Saturday, June 18, 2011
caramel peanut-topped brownie cake with a twist.
Hands up if you drooled when you saw this caramel peanut-topped brownie cake recipe from Dorie. Ah, I see a lot of hands. Well, good for you! This means that you're human.
I recently managed to purchase some jars (I didn't know if they are suitable for baking but I did it anyway) and my mind kept flashing back to those pictures of cupcake in a jar, pie in a jar... So I combined the two together and there you have it- caramel peanut-topped brownie cake in a jar.
It's unexplainable. Eating out of the jar is just like eating out of a bowl. Just one utensil and a carrier for your calories portable enough to hug close to you, so that the distance from food to mouth is significantly reduced. Is it the laziness of human nature, I wonder?
Baking in a jar is definitely a new thing for me. I made sure I did adequate research and I found that I should never fill a jar with batter more than halfway, among other things. Of course, if the batter is hardly going to rise much, 2/3 of the jar should be fine. That wasn't the case for this recipe though. Despite the fact that I filled each jar only 1/3 of its capacity, it nearly rose to the brim! I had to trim of the tops to make way for the caramel and peanuts. Not that I'm complaining.
But before that, I made a huge terrible unspeakable monstrous mistake! I divided the recipe by 4, to fill just two jars, and I miscalculated the quantity of flour! 1 cup of plain flour is about 140g. Divided by 4, I should get 35g but in my early morning awake-but-not-quite state, I weighed out 45g of flour. One major rule for brownies is to never ever ever put in too much flour. And I broke it. Tragically. The cake was supposed to collapse but because of excess flour, it didn't. Consequently, it was also drier.
To be honest though, I did not expect much out of this brownie. It was more of the novelty of the whole recipe that attracted me. This brownie called for only one source of chocolate- melted bittersweet chocolate, and it is not an outstanding amount either, so I was mentally prepared for a brownie that wouldn't blow my mind off. I've seen recipes calling for three kinds of chocolate in them- cocoa powder, unsweetened chocolate and bittersweet/semi-sweet chocolate (sometimes even chocolate chips) to give the brownies that chocolaty boost, hence my low level of expectation of this one. However, my favourite brownie to date consists of only one form of chocolate- cocoa powder, and yes, it's Alice Medrich's Best Cocoa Brownies. Understandably, cocoa powder packs tons more chocolate punch than just regular melted chocolate, which is why even with just it alone supplying what gives brownies their name, it has a deep chocolaty flavour I associate with fudge. Really good fudge.
I may have cooked my caramel too far- I wanted it to have a rich flavour that you can only get from sufficient cooking but still remain decently fluid. Unfortunately while it wasn't reduced to a hard lump, it was still too sticky for my liking. At least I got good flavour!
Do you notice the huge discrepancy in the size of the two jars? Guess which one is mine. It's the bigger one! The perks of baking the stuff yourself is being able to save the bigger portion for yourself. Sometimes I make bigger ones for myself on purpose too. Shh... Don't tell anyone. But I wonder if you do that too?
Oh yes, one addition I made was to include plumped, juicy raisins into to brownie batter. I love the combination of chocolate, peanuts and caramel!