Really Great Rolo Brownies

Before I start this recipe, apologies for those of you that follow this blog- I realise I haven’t posted in a while! I’ve been trying to eat healthier because, you know, new year, new you etc etc. Hence me trying not to bake so much because when you bake stuff you kind of have to eat it afterwards… shame I know! However, I’ve realised that cutting out sweets and puddings isn’t all that realistic, so I’m trying to aim more towards everything in moderation (plus more exercise!) Although this has meant cutting smaller slices of everything than seems reasonable to a sweet-tooth, it seems to be working so far! I’m under no illusion that this recipe is in the slightest bit healthy, so enjoy, but cut small pieces everyone…

Rolo Brownies

Ingredients

  • 200 g Dark Chocolate
  • 100 g Butter
  • 250 g Caster Sugar
  • 4 medium Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 60 g Plain Flour
  • 60 g Cocoa Powder
  • 150 g Dark Brown Soft Sugar
  • 150 g Butter
  • 397 g Condensed Milk
  • 200 g Milk Chocolate
  • 2 tubes Rolos

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. To make the brownie base, first break up the dark chocolate and melt, then put to the side to cool.
  2. Mix together the butter and caster sugar until fluffy, then add the eggs and vanilla essence, beating well after each addition. Take the melted dark chocolate from before (make sure that it’s not too hot) and add to the mixture. Mix in thoroughly then add the flour and cocoa powder and gently stir in.
  3. Spoon the mixture into a 20 x 25cm brownie tray then spread evenly. Bake in the oven for 20 mins, then place to one side to cool.16667875_10154139957481143_1010361292_o
  4. To make the caramel, heat the dark brown sugar and butter into a non-stick pan, stirring until melted. Then, add the condensed milk and bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Cook for a minute or so until you feel the mixture thicken. Take off the heat and allow to cool a little. The consistency should be as in the picture below- it should hold on the back of a spoon without running off.16651528_10154139957456143_1981830470_o
  5. Once the brownie base has had time to cool, pour the caramel over the brownie, spreading out until you have an even layer of caramel covering all the brownie. Leave to one side until the caramel has cooled completely.
  6. To decorate, melt the milk chocolate and pour over the caramel, spreading evenly and making sure you’re not pressing down too hard when spreading it (I’d use a palate knife or a spatula). Before the chocolate has set, sprinkle on the Rolos and any other decorations you like! I used chocolate chips and garnished with a chocolate pudding sauce (I would have preferred a thinner caramel sauce but I didn’t have any!)16710576_10154139957426143_1883307032_o
  7. Allow the top layer to set, then cut into slices and serve!

Handy Hints

Making the caramel- make sure that you use a non-stick pan for this. If you don’t because, like me, you’re thinking ‘meh, it doesn’t really matter’ then you’ll end up with black little dots in your caramel, which are little burnt bits of sugar. Tastes ok, but not ideal!

Setting time- It is important with the caramel and the chocolate, to let each layer cool before you add the next one. I realise this means patiently waiting, but if the layer you’re tying to add to is still hot then the two layers will just mash together.

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Salted Caramel Sauce

Hi everyone! I feel like I haven’t written up a ‘proper recipe’ in ages on this blog, so I want to start this blog by promising to post one soon! This one is a recipe but unfortunately isn’t a cake or pudding or anything, as over the past week devoured quite a lot of cake and still have lots to spare! Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t just how I spend my time- it was just a consequence of having a birthday and a dissertation deadline on the same day. So, due to the excess of cake I have at the minute, I decided to do a more different recipe for this post and in the process, face one of my nemesis’s- caramel.

The inspiration to try out this recipe, although I aim to utilise the product in a more healthy way, actually came from the brainwave that I could make the chocolate brownies I was made by my flatmate more unhealthy by drizzling caramel sauce on top of them. It could be also used to form a caramel sauce to add to the centre of brownie or cake recipes, or even as the caramel layer in my Millionaire’s Cheesecake recipe. However, this sauce could be also used for more healthy snacks, for example as a sauce for dipping apples in, as used in the recipe I found on this blog. I was a little scared about trying this recipe, given a slightly disastrous track record with caramel, so it may not have turned out as well as in the recipe, but it’s still a good consistency although it is thinner than it perhaps should be. Still, I’m proud that I didn’t burn it to the pan, and it still tastes good!

Salted Caramel Sauce

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (very unhealthy I know!)
1/2 cup water
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoons salted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Method
1. Put the sugar and water in a saucepan over a medium- high heat (I put my hob on 4/6). Boil the mixture until it reaches a medium amber colour (it takes roughly 12-15 minutes). Don’t stir it while it boils, shake the pan instead to stop the sugar sticking. I think I took my pan off the heat a little early, so the picture below gives an idea of how it should look a shade lighter than when it should be taken off the heat.
2. When the mixture has reached the amber colour, take the pan off the heat and add the cream. It will bubble up a lot but don’t panic- that’s fine. Whisk the mixture then add the butter, vanilla essence and the salt and whisk until the mixture is smooth and all the ingredients have combined.
3. Leave to cool, either in the pan, or transferred into a measuring jug so it will be easier to pour into containers. Once the mixture has combined, transfer to containers and keep refrigerated.

