Monday, October 19, 2015

Salted Caramel Brownies

Ok, I just have to be honest. I actually said the word luscious when making these babies. Don't look at this recipe if you feel guilty when you think about ingesting butter. It's not going to be a good ending when you see the amount of butter in these....

BUT, if you're going to share the love, then by all means stick with me. I made these for our monthly family dinner and everyone loved them, adults and kids alike. Well, except for Q...she didn't like her first taste of chocolate. Who boy, I'm not sure if she takes after me, because chocolate and I have always had a good relationship. Maybe not healthy, but I'm giving dark chocolate a chance, so these brownies have antioxidant powers. That's right, they are good for you! Kind of. Maybe it balances it out the butter, sort of.

Anyways, sometimes you need a little guilty pleasure, and it's best if you're sharing. Then everyone else can feel guilty with you. Totally worth it.

On to the recipe. I combined some recipes and took away some ingredients. It all depends what you are looking for. When I think of salted caramel, I want to taste the salt.

So here is my salted caramel brownie recipe:


1 cup crushed pretzels
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup melted butter

8 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Caramel Sauce:
30 caramel candies
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp water

Chocolate Sauce:
3 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp water

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 13"x 9" glass baking dish and set aside. Mix the crust ingredients until mixed thoroughly and butter has moistened all the dry ingredients evenly. Press the crust into the bottom of the greased baking dish and bake for 10 minutes.

2. Melt the chocolate, butter and water over low heat, mixing until melted. Transfer to a mixing bowl.

3. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar, mixing at a low speed until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix on medium speed until smooth.

4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and cinnamon and whisk until evenly combined. Add half of dry ingredients into wet, then mix until combined. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix.

5. Spread the brownie batter on top of the pretzel crust, evenly spread it out. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes. Stick a toothpick in the middle of the brownies and check for wetness. If comes out coated, bake for an extra minute or two and recheck. If dry, pull out and cool.

6. On low heat, melt caramel candies, butter and water until smooth. Using a spoon, drizzle caramel to your heart's content over the brownies. If you like, poke holes into the brownies for the caramel to drain into. Sprinkle kosher salt over the caramel sauce while still warm.

7. On low heat, melt the chocolate, butter and water until smooth. If the sauce is too thick to drizzle easily, you can add more butter and water in small quantities, or you can use a plastic bag to pipe onto the brownies. This step is optional, but tasty.

You must taste test while warm with some vanilla ice cream. That is not optional. :)

This is a great dessert for a potluck, family gathering, or bake sale. Or for when you just want some salted caramel brownies! My mom and hubby have a penchant for salted caramel, so they loved these brownies.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Little of Me

I've been posting on this blog for years now and I've never formally introduced myself (I do apologize).

My name is Tracie, wife to one amazing man and mama to one beautiful little girl. My handsome husband and I have been figuring our way through this great life for almost 4 married years and 7.5 years total. It's amazing to look back and see the people we used to be at the start of our relationship and see who we are now.  It may not seem like a lot of time in the scheme of things but here's a little glimpse of what we have been through:

1 baptism - mine when I was 19!
1 high school graduation - mine - yikes!
2 college graduations
1 engagement
1 wedding
1 puppy - he's now an overgrown puppy at 90+ lbs
4 moves - townhome, tiny apartment, 1st house!, Florida to Michigan (the big daddy)
8 new jobs - 2 were internships
2 deaths - my stepbrother & stepfather

1 road trip
1 birth - our sweet baby girl Quinn <3

The list isn't all inclusive by any means, but it covers the doozies! We have had some severe lows, such as when we lost my stepfather (as well as my stepbrother) to suicide. We have had some amazingly beautiful highs, such as when our baby girl was born on Thanksgiving day last year. She is now a 11 month old with a huge personality. Throughout both the severe lows and happy, happy highs and everything in between we have been transparently His. Our faith in God has steered us through the rollercoaster life has been and will continue to in the years to come.

I hope to share with you the daily triumphs and struggles of life and hopefully encourage you during your ups and downs. I do not pretend to have it all together, but I think we could all use a little more encouragement through the seasons of life. I hope you enjoy my anecdotes and reach out to me when you need a little extra encouragement or if you need a prayer warrior on your side. Expect to see tons of baby pictures (because Quinn is a cutie and every mom should show off her kid:) ) and some favorite recipes here and there. I might even be able to share some tips along the way to figuring out parenthood. But most of all, I hope to encourage you.

One of my favorite bible verses is from Mark 5:41 - "He clasped the girl's hand and said, "Talitha koum," which means, "Little girl, get up."

In the context from Mark 5, the little girl was thought to be dead by her parents and Jesus told them they were wrong, "This child isn't dead, she's sleeping." The people told Jesus he didn't know what he was talking about (sassy!). Jesus proceeded to clasp her hand, tell her to rise and she rose!

We aren't dead, guys, are hearts, souls and minds are asleep. Get up! We can do this! Life is beautiful and so are you.

Fall Fun in Michigan

After uprooting our entire life in Florida and moving to Michigan six weeks ago, we have been in limbo. Limbo is terrible!! We are living with my mom (What on earth would we do without moms?) and everything, except necessities, is in storage. So, we are left without a sense of normal until we can find our home.

Yet, even with it all, family time has been amazing. My entire family lives in Michigan, with the exception of a couple of strays. My mom and I had been part of that group of strays for nine years until we moved back, bringing my husband and daughter along for the ride. Michigan is that kind of state that will always be home, no matter where you may roam.

So, now that we are Michiganders, our licenses and tags say so, we are diving in full force. A couple of weekends ago we went apple picking and to the pumpkin patch. Oh how I have missed a Michigan fall!

The apple picking at Stony Creek Orchard was so fun! Q carried an apple around the whole time we were picking our mixed 1/2 bushel. My sweet hubby was our designated apple picker for those really high ones. He didn't have to jump barely at all. Ah, a life I will never know, since I am only a foot shorter than him.... Oh well, I don't have to bend down when helping Q walk. We all win a little.

There is just nothing like a real pumpkin patch. For the past nine years in Florida, we had gone to a church for pumpkins. While it was great and donated to a great cause, there is nothing like getting your boots all muddy and grabbing your pumpkins right from the vine. We got to enjoy a hayride and pumpkin picking with my mom and my older brother and his family. Q is loving having cousins to play with.

The pumpkin patch at Porter's Orchard in Goodrich was so fun. And let me say that the apple cider and fresh, still hot donuts were so good that Q was baby-birding it. She could not get enough. 

So here's to a new life in Michigan, may it be full of apple cider and donuts and lots of time with family. Wouldn't that be a beautiful life indeed?