Vegetarian food blog featuring nourishing home cooked recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Cornish Salted Caramel Brownies

Salted caramel and brownies are two of my favourite things, so what could be better than combining them both? Not much as it turns out!

Two splendid Cornish products came into play here and were, in large part, responsible for these delectable treats. I muscled in on a Twitter conversation between Cornish Sea Salt and Rodda’s  just when pictures of sea salted brownies were being shown. Well that was it, I had to make some. So I did, a few weeks ago now. I pretty much used the same recipe as I did for the Marmite Caramel Brownies I came up with last year, but the method was different and obviously I didn’t use Marmite. I wanted to make a brownie batter using a rich dark chocolate so as to make a good foil for the sweet salted caramel. Rather than sandwiching the caramel as I’d done previously, I decided to swirl it through the batter.

There is no way to describe these brownies other than sublime. The caramel, which had the tang of honey, was perfectly salted and created a squidgy interior with a chewy toffee crust. Despite their deliciousness, CT and I weren’t able to eat them all at one sitting and they lasted us over the next few days. By this time they had taken on the consistency of fudge – two for the price of one, my oh my! I served these with Rodda’s clotted cream custard, which happened to go perfectly, both when the brownies were warm and when they were cold. Despite the rugged terrain and unpredictable weather, we’re quite a decadent lot in Cornwall.

I am sending these off to Javelin Warrior for his Made with Love Monday.

I am also sending them to Emily over at A Mummy Too for her #recipeoftheweek.

Many thanks to Cornish Sea Salt for sending me a tub of their new flakes to try out and to Rodda’s for the custard. You can see my review of these products on the Cornish Cornucopia post.


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Cornish Sea Salted Caramel Brownies

by -19-2014
If you like sweet and salt together you will love these brownies.
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp Cornish sea salt
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 200 ml double cream
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 150g dark chocolate 85%
  • 200g dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs (I used duck eggs)
  • 95g self-raising flour
  • 5g cocoa powder
Instructions
1. Melt the honey and salt in a pan over medium heat, then slowly add the sugar and leave for a few minutes to melt and lightly caramelise.2. Heat the cream in another pan to just about boiling.3. When the sugar has reached a golden caramel colour, add the cream, standing well back in case of spitting. Stir vigourously and continue to cook for a few minutes until the caramel is thick and golden but still liquid. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.4. Melt the butter and chocolate in a large pan over low heat. 5. Remove from the heat, add the sugar and stir. Beat in the eggs one by one, then sift in the dry ingredients.6. Stir until just combined, then pour the mixture into a 20 cm square mould (line as appropriate).7. Spoon the cooled caramel over the top, then swirl the mixture around to create a ripple effect – it will look very liquid at this point, but don’t worry.8. Bake at 180°C for 25 minutes until well risen with only a slight wobble. Scattered over a large pinch of Cornish sea salt flakes.
Details

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 12

The Hub Cafe – Liskeard’s Hidden Gem

Way way back, when we first moved to Liskeard, there was a move to create a community centre in a recently vacated primary school. Politics was very much in evidence, but eventually disputes were resolved, the community brought on board and money raised. We now have the Liskerrett Centre, a wonderful community asset which hosts a number of artists studios, a computer suite, a monthly cinema, all sorts of events, rooms for hire and The Hub Cafe.

The Hub Cafe has been quietly producing good vegetarian food at very reasonable prices for the last few years and those in the know are highly appreciative. Cathy Ross, the cook and owner of the business provides a varied lunchtime menu, all chalked up on a blackboard, as well as coffee, tea and of course homemade cake. Different diets are catered for with gluten and dairy free options. Whenever possible Cathy uses produce from the Liskerrett garden; you can’t get much more local than that. The ambience is welcoming and family friendly. It’s the sort of place you’d feel comfortable at whether eating alone, with a group, accompanied by young children or wanting a cosy tete a tete. Although the cafe stops serving at 14:00, because it is the community centre, you can finish off your food, drink and talk in a leisurely fashion and won’t be thrown out.

Cathy herself is also an artist and her work, along with a few others, is exhibited around the cafe; this adds to the general interest in the room. The space is bright with large windows and lots of well tended plants which adds to the convivial atmosphere. There are newspapers and magazines to read and plenty of toys to keep the young ones amused. If bored with the adult conversation, older children can slope off to the IT suite where use of the computers is free.

My blogging neighbour Jane from The Hedge Combers and I met up at The Hub Cafe for lunch one day recently, to have a chat and to review the cafe.

Being vegetarian, it is such a pleasure to be offered a choice; it always takes me a while to figure out what to have. There was of course soup, but I make soup all the time at home, so wanted something a bit different. So what to go for? Feta tart, homity pie, lentil fritters, a burger …? Most of the mains come with a selection of salads so I knew I would get a goodly proportion of my five a day.

