Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip

Hey look!  I found something festive you can make for my most favorite holiday of all...

Valentines Day!  Yay.

Okay, I admit to the sarcasm if you didn't catch it.  Maybe you celebrate Valentines Day with gusto.  I however, tend to be the scrooge of Valentines.  With a big eye roll at all the pink and hearts.  The sappy poems and the PDA.

It's not that I don't appreciate romance.  I just appreciate it more on a day when people aren't reminded that they're supposed to be romantic.

You give me flowers and a sweet card on any random day?  Come get some sugar!

I'm looking at you, husband.

And I have plenty of sugar to give.  Just look at this delicious dip I'm sharing with you:

Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip
adapted from Something Swanky
found on Pinterest!

Cookie Mama's Notes:
* Make sure you use unprepared cake mix- the powder before you add the egg and oil!
* You can increase the powdered sugar if you want a sweeter dip- I don't think it's necessary.
* You can also decrease the milk for a thicker dip.  I think it's just right the way it is!
* The batter will be red without food coloring.  I added for more red punch.
* If you chill it, it will be harder to scoop, make sure you have sturdy dippers!
* Refrigerate what you don't eat.
* I should point out, I'm not normally a fan of Red Velvet.  The cake is weird. But trust me when I say this is good; my red stained lips don't lie.

- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 c. salted butter, softened
- 2 c. Red Velvet Cake Mix
- 2. c. powdered sugar
- 4 Tbsp. milk
- 2-3 drops red food coloring (optional)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and cream cheese until smooth.  With mixer on low, add cake mix 1 cup at a time.  Increase speed and blend.

Add food coloring to milk.  With mixer on low add half the milk to cake batter mix.  Increase speed and blend until milk is incorporated.

On low, add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time.  Add remaining milk and blend on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy.

Chill it before serving or eat right away!

Serve with graham crackers and assorted cookies-use your imagination!  My husband thought Oreos, and I thought it would be too sweet, but it was yummy!  Golden Oreos would be good too.

And if you're having trouble getting into the romantic mood, watch The Notebook.  Or maybe not.  I generally end up in a wheeping pile of emotional mess, wondering why my husband doesn't love me like Ryan Gosling loves Rachel McAdams.

Or you could just watch something with Ryan Gosling.  Like this:

Quiet Ryan - watch more funny videos

You're welcome.

Butterfinger Pie

You know the saying "Easy as Pie"?  I've never understood it.  Pie is really not that easy, in my humble opinion.

There's the deal with the crust.  Crust really brings on the stress, because it can make or break a pie.  The PRESSURE!

However.  This pie.  I really don't believe it could possibly get easier than this pie.  Seriously.  If you mess this up, there may be no hope for you in the kitchen.  Sorry.  I'm sure you are FABULOUS at other things though!

After spending too much time in the kitchen making my Honeycomb Bars, I needed/wanted something quick, and delicious for the Playoff get-together.  Football is the perfect excuse to make all those delicious things you could probably never justify eating on an ordinary day.  Let me just say, if you are dieting, turn run away from this.  I should be dieting, but...

Photo courtesy SydesJokes

Butterfinger Pie
adapted from
found on Pinterest!

Cookie Mama's Notes:
* You could make this lower-fat by substituting low-fat or fat-free Cool Whip and cream cheese.  If you do this, let me know how it turns out!
* I bought the 16 oz. Cool Whip and weighed out 12 oz.  I'd say remove about 1 1/2 c. from your container, and use the remaining for the pie.
* You could make your own crust, and I'm sure it would be more delicious than the pre-made, but people, I was going the easiest route possible!
* The longer you chill, the easier to cut and serve.
* A normal pie is generally cut into 8 slices.  This pie is rich and sweet!  I recommend smaller pieces and getting at least 10 slices.

- 7 regular (2.1oz) size Butterfingers
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 12 oz. Cool Whip
- 1 pre-made Graham Cracker Crust

(3 Ingredients?!  Yes!  It is that EASY!)

