salt and caramel is a truly exquisite flavor pairing and we think it works beautifully in these brownies.  Although we use dark chocolate here, this recipe was inspired by our customer favorite San Juan Sea Salt Truffles.

But be warned, these are nothing like what you and Betty Crocker might whip up for a quick treat.  This dessert is all grown up and could easily be served a la mode at your next dinner party or as a special Father’s Day surprise.

For the Brownies:

6oz Dark Chocolate Truffles, coarsely chopped

3/4 cups Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces

1 cup Sugar

3 Eggs

1 cup Flour

For the Caramel Glaze:

1/4 cup Heavy Cream

1 cup Sugar

1/4 cup Water

1/8 cup Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease a 9×13 in. pan with butter or baking spray.  In the top of a double boiler over medium heat, melt the chocolate and butter stirring until melted.

Add sugar and stir gently until combined.

Remove from heat.  In a separate bowl, gently whisk the eggs.  Drizzle the eggs into the chocolate mixture, stirring constantly.  Then add flour and stir until combined.

Pour batter into greased baking pan and spread to even out the surface.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, then remove from oven and cool completely in the pan.  We recommend giving these the full cooking time so that the brownies come out slightly crunchy – a base that will hold its own with the sweet, gooey caramel top.

Now comes the hard part  – the caramel glaze.

The flavor is determined by two things:  the cooking time of the sugar and water, and the amount of salt you stir in at the end.  Overall, we strive for a smooth, delicate flavor where no single element overpowers.  But if you like a more roasted flavor, increase the cooking time of the sugar and water.  And of course, you can kick up the salt by dusting the top.

If that just confused you and now you feel the need for moral support, check out Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman blog while your brownies cool.  She is funny.  She goes for it.  (We like that in a girl!)  And, for all her time on camera at the Food Network, we were relieved to see that she too has to finesse the caramel to make it cooperate.  Check out her slightly different version of this recipe!

OK.  Back to the glaze.

In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the heavy cream.  Do not boil.  In a separate tall saucepan, combine sugar and water.  Do not stir.  Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.

Cook until the sugar and water mixture turns an amber color.  It takes a while so be patient.  But once it darkens remove immediately because it will start to taste burned long before it looks burned!  Should look about like this.

Now add warm cream, butter, and salt.

It will bubble up slightly but stir gently until mixture is smooth and well combined.  When it is smooth, stir in water.  Cool ever so slightly and pour over completely cooled brownies.

Allow to set completely.  Cut, serve (don’t be afraid to scoop a little vanilla on there).  Enjoy!

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Holidays

Happy Mother’s Day

Posting from HQ:  May 13th 

Thanks for coming to the Mother’s Day event at the retail store yesterday.  We hope your Mom enjoys her treats!

At Seattle Chocolates we have a great appreciation for this day because an overwhelming number of us are Moms.  That includes our fearless leader Jean, who took over as CEO shortly after her youngest started kindergarten.  Ever since, Jean has created the kind of culture that understands the amazing juggle, the crazy compromise, the irreplaceable gift that is motherhood.  So when it comes time for that 2nd grade piano recital, or it’s the day of the senior class presentation, we get to be there.  Which makes the time we spend at Seattle Chocolates even sweeter.

So we thought today would be a good day to say thank you, Jean.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Inspiration and Ideas

Goodbye Norma Jean

Posting from HQ:  May 11

…and farewell Chicago, after a busy couple of days at the Sweets and Snacks Expo.  Like us, Marilyn left town this week, having been installed last July.  So we dashed out to snap her picture after setting up our booth at the beginning of the week.  City was abuzz about seeing the super-sized starlet go.  And none too sad we noticed!

Trip highlights:  Finding Eno Chicago Wine Bar still open after our late arrival on Monday – a great wine, cheese and chocolate taste experience.  And somehow a fitting start to our week of conversation about crafting unforgettable chocolate combinations.  Jean and Niel attended the NCA’s Chocolate Council Meetings.  Jean led tours of culinary students through the show and Niel spoke about finding the delicate balance between different ingredients and types of chocolate.  (That deserves its own post – so stay tuned for more on that soon!)  Niel was also interviewed live by WGN radio about translating his engineering background into chocolate making.  A fact that is certainly one of the best kept secrets of our success!

Whew, what a great week.

Trends

Your Snacking Priorities

Posting from Chicago:  May 9

Hello from the Sweets and Snacks Expo!  Every year we head to Chicago to be part of this great event and we love the chance to step back and scan what’s going on in the industry.  There are hundreds of companies represented and products that range from outrageous to gorgeous.  And just think, all of it is coming to a store near you this fall.  So we thought we’d give you an idea of what to expect. . .

As reported by the National Confectioners Association, the major trends of 2012 include;  1.  Sweets made for sharing, 2.  Sweet and salty pairings remain strong favorites, 3.  Flavor influences coming from around the world, and 4.  An increase in healthy snacking.

Interesting.  But what we’d really like to know is what YOU think!  Given what we are seeing at the Expo, we’re curious to hear about your snacking priorities when it comes to Seattle Chocolates.

Thanks!

Inspiration and Ideas

Throw a Truffle Party

Posting from HQ:  May 4

The next time you entertain, why not make it a truffle tasting party?  Put down your kitchen torch, forget that Cuisinart and dial up a dessert that is sure to create conversation and be a treat for every palette.  All you need to do is decide your style.

A tasting paired with coffee, tea or wine? 

If this is your style, we recommend brewing a dark french roast or espresso blend paired with any of our truffles including nuts, salt or toffee.  We think colorful glassy baby drinkers make it an occassion!

If your guests prefer wine after dinner, decant a full-bodied red to sip with our dark chocolate truffles.  A sweet dessert wine pairs well with our extreme dark or blackberry truffles.  It’s worth checking out Sunset Magazine’s wine editor Sara Schneider’s occasional musings about wine and chocolate pairings.

If your plans call for a more relaxed event, or you want to serve up a festive Mom’s Day surprise, a selection of truffles makes a pretty centerpiece.  And it’s fun watching everyone nibble their way to their favorites!

For more ideas, head over to Curtsy Bella tomorrow.  Those creative ladies are throwing their own truffle party this Saturday from 10-8:30!