After a little bit of head scratching, I opted for the bean burger and Jane went for a lentil fritter. The lentil fritter normally comes with yogurt sauce, but Jane doesn’t eat dairy. However, it was a simple matter for Cathy to swap this for the same tomato sauce that accompanied my burger. Our plates arrived, full to the brim. They looked colourful, vibrant and enticing. I really like having lots of different tastes and textures to try and this felt like getting an all in one tapas or mezze. There was coleslaw, mixed salad, two rice salads, couscous, a pasta salad and a bean salad. All of it was delicious. The bean burger was very soft and I don’t think would have survived being in a bun. However, this was not a problem as it came bunless and with plenty of spicy tomato sauce. All this for £5.95.

As an occasional customer, I knew what to expect, but it was all new to Jane. Thankfully, she seemed delighted, both with the venue and the food. Full after her meal, she watched me consume a large piece of chocolate cake. Now, I’m always a little wary of eating cake in cafes as I am often disappointed with the quality, but as part of the review process I just had to give it a go. I’m so glad I did. This wasn’t any old chocolate cake, although I’m sure Cathy doesn’t make that sort of cake anyway, no, this was a chocolate potato cake. Yes, a cake made with potatoes. Served warm with cream, it was truly delicious. The potato gave it a lovely smooth consistency, so it almost melted in the mouth and it tasted of chocolate. The cake was covered with a rich dark chocolate ganache and then topped with white and milk chocolate curls. This was one piece of chocolate cake I wasn’t in the least bit disappointed with. Cathy was kind enough to give me the recipe, so you may well see a chocolate and potato cake appearing on the blog in the not too distant future.

If ever you are passing Liskeard, I would strongly recommend popping into The Hub Cafe for a bite to eat. And if you’re local, I would hope you are already a regular.

Thanks to Cathy for the meal. I was not required to write a positive review and as always all opinions are my own.

Nectarine Amaretto and Pecan Slice

Traybakes | 3rd April 2014 | By

 As some of you may remember, on Valentine’s Day, I received a fabulous tray of South African stone fruit from Beautiful Country Beautiful Fruit. As well as just enjoying the fresh fruit which was such a treat at a rather dull time of the year, I used them in a number of delicious bakes. This nectarine Amaretto and pecan slice, I adapted from the chilli and chocolate mincemeat slice I made the Christmas before last. I added pecans and dark chocolate chips to the mix and used nectarines marinaded in Amaretto as the filling.

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Betty’s Chocolate Otter – Review and Giveaway #46

Well, Easter will soon be upon us and what could be more delightful than to receive a cheeky chocolate otter showing off with the fish he’s just caught? I fell in love with him as soon as I saw him on Bettys website. He reminds me of the film Ring of Bright Water which I shed so many tears over as a child; I expect I would again if only I could bring myself to watch it.

An enormous box duly arrived in the post – my otter! He came so well wrapped, it was like pass the parcel. As I peeled back each layer, I kept thinking I had arrived, only to find another one and then another. But it was just as well, it would have been very sad to have spoiled the beauty of this gorgeous beast. A handful of broken chocolate shards in a bag just wouldn’t have cut the mustard.

I so didn’t want to break this lovely creature up and seriously contemplated keeping him for ornamental purposes. But this was a review and I did need to try the chocolate. Now this otter weighs in at a grand 430g so I wasn’t sure quite how thick the chocolate was and how I was going to break into him. After ceasing the rolling pin and putting it down again a few times, I hardened my heart and gave him a bash on the back – oh dear! He wasn’t hard to break. The top half of the otter was thin skinned and he sat on a very thick and solid bottom.

Once broken into, I pulled myself together and grabbed a bit of otter. I’m always rather tentative with milk chocolate, because although it’s my favourite, I appreciate a high cocoa content and don’t like it too sweet. As with the other Bettys products I’ve tried, I was not disappointed. Do have a look at Bettys Dark Chocolate Selection and Bettys Christmas Gugelhupf. The chocolate tasted of chocolate and melted smoothly on the tongue releasing noticeable caramel tones – it was delicious.

An otter isn’t just for Easter you know. Although he’s perfect to eat at any time of year, I feel he has a certain spring like quality. I’m assuming, of course, he is a he – I didn’t check that carefully.  Made by hand from Swiss chocolate with 38% cocoa solids, this beats your average Easter egg hands down. At £20, he isn’t cheap, but quality will out. If you don’t fancy an otter Bettys has plenty of other Easter and spring time treats available via their online shop.

Thanks to Bettys for the chocolate otter. There was no requirement to write a positive review and as always all opinions are my own.

Giveaway
Bettys have kindly agreed to give one of my readers a milk chocolate otter too. To be in with a chance of winning, please fill in the Gleam widget below. You will need to leave a comment on this post which then gives you additional chances to enter if you so wish. Gleam will pick a winner at random from the entries received. If you are commenting anonymously, please give me some way of identifying you as I will be verifying the validity of entries. Any automated entries will be disqualified. This giveaway is only open to those with a UK postal address. Winners will need to respond within 7 days of being contacted. Failure to do this may result in another winner being picked.

Prizes are offered and provided by Bettys and Chocolate Log Blog accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of said third party.
Closing date is Wednesday 30 April 2014

Do take a look at the Chocolate Log Blog giveaway page to see if there is anything else you would like to enter.

Bettys Milk Chocolate Otter