Tag Archives: #MarthaBakes

hard caramel dots with sea salt

#MarthaBakes Caramel Dots

Wow, it’s been a few months since I’ve written up a Martha Stewart recipe but it always seems a bit too hot to be baking up a storm during the summer. Now that fall is starting to creep in, spending days inside doesn’t seem so blasphemous.

I was recently longing for a sweet treat but didn’t feel like leaving the house to go purchase some cookies or something, so I turned to Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook for an easy recipe.

I came across these caramel dots, which are actually part of a sub-recipe for cake decorations, but who needs a whole cake when you can just eat some caramel?

Additionally, the recipe was super simple: sugar, water, lemon juice!

Step 1: Mix sugar and water and lemon juice.

water and sugar in the pot
water and sugar in the pot

Step 2: Heat until it turns into caramel

bubbling sugar
bubbling sugar

Step 3: Drizzle bits of caramel onto parchment paper* and let cool

*When the caramel was still hot (and PS it was really hot – I burnt my finger and it blistered because the caramel stuck to it and I couldn’t get it off – so don’t touch it!) I pinched bits of black sea salt on top to make a sweet-salty dessert.

stained glass-looking caramel dot
stained glass-looking caramel dot

Thoughts on this recipe:

  1. I don’t have overly processed white sugar, only pure cane sugar which is pretty coarse. I think this resulted in too grainy a caramel.
  2. These dots are super hard candies. Definitely more of a sucking candy. Next time I would add a tablespoon or two of butter to make the texture creamier and try for a chewier caramel.
  3. The ones with sugar tasted a lot more interesting and less overwhelmingly JUST SUGAR than the regular ones.
  4. The caramel dots were quite pretty – almost like stained glass.

This recipe definitely served the purpose of sating a sweet tooth and would look good on a cake, but one or two was enough.

hard caramel dots with sea salt
hard caramel dots with sea salt

Verdict: Have I ever said something was TOO sugary? This might be the first time.

Okay, time to capitalize on this dark rainy day to make chocolate chip oatmeal cookies!! 🙂

 

ingredients for brownies

#MarthaBakes Brownies

Did you know #MarthaBakes is a well-known and highly used hashtag on Instagram? I didn’t when I started this project, but now I follow it regularly to see what other home cooks are up to as they also delve into baking and cooking adventures with Martha Stewart. And there is always the potential that the folks at Martha Stewart might choose your photo to be featured on their own Instagram feed if you are using their hashtag. But typically only if your food photos are really amazing….I’m working on it.

Needing a pot-luck offering, I turned to Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook for a brownie recipe, and found her “Fudgy Chocolate Brownies” which, as she states in the intro, are meant to be dense and fudge-like and less like a chocolate cake. Well, she nailed it. No surprise though.

After melting the requisite amount of dark chocolate and adding the sugar and seemingly a lotta eggs (4), my arm was pretty much going to fall off from trying to “whisk” this super dense, thick batter.

 

And I hadn’t even added the flour yet.

In terms of the flour, to make the brownies even richer, I subbed out 2 tablespoons of flour for 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. I did a small amount of research ahead of time to see if I could make the straight substitution or if I would have to add/subtract other ingredients. What I generally found (since there are so many differing opinions out there on the internet) was that if you stick with a minimal amount (under 2 tablespoons), a straight substitution will be fine. It’s once you get into large quantities that you may need to add more moisture (as the cocoa powder absorbs more moisture than flour) or different leavening agents.

Since this recipe had 0 leavening agents (no baking soda, powder, cream of tartar, etc), I decided not to worry about that. The ingredient list was lovely and simple and what one wants in a homemade baked good: butter, sugar, eggs, chocolate, flour, vanilla and salt. Done.

Never having baked this recipe as written, I can’t say whether the addition of the cocoa powder helped or harmed it, but overall the outcome was moist, deeply dark chocolatey brownies. And the crispy corners were definitely the best part, so when I make brownies again, I might have to get one of these contraptions to bake it in: all brownies are corner pieces!!