Crush/Chop 6 Butterfingers.  Add to medium sized bowl with softened cream cheese.  Blend with a hand mixer.  Fold in Cool Whip.  Add to crust.

Chill for at least an hour.  Crush remaining Butterfinger and sprinkle over the top of the pie before serving.

Honeycomb Bars

So this recipe is, uh, unique.  Not bad.  Just different.

Are you still there?  Are you wondering why I'm sharing it?

These bars were laborious. If I just threw something together with a box mix, I'd probably move on to the next recipe without bother.  Point is, I'm not letting all this work go to waste.

None of this, I'm sure, inspires much confidence that these are very good.  They're fine, but they just aren't my "thing".  All I saw was a recipe that contained honey and that it originated from the boys at Baked; all normally a win-win in my book.

But when I saw "Honeycomb Bars" I wasn't expecting cherries, oranges, and almonds.  I shrugged it off, opened my mind, and thought what a perfect way to use those lonely oranges in the fruit bowl.

And so my journey began...making candied orange peel, making a crust, toasting some almonds, making a "honey caramel" and on and on.  With all this work for some bars, let's just say my "bar" (haha) was set high.

The result?  Crunch.  Sweet.  Honey.  Orange.  Not bad.  Could've used more salt in the crust.  Crust could've been more...crustier?

Make these if you have the time.  Make these if you're looking for something different.

Honeycomb Bars

I didn't change this recipe to make it my "own", so I'm going to be lazy and not re-type something that is already done someplace else!  If you are interested in these bars head on over to Cookstr where the authors of Baked share their recipe.  Or buy their cookbook; I own it and love it!

Cookie Mama's Notes:

* First thing I did was make candied orange peel, I know you can buy it, but I needed to use up my oranges and I thought, "What a fun, new thing to learn to do!"  Click here for my recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I didn't coat in chocolate, but I will with what was leftover from this recipe!

This was fun, and a delicious aroma fills your kitchen too!

* I recommend adding more than just a "pinch" of salt in your crust...I wish I would have!
* Don't spend money on pie weights.  I bought a large bag of pinto beans for $1.15.  Works just as well and can be reused for a long time-I've have yet to replace mine.
* For the almonds, you can toast them in the oven.  I put them in a pan on the stove top and toasted them over medium heat until they gave off and nutty aroma and started to brown.
* Make sure you have a trusty candy thermometer.  My good, but cheap one broke and had to use one I'm not as familiar with.  I removed my "caramel" from the heat before it reached 240 degrees to be safe.

This is my trusty, cheap thermometer

* I used brandy in my recipe vs. the bourbon.

I had this brandy on hand.

* I'm also recommending that you use tart dried cherries to cut some of the sweetness.  I ran out of tart and used Bing cherries which are a sweeter variety.

If you make these, let me know what you think!  Oh!  And don't forget to find me on Facebook!  We can chat it up there...

Fruity Pebble Cookies

For my kids, going to the grocery store is a trip of torture and disappointment.  Take recently...

Sparkles suddenly appear in my kids eyes when I put a box of Fruity Pebbles cereal in the grocery cart.  And then there I am sweeping in to replace that sparkle with scowls and furrowed brows when I tell them it's not for them.

See all that good stuff in the cart?  That's for mommy's baking.  All for the baking, kiddos!

Life is soooooo not fair!  I know.

As kids, I'm sure they would love it if I fed them sugary goodness 24/7, but even with my baking, I really try to keep their intake at a minimum.  Because seriously, even though they say "sugar = hyperactivity" is a myth, there's something about getting sweets that cause them to go in super-spaz, excited mode.  And being young, rowdy boys by nature, they do not need help with that!

Ahh besides, they don't appreciate the greater plans that await these Fruity Pebbles.  See, they envision covering this sweet, fruity cereal with milk.  But me?  I'm covering it in butter.  Oh yes.  That's right.  Butt-aah!

