Brownie Bar - brownies, caramel chocolate sauce, lemon whipped cream

For this post, I am going way back to my cinco de mayo post where I mentioned about the nacho and brownie bars at the party. I never got around to posting about the brownie bar. I love the idea of a toppings bar at a party. There is something about creating your own special version of the dessert with all the toppings. That might be why I love "Souper Salad". As the name suggests, it is a soup and salad bar; but it also has a dessert bar.

For the brownie bar, I made spiced brownies, salted caramel chocolate sauce, lemon whipped cream and laid out store bought vanilla ice cream and crushed some oreo cookies.
Brownie Sundae

The next day, we ate the leftover brownies, parfait style with layers of brownie, icecream, whipped cream, caramel chocolate sauce and strawberries, topped with the crushed oreos.
Brownie, Strawberries and Icecream

Yes, it was as awesome as it looks.

Spiced Brownie

Everyone should take the journey of finding the perfect brownie texture that works for you. I have seen brownies ranging from cakey to almost melted chocolate in texture. For me the right texture lies somewhere in between, slightly leaning towards the melted chocolate texture. Although my journey is far from complete and I have lots more brownie recipes to try out. But meanwhile, this recipe will be my go-to for the gooey brownie. I adapted the basic cocoa brownie recipe from Smitten Kitchen blog to make it a spiced brownie.

Mexican spiced Brownies

10 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/8 to 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
2/3 cup choppped walnuts *see notes
  • Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a 8 in round cake pan with parchment paper. Make sure the parchment paper hangs over the sides of the pan. That is the way to go if you want your brownies out of the pan (just lift out the parchment paper with the brownies and peel the paper off).
  • Place the butter, cocoa and sugar in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals for one minute. Let it cool slightly.
  • Add the vanilla, salt, cinnamon and paprika. Add eggs one at a time and stir well with a rubber spatula.
  • Add the flour when the batter looks shiny and the eggs are blended in well. Stir in the flour till it is well mixed. Stir in the chopped nuts.
  • Spread the batter evenly into the parchment lined pan.
    Spiced Brownie batter
  • Bake for about 30 minutes. Keep checking after 25 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the middle should be slightly wet with crumbs.
  • Let the brownies cool completely before attempting to cut them. I made them the day before the party and left them in the fridge overnight (covered the pan with plastic wrap) before cutting into pieces.

  • Microwave chopped nuts for a minute to roast them and release the oil a bit.
  • Check the original recipe for more detailed descriptions.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Sauce

I found this recipe which combined salted caramel and chocolate which I thought was a brilliant idea. The combination reminded me of turtle empanadas. We loved the turtle empanadas at "On the border" so much, we used to go there just for them. But they have discontinued them from the menu now and we are kind of heart broken. I mean to try making them at home but that's a story for another time.
This sauce might not be turtle empanadas but it is an awesome sauce nonetheless.

I followed the recipe exactly so I am just going to show the process in pictures instead of writing it down.
  • Sugar,water and corn syrup turning amber.
  • Sugar mixture bubbling violently after hot cream is added.
    caramel sauce
  • Added salt, vanilla and chocolate chips after removing from heat.
    Salted Caramel and Chocolate Sauce
  • Chocolate melted into the sauce.
    Salted Caramel and Chocolate Sauce
  • Covered with plastic wrap and ready to be microwaved the next day for the party.

Lemon Vanilla Whipped Cream

I added lemon to the basic vanilla whipped cream for that extra something. It also goes well with the mexican theme. Although whipping cream seems very basic, it is easy to mess it up. It is very important to keep everything as cold as possible. That means the cream, the bowl and the whisk. The other thing is not to overbeat or else you might end up with butter. If you keep these two points in mind, you can easily make whipped cream at home which tastes much better than anything you could buy in a store.

Cream for whipping
From this
Lemon Whipped Cream
To this

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
  • Place all the ingredients in a cold bowl.
  • Whisk on high speed for 5-10 minutes till medium peaks are formed.

  • Use a metal bowl for whipping. Keep the bowl and whisk in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill them before using them for making whipped cream.
  • Take the cream out of the fridge only when you are ready to whip it.
  • Do not use anything other than heavy cream for whipping.
  • To check for medium peaks, lift the whisk up from the cream and check if a droopy peak forms. If the tip of the peak droops, the cream has reached medium peak consistency. If the peak holds its shape, stiff peak consistency is reached.

I am going to India for a vacation this weekend. In case anyone other than friends and family are reading this blog, posting will be slow for a month or two.


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