Thursday, October 10, 2013

Caramel Kiss Ultimate Brownies

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This is a bittersweet week at work for me. As I prepare for the next chapter with a new job starting in a week or so, I'm also wrapping up my chapter with the current firm I'm at. My last day is Friday and I'm really going to miss so many wonderful people who I've had the pleasure of working with. I love the work I do, the awesome friends I have in the office and I'm really going to miss them. Thankfully, I'm also close with my colleagues outside of work so I'll be able to keep in touch often. It just won't be quite the same. Sigh... So with that, I guess I need to take comfort in something baked goods and take my mind off on my last day in the office with some sweet indulgence. Besides, what is 'Chocolate Week' without a brownie being represented?! The Baron is a big fan of brownies and I'm a big fan of caramel...so why not feature them combined?  These Caramel Kiss Ultimate Brownies take the best of both for a decadent treat. A brownie studded with dark chocolate chips that's been frosted with a chocolate buttercream get a drizzle of buttery caramel and a few caramel kisses for good measure...

Hershey's Kisses come in so many flavors, making it easy to incorporate them into baked goods. This brownie is all about the Caramel Hershey's Kisses. They're halved so all that caramel goodness can come oozing out on top of the brownies, adding even more decadence to each bite. I really liked these brownies because they incorporate cocoa, dark chocolate chips, more cocoa in the frosting and milk chocolate kisses filled with caramel. If you've got a chocoholic you want to surprise, this would be the perfect treat...

Caramel Kiss Ultimate Brownies
recipe adapted from Hershey's

3/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup butter or margarine, melted and divided
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour or GF flour blend*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Chips
Buttercream frosting (recipe follows)


Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together cocoa and baking soda.

Add half of the melted butter and boiling water; whisk together until mixture thickens.

Stir in sugar, eggs, remaining melted butter, vanilla extract and salt; whisk until smooth.

Add flour and chocolate chips, stirring in to blend completely.

Transfer batter into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting.


Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-2/3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup Hershey's Cocoa
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup caramel sauce
1 cup Hershey's Caramel Kisses, cut in half


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and vanilla extract until fluffy.

Add powdered sugar and cocoa alternately with heavy cream, and continue to beat until you get a nice spreading consistency.

Frost brownies as desired.

Drizzle caramel sauce over the frosted brownies and scatter halved caramel kisses over the top to garnish.



*Gluten free flour blend: This is the best combination for my personal uses and has never failed me. I purchased a majority of the ingredients at an Asian market (at less than $.99/lb) and the other ingredients marked were Bob Red Mill brand. Cornstarch was Argo brand. 

300 grams superfine brown rice flour (Bob's Red Mill) 
250 grams sweet rice flour (Asian market) 
150 grams tapioca flour (Asian market) 
100 grams sorghum flour (Bob's Red Mill) 
100 grams potato starch (Asian market) 
100 grams cornstarch (Argo brand) 

Whisk together the above flours and store in an air tight container. To use, measure out 140 grams for every cup called for in your favorite baking recipe (NOT yeast bread recipes.) Add 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum for every cup used in the recipe as well to help with texture and binding. Voila! You can bake gluten free with confidence! 

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