These Fruity Pebble Cookies are similar to my Cornflake Chocolate Chip Cookie.  They are all completely inspired from the Milkbar bakery/cookbook.  I haven't been this excited about a cookbook in a long time, and it is certainly unique in more ways than one.

Fruity Pebble Cookies
adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar

Cookie Mama's Notes:
* As per the cookbook's recommendations, I weigh my ingredients when using their recipes.  However, since not everyone owns a scale, I will be giving you standard measurements.  Doing this, I can not tell you that your cookies will turn out the same as mine-but I'm sure they're close!
* The cookbook recommends using bread flour, I've used it with bread and all-purpose, so far I prefer all-purpose.
* I replaced vanilla extract with almond extract.
* Locally, the micro marshmallows can be purchased at the Spice Rack at 2nd Street Market.
* Pre-scoop all cookie dough ( I use a #16 scoop, about a 1/3 cup) onto a separate cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and let the dough refrigerate for at least an hour before baking.
* I bake my cookies for 14 min. v the cookbook's 18 minutes.  It depends on how you like the texture of your cookie.
* When they are fresh out of the oven I go around the edges and push any melted marshmallow back into the cookie to keep them in a uniform shape.

Fruity Pebble Crunch
-2 1/2 c. Fruity Pebble cereal
-1/4 c. milk powder (powdered milk)
- 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Pour cereal into medium size bowl.  Add the milk powder, sugar, and salt.  Toss to combine.  Add the melted butter and toss until evenly coated.  Spread cereal out onto prepared sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes.  Cool completely before using in cookie recipe.

- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- 2/3 c. brown sugar, packed
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 1/2 c. flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 recipe of Fruity Pebble Crunch
- 1 1/4 c. micro marshmallows

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium high for 2-3 minutes.  Scrape down bowl, add egg and vanilla.  Beat on high for 7-8 minutes.

In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. With mixer on low, add flour mixture.  Mix until just combined and dough forms.  Scrape down bowl.  Add Fruity Pebble crunch and marshmallows.  Stir until just combined.

Scoop all dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for no less than an hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Remove dough balls and place on another prepared cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.  Bake for 15-18 minutes.  Let cool on baking sheet.


See?  Not completely deprived!

Snickerdoodle Cake

A cake?  Weird.

Why is this weird?  Well, if you happen to know me, then you know I hate making cakes.  Hate.

My grandma even said something when she found out I made a cake.  "I was so surprised, because I know you don't like to make them."

Couldn't be more true.  However...

I love the idea of cake.  And when I saw this cake over at Foodie with Family, I thought, "Oh my, does that look good!"

But my OCD kept telling me not to do it...Don't do this to yourself.  You know how you get when the layers aren't perfectly aligned.  You know how you start to twitch if the frosting isn't smooth.

Against my nature, I decided to go forward and wisely chose to only make a double layer.

Cutting each layer into two?  Puh-lease.  I'd end up with cake crumbs and crying in the corner of my kitchen.

Snickerdoodle Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream
adapted from Foodie with Family

Cookie Mama's Notes:
* You will need to get things room temp!  Butter!  Eggs! Milk!  So plan ahead.
* I use Wilton Cake Release on my pans, or you can use Baker's Joy, Pam Baking Spray, or plain old butter and flour.  Make sure to tap out any extra flour though!
* I just shared this, but I bring my eggs to room temp by placing them in a bowl and adding warm water and letting them sit for a half hour or so.
* I always bake with whole milk, but that's because I demand all baked goods be the highest level of fat possible.
* Since I wasn't stressing about my cake, I eyeballed the amount of batter in each pan. You can weigh or scoop out with a measuring cup to get a perfectly even amount in each pan.
* I used an offset spatula to get the tops flat, this probably isn't necessary-you could just tap them on the counter.
* I had a lovely sugar/cinnamon shell over the top of my cakes, find a crack in the top of that shell to check the cakes for doneness, because that shell can make it hard to determine if it's done.  35 minutes was the perfect amount of time for mine.

