Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ooey Gooey Madness with the Texan

You know, sometimes cooking can be trial and error. That's what happened to me this weekend.

Saturday I watched the Pioneer Woman on the Food Network and she made KNOCK YOU NAKED BROWNIES. Don't you just love that name? Or not.

At any rate, as I watched, I thought, "I have that same recipe." Though I hadn't made it in years, I pulled out my recipe for Caramel Fudge Brownies and decided to make them for a church picnic we were having the next day.

Sure enough, same ingredients. Except pecans were optional in mine. Mostly because my kids are party poopers when it comes to nuts.

No taste, I tell you.

Soon after I did my first mixing, I realized something was different. Ree's batter was much thicker than mine. Hmmm. Checked my recipe against hers. Ah-ha! She only used one stick of butter while I used a stick and a half. Both needed 1/3 and 1/2 cups of evaporated milk. However, in my recipe the half cup went in the batter, the third with the caramel. Hers was the other way around.

So I'm going to give you both recipes, though, honestly, I will probably go with her measurements the next time around.

Ree's recipe calls for:

  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1/3 plus 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • One 18.5-ounce box German chocolate cake mix
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 60 caramels, unwrapped
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted

  • Mine calls for:
    • 1 1/2 sticks of butter
    • 1/2 plus 1/3 cup evaporated milk
    • One box German chocolate cake mix
    • 1 - 14 oz. package of caramels, unwrapped
    • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    • 1 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
    You see, the same, only different :-)

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Ree's instructions said to grease and flour a 9-by-9-inch baking pan. My recipe says a 9 x 13 pan. I went somewhere in the middle with a smalled oblong pan.
    First, you're going to mix together the cake mix, melted butter, and evaporated milk (Ree says 1/3 cup). It will be thick. Especially if you use the Pioneer Woman's measurements.

    Divide the dough in half down the middle. Press half of it into the bottom of the prepared pan to make the first brownie layer. Bake until slightly set, 8 to 10 minutes. Then remove from the oven and set aside.

    While the first layer is baking, melt you caramels with remaining (1/2 or 1/3 cup, whichever you didn't use before). Ree used a double boiler for this. I used a nonstick sauce pan over low heat and stirred frequently. The key is slow melting so they won't burn.

    Pour the caramel mixture over the first baked layer, spreading so it's evenly distributed. Sprinkle the chocolate chips all over the top.

    Next, on a sheet of waxed paper, press the remaining dough into a square/rectangle shape slightly smaller than the baking pan. Using the waxed paper to your advantage, lay the dough on top of the chocolate chips.

    I just flipped it over and peeled the paper off.

    Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the brownies cool to room temperature. Cover the pan and refrigerate the brownies for several hours to allow them to set.

    Trust me, refrigerating the brownies is key.

    Ree sprinkles hers with powdered sugar before she cuts them for serving. That was her pic at the top of the page.

    I don't have an after pic of mine because, as I said, refrigerating is key. Mine were not in there long enough, so I had layers sliding every which way. They still tasted yummy though. Decadent and definitely indulgent.

    Have you ever had two recipes that looked alike but, upon closer inspection, were slightly different? Did you try them both? How did things turn out?


    1. Seriously drooling. Looks like they take a little bit of work, but I bet the result it worth it. And the caramel addition -- yum! Reminds me of caramel shortbread. Will definitely try these.

      Oh -- and since I didn't get to stop by yesterday -- the idea of adding chili powder to chocolate is just WRONG!!!!!! Caramels -- much better!

    2. Oooh, this recipe is definitely one to try. All of my favorite ingredients!

      Here's my recipe-didn't-match story:

      My dear mother-in-law was one of 12 children and raised 8 of her own. On top of that, my father-in-law loved cookies. So she made cookies. A lot of cookies.

      When I married into the family (30 years ago), she gave me her oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe. The staple. The one she made at least once a week.

      But somehow, my cookies never, ever turned out as well as hers. Mine spread over the pan, but hers stayed cookie-like. I blamed it on different ingredients and let my children enjoy Grandma's cookies.

      Fast forward about 28 years, to a not-as-shy and a-little-wiser daughter-in-law (me) who looked at that recipe closely and thought "there's an awful lot of sugar in this recipe". So I made it again, cutting the sugar from 1 cup each brown and white sugar to 2/3 cup each - and Voila! Grandma's cookies.

      Now, I'll never ask my MIL if she wrote the recipe wrong on purpose, but we can all draw our own conclusions....

    3. LOL, Kav!! I'll try it and let you know. I may end up agreeing. :)

      Jan, that story is hilarious!! I seriously wonder if she did that on purpose!!! LOL :) Then again, sometimes it's nice just to send the kids to get food from someone else. :)

    4. Mindy, these look amazing!! And you know, I always eat brownies hot, scooped out of the pan with a spoon. I will do the same with these!!

    5. Kav, believe it or not, the chilies in chocolate is really good. Adds a whole nother dimension, usually without making them too spicy. I think it was the Aztecs that used to combine chili and chocolate.

      At any rate, there is nothing to be afraid of with these brownies. They just take a little extra time.

    6. Jan, I know it's horrible to think this, but can't help wondering if she wrote that down wrong on purpose. You know, so yours would never be as good. That sounds so cynical, I know.

      At least you didn't have to ask her.

    7. Missy, spoon eating these out of the pan would work just fine. Throw in a big glass of milk.... Ahhhh....