Baking definitely brings out the worst in me…
Here are 3 reasons why:
1. Impatience: As soon as these babies hit the fiery furnace, I suddenly revert to being an overly excited kid who has nose constantly pressed up against the screen of the oven, compulsively on the contents within every 2 minutes or so...
I’m 99.9% convinced that the slowest 35 minutes of all time, ever occurs whilst caramelized Dulce de Leche is laid to bake with buttery chocolate chips and daintily browned, sugary butter, like so:
Even the rooms of the house become helplessly weak-kneed and start to surrender to the waft of the sweet and crumbly, gooey pea-nutty goodness that is so totally happening right here, and right now in our oven. (Past tense).
“Are they ready yet?”
“Are they ready yet?”
“Are they ready yet?”
It didn’t ease the anticipation much, seeing as only other company I had today was that of my 16 year old brother (6”4 with the appetite of a buffalo experiencing a major growth spurt) - who turned out to be equally enchanted by this strange sweetness that was mysteriously oozing out of the kitchen and upwelling into his room…his equally eager presence simply made the wait yet more prolonged….
As a result, we ended up diving into this beautifully warm and sticky, gooey, molten mess just a little too early...
It was bound to happen.
My heart shattered a little as my perfectly baked babies irreversibly decided to explode molten chocolate caramel all over them-selves. As a result, the pictures turned out slightly stripped of their natural beauty and the prospect of a square cut presentation became slightly doomed (as you can see)…
We desperately turned to the freezer for help. Into the ice they went; the garden peas, emergency Warburton’s buns and a whole tray of ice cubes sacrificed themselves in the process. (What mum doesn’t know won’t hurt her…)
You can probably gather the moral of the story…gracefully waiting out the 35 minutes of life in slow motion = totally worth it if you want those happy + healthy Caramellos that have just swallowed up your peanut butter and precious 100g of chocolate chips.
I definitely should have listened to Josh…
Josh: My brother, Drake - he's all about immediate gratification.
Drake: [points to the oven] There's brownies in there, and I want 'em.
Josh: They'll be ready in about... 25 more minutes. And you know what? They'll be worth the wait.
Drake: I am not waiting. [puts an oven mitt on and gets the brownies out]
Josh: Ya see, Drake's gonna learn something tonight. He's gonna learn that some things are just worth waiting for.Drake: [tasting the batter] Ohhhhhhhhhhh…. it's like…. warm brownie soup…
Josh: You realize that patience is a virtue.
Drake: My god, why didn't I do this like five minutes ago? [a blue arrow wooshes and goes to the upstairs window, then a green arrow wooshes]
For any of you who have watched the ‘Demonator’ episode, this will be one of those unforgettable J+D opening scenes. Also, extra brownie points to any of you who understand the ‘arrow wooshing’ part too! I’m getting so many childhood memories just thinking about it! I miss that show so much!
2. Indecisiveness: My total in ability to make a rational win-win decision flies totally out of the window when the time rolls around to actually crack down on a recipe. Chocolate? Peanut butter? Caramel? Cinnamon? Coffee? Chocolate, cocoa? Chocolate?! Cookies sounded like a great idea, but just a tad too mainstream for today…Bars are so easy to make. But how do we fit all of the cravings into a single tray bake without leaving anyone behind?
If you can’t beat them, join them…
So I did.
I beat them eggs into that mixture compromised of every single ingredient that had been dancing around in my mind:
· Peanut butter! Swoon.
· Butter, like, duh.
· Chocolate – he without the substitute.
· Caramel – Folds of substituted luxury (The Dulce de Leche worked wonders in place of condensed milk)
· Toffees, melted (and yes, you heard that right) - simply cuz I can, and simply cuz I shouldn’t…
· Brown sugar, somewhere, somehow. Dem moist molasses…
· Mars bars: AKA: The urge. The stars of the show. Totally gotta get me some nougat, asap.
Keep scrolling down to the recipe where you can see how these sweet dreams actually managed to become a blissful reality.
Still, I must confess that since I was so ridiculously keen to get going , pretty much 70% of the cup ratios were pretty much made up right on the spot and/or jotted down in between spoon switches and the frequent pings of the microwave melts. Impatience strikes again.
Amazingly, however they turned out pretty damn fabulously…
3. My diabetic destiny: Given that type 2 diabetes has gone absolutely haywire in my mum’s side of the family, I probablyyyyyyy shouldn’t be taking these devilish peanut butter brownies - both spiked with mars bars and laced with triple chocolate & toffee so swiftly into But YOLO. I guess I just liked the clever alliteration of diabetic trait number 3 a bit more than the actual idea of it…
Because FYI, since these brownies (AKA Caramellos - which clearly don’t have a consistent name) are made with 100% natural butter, dark chocolate, organic sugars and the protein, as well as magnesium packed peanut butter (just for starters)…I totally defend the health and nutrition side of them and THUS, I shall continue defending the vital role that they play in a healthy + balanced diet.