Snickerdoodle Cake
- 1 1/2 c. all-purpsose flour
- 1 1/2 c. cake flour
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
- 1 c. unsalted butter, softened
- 1 3/4 c. sugar
- 4 eggs, room temp.
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 c. milk, room temp.
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven 325 degrees.  Prepare 2, 9 inch round baking pans with baking spray or butter and flour.

In a bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  With mixer on low, add eggs one at a time, combining well after each addition.  Add vanilla.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat again until fluffy and creamy.

With mixer on low, add a third of flour mixture, mix until just incorporated.  Add half of the milk, stirring until just incorporated.  Repeat flour, milk, and then flour.  Stirring the batter until everything is combined, but do not over mix!

Pour, scoop, weigh or measure batter evenly into prepared pans. Tap pans on counter to make even tops.

In a bowl, combine 2 tsp. cinnamon and 3/4 c. sugar, sprinkle evenly onto top of both cakes.

Bake for 32-35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool on wire rack until pans cooled to touch.  On separate sheets of parchment paper, turn cakes out onto paper.  Let cool completely.

Brown Sugar Buttercream
- 2 1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened (4 1/2 sticks)
- 1 c. light brown sugar, packed
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 7-8 c. powdered sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 c. half & half ( I did 1/4 c. milk, 1/4 c. heavy cream-I'm sure if you just have milk it will be okay)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.  Cream until light and fluffy.  Scrape down sides of bowl, and add 6 cups of powdered sugar and vanilla.  With mixer on low then to high, mix until combined and creamy-it will be thick.  On low, add your half & half, slowly increase the speed of your mixer to high and beat until fluffy.  Scrape bowl and add additional cups of powdered sugar to reach your desired consistency.  Mix until fluffy...or fluffy-ish.

To Assemble

Once cakes are cooled, find your cake stand/plate you want to have your cake on.  Line the edges of plate with wax or parchment paper.

The first layer you want the cake to be cinnamon/sugar side up.  Add a nice mound of buttercream and use an offset spatula to move it evenly around cake.  You will get sugar/cinnamon crumbs in the frosting. This is your crumb coat.  Let it sit until frosting starts to "set"/harden.  Go back and add more buttercream,  making sure to get a nice amount on the top, as this will be the filling.

Add your second layer, this time sugar/cinnamon side down.  Repeat with a crumb coat.  Sit, and then finish with the remaining buttercream.

Remove wax/parchment paper, and you'll have a clean plate!  Yay!

And if it's not perfect, that's OKAY.  You can say it's "rustic" and it actually adds charm and character.  Sometimes I actually think "messy" frosting makes a cake look more delicious.  Dive in!

Jalapeño Ranch Dip

What the what?!  No cookies?!

No, no sugary treats today.  This is my first savory post.  And I have to admit, it feels slightly weird.

If you read this post, then you may already know that I resolved to share some delicious savory recipes that I love.  In most cases you will always see sweet goodness, but here and there these recipes will pop up.

Onward to the good stuff...

I guess there's not much that I don't love to eat.  But what I really love is chips and dip.  Particularly the dip part.  I am not a light dipper.  In fact, I'm a scooper.  I love to get as much as I can on my chip/cracker/bread.

This Jalapeño Ranch Dip has more of a dressing consistency.  So just coat your chip.  Coat it good.  But since this is a lot like dressing, it is very versatile.  We made up some tacos and drizzled this "dip" in there.  It would be perfect on a Southwest-style salad.  The possibilities are endless.

A better way to look at it?  It's like a kicked up replacement for regular Ranch dressing.  Now, who doesn't love Ranch?  I dip pizza in it.  Don't judge.

Jalapeño Ranch Dip
adapted from Heritage Schoolhouse

Cookie Mama's Notes:

*Unless you're feeding a large crowd, I would halve this recipe.
*You could always make this "Light" by subbing the lower-fat versions of Mayo, Sour Cream and Buttermilk
*Pickled jalapeños can normally be found in either the pickle aisle or with the Mexican food.  You can also get them in "No Heat" style, but that's no fun!
*Tomatillo (green) salsa can be found with the other salsas.

