Dulce de Leche Blondies

Sunday, January 16, 2011 - 
Cooking or baking can be theraputic.  This past weekend, I needed some therapy.  On a sad note, one of our hedgehogs, Erbert, passed away on Friday.  Though this is sad, I experienced something worse when I received the call two days later about my aunt.  She was caring, loving and always smiling.  Many people loved her and she had a lot of love to give - she'll absolutely be missed.  While wrapping my head around all of us, I found myself in the kitchen.  As we hadn't gone grocery shopping yet for the weekend (which we ended up not doing due to the trip to Wisconsin), I found that I had little to work with except for baked goods.

Due to some strange reason, many of my friends think that I'm a baker.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, it isn't my strong suit.  All the measuring and timing, sometimes it is just more than I want to think about while I'm in the kitchen.  However, by friends request, I was informed I'd be bringing some desserts for an evening potluck (pitch-in, etc., whatever you call it, it works for me).  The timing was perfect for some baking and I began with some of Tim's favorite brownies, Ducle de Leche Blondies.

I had found this recipe in a $4 cookbook entitled, "The Cookie Bible," which I had bought when I first moved to Indy six years ago. I've used it maybe 3 times, and this is a recipe I've made twice now.  They are sweet, full of caramel flavor while holding up the brownie name.

I began by prepping the oven at 350 degrees and then greasing a 13x9 pan.  I sifted the flour, baking soda and salt together and set them aside.  Then, I turned to the mixer to beat the butter and sugar until creamy.

Slowly, I added the eggs and vanilla.  I like to crack the eggs into a separate bowl and add one by one.  This guarantees no egg shells and blends all of the ingredients together thoroughly.  Then, slowly add in the flour mixture (while of course turning down the speed so you don't end up covered in flour.)

Pour 2/3 of the batter into the greased pan, spreading it out as you go.  This bakes for 7-8 minutes - it won't be completely done, just partial, so don't be surprised by this.  Cool it for a few minutes on a wire rack (it helps for ventilation underneath the ban if you wonder why people say to use a wire rack.)

All during this baking process, I started on the caramels.  Taking a small saucepan, melt the caramels (which husband has helped you unwrap without any type of sighing of course) in evaporated milk on low heat.  

Once these are melted (of course, you've resisted sticking your finger into the hot liquid to taste the sweetness) and the baked brownies are cooled for a bit, pour the caramels over the baked layer.  Take the remaining batter and drop dollops over the caramel layer - swirl with knife.  You can swirl as little or as much as you like - I like to get it throughout the whole pan so each bite has a good combination of the flavors.  Then, bake 25 more minutes or until golden brown.

  •  2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tea. baking soda
  • 1 tea. salt
  • 1 c. unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tea. vanilla
  • 14 oz. caramels (one package)
  • 1/2 c. evaporated milk

These brownies are addictive.  The first time I made them, I didn't put enough of the batter down for the first layer, so instead of a soft, chewy brownie I ended up with a crunchier type of bar.  The taste was still there, but the texture was off.  I shrug my shoulders to this because I liked both versions to be honest.  And I guess others did too, because there weren't any left over after I brought them to work.  Another piece of advise, don't cut them big - since they are so sweet, I advise on small squares (think 1 inch, or at max 1.5 inches).

Lots of love to my family and thank you for all the kind thoughts and words our friends have given us.  Every day will get easier we know, and we appreciate your support.  But I'm back and moving forward - thanks for understanding the week of silence.  And for those wondering - Gerbert is just fine - personally, I think he is enjoying not sharing the food or his sleeping hut.