Crack Brownies and Showing Love Through Fat and Sugar

Soundtrack: Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ on Audible

I don’t want to read your ramblings, I just want the recipe: Salted Caramel Crack Brownies by Anna Jones

Star Rating: FIVE FUCK YEAH STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

If you want to make people feel simultaneous happy and special, and if you are also interested in being showered with love in return, then this recipe is for you. You can also make these brownies lactose-, gluten- and nut-free and they still taste incredible, meaning you can cater to various intolerances without compromising on the final product.

This is another Anna Jones recipe, and I cannot sing her praises enough. Her vegetarian cook books (‘A Modern Way to Cook‘ and ‘A Modern Way to Eat‘) over-deliver on taste and inventiveness while still being approachable and easy to make.

The reason I first made these brownies was Anna’s own intro to the recipe “Find me someone who doesn’t like these and I’ll deliver you a batch myself.” I have made these probably about 20-30 times and have never had any left over, and in one case someone swiped a whole bunch of them when I took them into work which, while annoying, is definitely high praise.

There is only one tricky bit to these and it’s the only part of the method that I don’t agree with. The caramel for these brownies takes much longer to make than the recipe would suggest, and it took me many attempts before I realised that I had to let the caramel bubble for an additional ~5-10 minutes so that it would set properly.

Also, there is a point during the caramel making process where you add the milk (or milk substitute) to the melted sugar and butter and the cool milk shocks the molten hot sugar and fat combination into a petrified candy ball. DON’T FREAK OUT. The recipe seems to suggest that you just need to put the saucepan back on the stove and in a few minutes it will be thick caramel. Instead, I always have to spend a lot of time beating that ball into submission while the milk warms up (but doesn’t boil) around it. I’ve tried using warm milk and this does help a little, but simply put the temperature at which sugar melts will always be higher than the temperature of the milk added.

Finally – make sure you use BAKING PAPER and never waxed paper to line the shallow tray you’re going to pour the caramel in. I have made this mistake so many times that I threw out my waxed paper (which I can’t recall ever having an actual use for, so I’m guess I bought in error in the first place).

Making the brownie batter is really straight forward and adding the caramel to the brownies is too. It’s also important that you line the pan they’re baking in because these are some sticky brownies.

The recipe says to cook them for 25 minutes, but I always check at 20. The caramel will have turned into molten pools of deliciousness, which can make it difficult to check whether the brownie mixture is cooked underneath. My preference is a consistency that’s like a dense fudge in the middle, with a little crunch around the edges. They will continue to cook when you take them out of the oven so I err on undercooking and they have always turned out great.

And that’s it! Once they’ve cooled they won’t last very long. They are appropriate for all occasions including (but not limited to): Holiday Parties, Break-up Commiserations, ‘Just because’ for your co-workers, Birthdays, Dinner Parties, New Babies… Really for anyone who likes things that taste nice and who you want to make the world a slightly brighter place for a moment.

Old Faithfuls: Seattle Salmon Bowls

Soundtrack: Atlanta Monster, Ep.6

I don’t want to read your ramblings, I just want to make the recipe: Seattle Salmon Bowls

Star Rating: Five reliable fuck yeahs ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Fucking ‘bowls’. For some reason us consumers have fallen prey to this transparent and uninspired form of food marketing that suggests that if we put any old recipe into a bowl it is magically transformed into something new and exciting.

You know what most bowls are? Salads.

And for those from the sweeter end of the spectrum, you know what makes absolutely no fucking sense? Smoothie bowls.

Why would you make a smoothie – arguably one of the lowest maintenance foods around – into a finicky high maintenance affair by requiring someone to eat it with a spoon? It’s madness.

Having said all of that, my friend Debby-Lee sent me this recipe last year and it’s so delicious that I can overlook the ‘bowl’ element. And, in this case, the bowl makes sense because when you mix it all together it forms a balanced, texturally interesting, and downright tasty meal. It’s hard to make this in single servings, which always makes me happy because it means I can eat it two days running #singlelife.

A note on modifications: As I may have mentioned a few times, I will find any and all opportunities to wedge more veggies into a meal, and this is no exception. I roast a head of broccoli cut into florets at 420F for 20 minutes while I’m getting everything else together. Depending on what’s in the fridge, I’ll sauté mushrooms in sesame oil, wilt some spinach, grate some zucchini – whatever’s around. I also use Lotus Food’s Forbidden Rice in place of brown rice, because it is dark and nutty without being too chewy or overpowering and doesn’t take forever to cook like some whole rices.

A word of warning: Be careful how much wasabi you use in the dressing. I LOVE wasabi, but the first time I made this I followed the recipe to the letter and it blew my head off. I still ate the whole meal, but there was an element of physical challenge involved.

Also, depending on preference you should be conservative with the sesame oil. I only add a few drops to the dressing and it’s enough for me. I would find the amount listed in the recipe to be overpowering.

It’s not a show-stopper if you don’t have furikake, but I highly recommend you grab some because that shit is the bomb. It’s made of seaweed, dried fish, sesame seeds, and some other seasonings, and adds a slightly sweet, earthy element to the dish. You may recognize it as the stuff they shake onto your poke bowl that you’ve never really known what it was.

Timing is semi-important to this dish. First, I turn on the oven for the broccoli and let it heat up, and then put the rice on. You have a good 20 minutes where there isn’t much to do as the rice steams and the broccoli roasts, so I use this time to prepare any other vegetables I’m adding to the bowl.

I prefer to wait to cook the salmon until everything else is almost or completely ready. Overcooked salmon is a travesty, but I don’t want it super raw either and getting it just right means you’ll want to dump it directly on top of the other ingredients and start eating. You may be better at time management than me, but after many iterations of this recipe the only way I consistently get it how I want is by leaving the salmon until last.

Do not get discouraged by what may look like a long list of ingredients or by all of the above tips. This is a really easy recipe and much more impressive taste-wise than the effort you’ll put into it. It’s also very good for you, and like totally on trend, so you should definitely try it #bowls