- 8 oz. mayonaise
- 24 oz. sour cream
- 1 c. buttermilk
- 1 c. tomatillo salsa
- 1 handful cilantro (give or take to your liking)
- 3 packets of dry Ranch Dressing mix
- 1/2 c. pickled jalapeños

 Add all ingredients to your food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.

That's it!  I stored mine in some Ball jars and divided it up between friends and neighbors.  I kept enough for myself of course!

Tangerine Tea Cakes

I'm bringing you little bites of citrus.  And when I think of citrus, I think of the sunshine.  And warm weather.

So basically I'm bringing sunny, warm weather to your cold, dreary day (I'm looking at all of you northerners).  Your welcome.

In all seriousness, over the Fall and Winter seasons I tend to eat all those delicious comfort foods.  ALL comfort foods.  But they can feel a bit heavy.  Going for seconds could be a culprit too.  We'll never know.

ANYWAY, these cookies are the perfect anecdote.  Small.  Flaky. Citrusy.  Oh, and buttery.  There will be lots of butter.  I said these cookies were sunny and citrusy, not low calorie.  Never low calorie.

Also, I don't know why they are called "cakes", they are nothing like cake.  This type of cookie reminds me of the traditional Mexican Wedding Cookie - a shortbread-type cookie with nuts and then coated in powdered sugar.  These do, however, go perfectly with a cup of tea.  If that's your thing.  I happen to be a coffee girl through and through.

These cookies will smell beautiful as you pull them out of the oven.  Mmmm, orange and butter.  Oh, and did I mention they will be done in no time?  And, these are a perfect if you have no eggs in the house but really want something delicious to bake up.

Cookie Mama's Notes:
* I'm not a white chocolate fan, but when I buy it, I try to get the "good" stuff.  Cooks Illustrated recommends Ghiradelli, which is what I use.
* You could use any citrus fruit and I'm sure they'd be yummy.
* I used LorAnn Orange Emulsion in place of orange extract, I'd choose almond if you have neither.
* To have perfectly round cookies that are all the same size, here is my secret-cookie scoop/disher.  This is what I use.  I get mine at the Dayton Wasserstrom Restaurant Supply store.
* These cookies aren't supposed to be brown, they may look under-cooked when you remove them from the oven, there should be a little brown color on the bottoms though.
* To coat cookies with powdered sugar easily, place semi-cooled (mostly cooled) cookies in a gallon ziploc bag and add 1/4 c. powdered sugar per 20 cookies.  Shake and toss gently to coat.

Tangerine Tea Cakes
adapted from Savvy Eats

- 2/3 c. almonds, blanched and slivered
- 1/2 c. white chocolate chips
- 1c. unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 c. powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. orange emulsion (or extract)
- 2 c. flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Zest of 1 tangerine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a food processor, combine almonds and white chocolate until you have a fine grain-no large chunks.  Set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer, cream butter and powdered sugar.  Scrape sides of the bowl.  On low speed, add emulsion, flour, and salt until combined.  Mix in almond/chocolate mixture.  Mix until dough forms into a ball and all ingredients are incorporated.

Scoop and roll cookie dough and place 1 inch apart on prepared sheets.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.  I go for 12.  Makes 40 cookies.

Coat in powdered sugar once cooled-but still a little warm so sugar sticks, but doesn't melt.


You can find this recipe on "Sweet as Sugar Cookies" now too!

Dream Brownies

What's in a "Dream Brownie"?  The stuff my dreams are made of, of course!

Dark Chocolate.  Salted Caramel.  Coffee.  Ganache.

Really, is there anything else?  And that just happens to cover my two favorite food groups...Chocolate and Coffee.  I mean, if Congress can declare pizza a vegetable, than surely chocolate as a food group can't be far behind, right?

So let me share the recipe and inspiration behind these bad boys in just a moment.  But first, let's talk "New Year's Resolutions", shall we?