These Caramellos are an insanely rich kind of soul food...the kind to be promoted.
I could swear that the taste actually changes depending on whether or not they are consumed with a fork, spoon or with sticky fingers….or when served with different flavours of ice cream…*note to self*.
What me and my family noticed most as we sunk our teeth into these blocks of caramelized & fudgey-like lava, was that they actually tasted way more like Snickers bars than they did Mars bars.
They tasted significantly more like Snickers bars than any Mars bar which I’ve ever eaten.
If anything, they basically are Snickers brownies smothered in crunchy peanut butter and stuffed with excessive caramel, heat and goo. Perfection, I think not?
Although the toffee +caramel pooled inside definitely does makes itself obvious in the flavour, the peanut butter + the general texture reminded us way more of Snickers bars than anything else! I reckon that this is because I had chucked in the super crunchy, whole nut kind of peanut butter which has a grainier and more earth kinda taste to it, as opposed to one which was more smooth + refined. It’s easy to tell how the tastes between brands differ so much, so if you prefer smoother + creamier bars, then definitely go for your favorite brand of smooth pb!
Patience aside (nice one) because the wait is over! Here I present to you the recipe for these botched up, invented by chance + ultimately patience testing:
Peanut Butterscotch Caramello Mars Bars….
· 2 Small/1 Large egg
· 1 TBSP Vanilla
· 1 tsp baking soda/bicarbonate of soda (not powder)
· 3/4C butter, salted.
· 1/4C white granulated sugar
· 3/4C brown sugar
· 100g/1C of dark chocolate drops. Alternatively, just put any leftover chocolate into a food processor and hit the ON button.
· 3/4C peanut butter – smooth is probably better, but don’t use all natural/homemade – since you really do need the yummy emulsifiers of processed pb if you want the peanut butter to actually hold the recipe together.
I also added 2 tbsp of Greek yogurt because it makes stuff moist. I'm not sure what difference it made, but it's worth putting it in :)
· 1C white flour.
· Sprinkle of cinnamon.
· Throw some oats in if you want for extra texture. E.g. 1/2C, but you may need to up the wet ingredients proportionally depending on how stiff your batter is.
· Optional: I added appx 5 tbsp of cocoa powder – which is what made the Caramellos look like brownies. I had originally planned to make them look more like cookie dough (which has more distinguished layers) but the cocoa turned out to be last minute that was actually worthwhile in the end…so it is definitely recommended…
· 2 tsp instant coffee powder – the spontaneous ingredient. You definitely cannot taste this in the final product – the idea is that it brings out the full flavour of the cocoa. This is pretty standard for any brownie recipe. Again, recommended.
· 3-6 snack sized Mars bars/supermarket equivalent.
For the caramel dousing sauce
· 1 x 250g pack of those supremely chewy vanilla toffees which every confectionery aisle has. My entire bag cost 29p from Asda - your argument is invalid.
· 4 tbsp butter.
· Optional, 3-5 tbsp of Dulce de Leche (It’s pretty expensive, about £3.70 for a jar – though I only bought it because it was new to me and constituted as an impulse buy of the eye candy kind).
· If you cba with the above. Just get a can of condensed milk and mix it with 4 tbsp of butter over a high heat for your caramel sauce.
1. Wet: cream the butter + sugars together. Add the peanut butter and the rest of the wet ingredients.
2. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry at the same time, gradually adding the eggs to get a proper bind.
3. Line a 9x13 inch baking dish with parchment paper.
4. Spoon half of the chocolate cookie dough into the dish
5. Chop up the Mars bars and throw them on top of the half of the dough inside the dish.
6. For the sauce, melt the toffees with the butter + dulce de leche (or condensed milk recipe). Stir and pour evenly over the first layer of chocolate cookie dough.
7. For the third layer, spoon the remaining dough/batter on top of the caramel sauce. Smooth it out as best as you can.
8. Bake at 176*C in a pre-heated oven for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes after switching the oven off – this will help it to crisp up. (Use your judgment as to when to do this)
9. Don’t do what I did. Wait for it to cool completely before cutting them into squares, getting sticky and ruining the photo’s that could have been…
10. Serve with ice cream if you are eating them whilst they are still warm though! The combo of crumbly goo with firm, rounded cream is immense. Vanilla yogurt goes great too though.
Otherwise, they definitely do fudge-ify after having been left out for a few hours and are fab by themselves with some milky, milky breakfast tea (the best kind of tea).
How many can you manage?
P.S. in America Mars Bars = Milky Ways, and vice versa in the UK. I wonder how the inverse combo would turn out though.
Are there any other good combinations out there that you know of?
I also have seen so many recipes for brownies topped with salted caramel pretzels!
I was so tempted to do that here too, but clearly patience was running way too low today...
Thanks for reading!