Browned Butter Salted Caramel Blondies
Sunday night. And I’ve got a case of the Sunday Scaries special edition: early Monday morning flight. So I am doing my best to binge watch as many Gilmore Girls episodes as humanly possible. Because how can you have anxiety about Monday when entertained by the comedic fast-talking of Lorelai, Luke and Rory in the cozy made-up-town of Stars Hallow, Connecticut. Which is nothing like the ghetto of southern Connecticut which I actually grew up in. In the hometown of the wiffle ball.
So let’s get right to the baking, and I’ll include a recap of my adventure-filled first week of work with some pictures below. I was perusing the interweb this morning trying to figure out if I was going to bake and what would be something easy to bake. You see, I don’t know if TSA agents like cookies. I also don’t know if I am skilled enough to find a way to bring any baked goods through security and get them on a flight to Philly without having them be confiscated or just end up super smushed by the time I got to work. And let’s be clear, if I am going to let my new coworkers know about my super fantastic baking skillz, I am not going to show up with some half smushed cookies. I am the real deal. But this week I have to travel the full week, so I need the extra potential-cookie-space in my carry-on for gym clothes I might not use and 2 pairs of work shoes I will also probably never use. So I needed to bake something that if I found someone to give to, great, but if these end up going uneaten (minus my taste tester cookie) then I wouldn’t be heartbroken. I debated some new take on rice krispie, but then I rummaged through my baking drawer and found these Kraft caramels I forgot that I had, so salted caramel was on my mind. Now that I’ve made these, and they are really good, but I didn’t end up getting them done in time to give them to someone, I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with them. Either freeze them to potentially use in an ice cream recipe or something. Or maybe I’ll shove them in my bag and attempt bringing them to Philly. Only time will tell.
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter (browned or melted)
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 15 caramel candies, unwrapped and cut into fourths
- Sprinkle of se salt
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 glass baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside. Melt the butter in a saucepan over the stove on medium heat. Continue whisking while it foams and turns to an amber color. Once the butter is browned, transfer to another bowl to let it cool to room temperature.
Step 2: In a mixer, combine the melted butter and sugar. Add in the egg and vanilla extract and beat well.
Step 3: Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt. Slowly add into the wet batter and mix on a low speed until incorporated.
Step 4: Fold in the chocolate chips and the caramels and mix until evenly distributed. Spread the batter in the greased baking dish and press down. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. I found this special sea salt in my cabinet that my brother and sister-in-law brought me from their vacation to Hawaii last year. Delish.
Step 5: Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
Let these cool before cutting into them. haha, just kidding. Just use your fork, you know you want to. These are best served warm. Microwave them for 15 seconds so the caramel gets all ooey-gooey and melty.
About 3 seconds after I snapped this shot, the cookie broke in half. So I had to eat it. Tough life.
Really debating now about bringing these on the flight tomorrow morning. I think I could leverage the jet lag of some of my other traveling coworkers who would think these are better than they really are given the hangry state most of us end up in when our Monday commute starts with a flight. (Blog update: I’ve arranged for my friend Amanda to pick these up tomorrow morning when I leave for the airport, so my old coworkers are in for another treat. I love that I have organized a Southie cookie black market.)
Speaking of Monday flights, let’s do a quick recap of last week, which can be summed up in one word: intense. Remember, it was my first week at the new job? So I started my week off in beautiful downtown Boston. One block from my former job, which made for a nice morning commute. I dropped off my cornflake cookies with a former coworker, which felt like a legit drug trade in front of the office, which I loved. And then I went to my morning orientation at the Hancock Tower. I kind of wanted someone to take a picture of me in front of the building like my first day of school, but people in Boston are notoriously unfriendly, especially in the morning, so this was good enough.
So then I had a flight to Atlanta for two more days of training in the afternoon. Now, a few things you should know about me:
1) I like to travel to places that involve flying
2) I do not like flying. It’s a control thing. If a pilot can manage my expectations and tell me when to expect turbulence, fine. But I don’t like the feeling of being 33,000 feet in the air and having no control over anything.
3) I have wicked anxiety about not getting my carry-on bag in an overhead bin. I will likely one day be arrested for losing my shit at people who don’t follow the rules and I’ll be caught ripping jackets and unnecessary items in the overhead that will force me to gate check my bag.
4) I only like to sit in window seats, which also ties into the fact I don’t pee on flights under 5 hours.
5) I do not like engaging in friendly conversation on planes.