Handy Hints
Amber colour- My mixture looked like this:
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Adding the cream- don’t panic if your mixture lumps up and forms a tough caramel. Mine did the same, but I salvaged it by putting it back on the heat and whisking it for a minute. I realise this is probably what caused mine to be thinner than it should be, but it means that all is not lost.
Cooling- The mixture takes a while to thicken, meaning that when you first leave it to cool it will be a fair bit runnier than it will be once it’s cooled.

If anyone has any advice on how best to judge when the sugar and water are ready for the cream, please comment and let me know because I struggle to get it just right! Enjoy!

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The Best Brownies

Hi everyone! Before I start this post properly I’d just like to say a big well done to everyone who got their A level results and GCSE results in the past two weeks! My sister was among the terrified sixth formers waiting to desperately log on to UCAS to find out whether she’d got into uni or not, something I remember all too well! I’m very happy to say that she got great results and got into her first choice! I do want to quickly say to any of you reading who may not have got the results they were hoping for that it’s OK and that you’ll love whichever uni you end up going to when you get there! Don’t lose confidence, keep your head held high and don’t give up on your goals.

So, cheesy bit of this post over, the A-level commotion got me thinking about the first recipe I baked in my new flat, for my new flatmates at Lancaster uni, which was my favourite brownie recipe. Brownies are super easy to make and aren’t that expensive, and I happen to have what I believe to be the best brownie recipe I’ve ever found! I’m yet to meet anyone that doesn’t love these brownies, including my brother who’s quite selective about which puddings he likes (strange boy!). So, although this recipe has only been given to a select few (I like to call them ‘the chosen ones’) before, here I am publishing it for all of you. The thing I love most about these brownies is the fudgy centre and gooey quality to them- they’re quite rich which makes them good for sharing as they cut into slightly smaller pieces (if you want to share, no judging if you don’t!).

The Best Brownies:
The recipe for these brownies comes from a cookbook called ‘Divine: Heavenly chocolate recipes’ which is an amazing recipe book produced by Divine chocolate (a brilliant Fairtrade chocolate brand). I’m a big supporter of Fairtrade, so when I got this book I had high hopes, and it didn’t disappoint! There’s even some savoury chocolate recipes in there for you brave ones…
http://www.divinechocolate.com/uk/shop/chocolate-for-baking/heavenly-chocolate-recipes-heart

Baking time: 20 mins
Production time: 15/20 mins
Cost: £3.11

Ingredients:
200g Dark chocolate (unsurprisingly Divine’s dark chocolate is really good for this, but that’s not the chocolate I used to calculate the price- sorry!)
100g Butter, softened
250g Caster Sugar
4 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
60g Plain Flour
60g Cocoa Powder

This recipe fits into a 20.5 x 25.5cm baking tin, which needs to be greased and lined with greaseproof paper.

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
2. Melt the chocolate (it says in the recipe to do it over a bowl of water but I just melt it in the microwave). When it’s smooth and completely melted, put it on one side until needed.
3. Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the vanilla essence. At this point, it’ll look a bit runny- don’t panic!
4. Add the cooled melted chocolate and mix in thoroughly (this is the bit where it starts to look a bit more appetising). Add the flour and cocoa powder to the mixture and gently stir in.
5. When all the ingredients are completely combined, spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and spread the mixture evenly (using the back of a metal spoon seems to work best for that).
6. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. It should be firm to touch but still be a bit fudgy. If they’re done, they’ll have a thin chocolate-y crust on the top which is lighter then the middle. Take them out of the oven and leave to cool, as the chocolate will continue to cook a bit when you’ve taken them out of the oven.

Handy Hints:
Accompaniments- These go great with ice cream, or cream if you’re more into cream on its own. They’re great if you eat them slightly warm with ice cream (if they’re not fresh, stick them in the microwave for about 10 seconds).
After Eight Brownies- A great addition to these is to make minty brownies. You’ll need a box of After Eights as well as the normal recipe ingredients. All you need to do to make these is alter the bit where you put them in the tin. Instead of adding all the mixture to the tin, add half and smooth it down. Then line up the mints in lines on top of this layer of brownie and add the rest of the brownie mixture on top, making sure that you cover all the mints.
Chocolate chips- These taste great with some chocolate chips, I tend to add white chocolate ones, but make sure they’re cut into small pieces as these brownies are quite thin.
Portions- These cut into about 20/25 pieces.

I’m very sorry I don’t have a picture of these- the last time I made them they got eaten before I could snap a picture! Next time I make them I’ll add a picture to this page!