Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hot & Cold

One late September evening my friend Kendra and I are hanging out and we get this craving for the “hot and cold,” which is her term for anything that is served à la mode. So we end up finding a restaurant and having their fudge brownie with chocolate and salty caramel sauce. Now why didn’t I think of that? I would have never combined the two. But together, it took the dessert to a whole new level!

A few days later I could not get that brownie out of my head. So I decided that I would try my own version of the “hot and cold” at home. This caramel sauce recipe is a staple for many of my desserts as I use it on fudge brownies, pumpkin cheesecake, Bourbon pecan cheesecake, vanilla ice-cream and bread pudding. So you will be seeing a lot of the caramel sauce.

Fudge Brownies

1 ¼ sticks unsalted butter
¾ c Hershey’s socoa powder, unsweetened
1 ¼ c sugar
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
½ c AP flour
2/3 c chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line bottom and sides of pan with parchment paper.

Combine butter, sugar, cocoa and salt in a saucepan on stove and stir until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove saucepan and set aside to cool briefly.

Stir in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each one. When batter becomes shiny, add the flour and stir until incorporated. Beat vigorously for about 45 seconds. Fold in nuts.

Spread evenly in lined pan. Bake for about 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into squares.

I like this best with a scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice-cream and a drizzle of caramel and fudge sauce. Typically I will just melt a Godiva chocolate bar over a double boiler. But if I don’t have one of those handy, I will use this quick and dirty chocolate sauce.

Caramel Sauce

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter with all three sugars and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook over moderately high heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the cream and boil for 2 minutes longer. Stir in the vanilla and salt and serve.

Chocolate Sauce

1 c. sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1 c. boiling water
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. butter

Blend together sugar, flour, cocoa, and salt. Add boiling water and cook until thick, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. Store in refrigerator. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

All photographs are actual pictures of the recipe listed, baked by Virtually Everything Sweet, and cannot be used without the owner’s consent.

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