My first day of work after training at Accenture back right out of college, I was flying on a TPOD (tiny plane of death, also known as regional jets, with less than 35 people onboard) and it was my first time flying solo, and my first business trip. And it was 6am on the plane and we go to board, and next thing I know we’re walking on the tarmac. And I’m all confused like, where’s the friggin jetbridge? And what are those tiny planes for? And the flight attendant is trying to take my bag and I am arguing with her that it goes in the overhead, and she explains there is no overhead space on this flight. And then I am seated in the emergency exit row (which includes 3 people total) and then I started freaking out. You know, because I start thinking this plane is small enough that I should probably make sure I am capable to fulfill exit row duties. And the guy next to me is telling me to chill that these planes are totally safe and not to worry. And we’re sitting there and they announce that they need two volunteers to get off the plane because it is overweight. So I call my parents (at 6am) and I’m freaking out asking Skip if I should get off the plane, because it’s overweight and the only people who volunteered to get off were the thinnest people on the plane, and my death glares to Tubby two seats over didn’t encourage him to get off the plane. So both Skip and the guy next to me said this happens all the time and to stay on the plane and everything would be fine. And it was. Even though every time we hit a tiny bump or the plane made a noise on the 90 minute flight to Raleigh, the guy next to me had to tell me it was normal. Then he told me that he likes the tinier planes where you can feel some of the small bumps because then it kind of reminds him of getting rocked to sleep. Which I still to this day think it a freaking weird thing to say. But now anytime I hit turbulence on a flight, I try to remember random businessman stranger from my first flight back in the day telling me about just thinking of how the plane would rock me to sleep.
Okay, so with that long-winded context. you know what you cannot prepare for or talk yourself out of when you have anxiety on a plane? SOMEONE DYING MID FLIGHT. Yes. That happened on my flight Monday to Atlanta. We were all smooth sailing and then In the last half hour of the flight, they announce there is a serious medical emergency so no more cabin service and no more standing up. And we land, and speed to the gate, and you can see people in the back doing CPR on this old lady. And then we can’t stand up for a half hour, because the paramedics come on and work on the lady. And then they carry her limp body off the plane after a half hour and the stewardesses were crying, and ugh it was awful, just awful. So that was the first day. Let’s hope that never ever happens again
Wednesday night I flew to Philly to join my new project team. It took me a lot to not start every sentence with the theme song to the Fresh Prince … you know, “innnnnnn west philadelphia, born and raised.” But it legit plays in my head, over and over every time I hear the word Philadelphia. And given I will likely be traveling to Philly frequently for the next few months, I am sure that is going to get annoying soon. Even though I love Will Smith. Here’s a shot of arriving in Philly Wednesday night. And then the morning view of downtown Philly.
And then Friday was fly-home-Friday. I hate everything about the Philadephia airport, minus the fact they now have a Pinkberry. But I worked in the Philly suburbs for a few months back in 2009, and they should just rename it “The Most Frequently Delayed Worst Airport Ever.” Chance of rain? DELAY. Too sunny? DELAY. That’s why the flight is only 43 minutes but it looks online like it’s almost 2 hours. Well, I get on the plane after not being able to get on any earlier flight, since I don’t have status anywhere anymore, and the captain tells us that there is no cabin service or getting up on the flight because it’s going to be turbulent. Joy. And bumpy it was. I felt like I was being punked. I am typically fine on flights, but when the guy across the aisle from me grabbed the air sick bag, I just started asking the guy next to me (who had the window seat) every 2 minutes if we were there yet. So needless to say, I was happy happy happy to see my bed Friday night.
I tried to take it easy this weekend. Got in a few solid workouts, which felt great. Shopped in Chestnut Hill (with a stop for Pinkberry of course, which led me to running into one of my favorite friends Jess.) And then while getting a manicure, my friend Lauren (affectionalitely known as wong-a-long in our inner circle) texted me to see if I was still in Newton, which I was, so I went to hang out with her and her husband Taylor to see their new grown-up house in da burbs. It was great. I stopped at Marty’s liquors on the way and got lots of fancy snacks and wine, because Lauren is one of those friends who requires constant snack foods. Mostly Doritos. This morning I grabbed brunch at Kitchen in the South End with my friend josh, and enjoyed this de-lish cubano sandwich, which I’ve never tried before. hip hip nom-ray!
And then I tried on clothes after that sandwich, which was a bad choice. So I came home, just in time to catch this amazing sunset (at 4:30pm, wtf?) during a nice end-of-weekend run.
So that’s it. I feel relaxed. My cab comes at 6am. I am ready to crush this week. Thank you Lorelai, Luke, Rory, Suki, Michele, Dean, Jess, Paris, Kirk, Miss Patty and the rest of the town of Stars Hallow and cast of Gilmore Girls. And to my newest drug (cookie) runner, Amanda. I’ll leave “the goods” on the front porch in the am.