Cookie Crazed Mama is going on its 2 year anniversary.  My resolution is to bring MORE.

More posts.  More followers.  More variety.

I've decided to add savory items to the recipe index.  Probably not as often as the baked goods, but there are too many delicious, some bad-for-you foods that I feel I must share.

I'm hoping that with more posts come more readers, blogger followers, and Facebook "Likes".  It feels good to share delicious recipes and even receive feedback-good and bad.  Well, more good than bad, I hope!

I'm hoping that since now Cookie Crazed Mama is a .com, and with enough traffic, I can justify shelling out some dough to have someone make the site prettier, brighter and more user friendly.  But don't go expecting any fancy photographs, because the photographer won't change!

Okay, enough with the resolutions!  Let's get to the good stuff.  The yummy stuff.

Dream Brownies
My primary inspiration is Bake or Break and her Mascarpone Brownies.  And then halved the caramel recipe from this brownie recipe sent to me by a good friend.  Finally I went to Baked Explorations recipe Sweet and Salty Brownies for some final tips on pulling it all together.  Whew.

Cookie Mama's Notes:
* Leave some parchment paper hanging over the sides of pan so you can pull the brownies out of pan with ease.
* If you don't have instant espresso, you can omit or one packet of Starbucks Via, Italian Roast works.
* Mascarpone cheese is often found in the specialty cheese section of the grocery store and in a plastic container similar to cream cheese.  It is like the Italian version of cream cheese and is most commonly used in tiramisu.
* The easiest way I find to bring eggs to room temp. quickly is to place eggs in a bowl and cover them with warm water and let sit for at least and hour.
* If you don't have kosher salt, use sea salt, or table salt
* I like Brach's Milk Maid caramel, they are softer and creamier than other brands.
* You can use a 8x8 pan, cooking time may need to be longer.
* I did not use all the caramel, pour the rest of it in the jar for later use, like on top of ice cream!

Serious enjoyment in your mouth.  If you like yummy things, that is.

Brownie Batter
- 1 c. unsalted butter
- 3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 tsp. instant espresso powder
- 1 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. cocoa powder
- 1/2 c. mascarpone cheese, softened
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 c. flour
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

- 14 oz. bag caramels, unwrapped
- 1/3 c. evaporated milk
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt

- 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 6 Tbsp. heavy cream
- 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Preheat oven 325 degrees.  Line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper.  Coat with non-stick cooking spray.

Caramel:  Place unwrapped caramels and evaporated milk in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring each time.  Continue until caramel is smooth and creamy.  This took about 2 1/2 minutes in my microwave.  Set aside.

Batter:  In a medium-large, microwave safe bowl, add your butter and finely chopped chocolate.  Microwave in 30 second intervals.  DO NOT OVERHEAT.  Stirring well after each interval will ensure this.  Chocolate is ready when melted and smooth-this took me 1 1/2 minutes in my microwave.  Add espresso powder and stir.

Sift in sugar and cocoa powder.  Stir until combined.  Add mascarpone, eggs, and vanilla.  Stir and beat until combined.  Fold in flour and salt until you see no visible flour pockets.

Pour half your batter into the prepared pan.  Use an offset spatula to evenly distribute batter.

Reheat caramel if needed to make it more pourable.  Drizzle about 3/4 of melted caramel over top of batter, being careful not to reach the edges of the pan, as caramel can burn.  Use your offset spatula as needed to ensure even layer of carmel-work gently so as not to stir in batter.  Scoop remaining brownie batter over the caramel layer.  Again, use offset spatula to work batter evenly over the top of caramel.

Bake 40-45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out with little crumbs.  Rotate pan halfway through baking time.  Remove pan from oven and place on cooling rack.

Ganache:  In a small saucepan, heat and stir cream and butter until just under boiling, aka, scalding.  Pour evenly over finely chopped chocolate.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Whisk until smooth, creamy and shiny.

Remove cooled brownies from pan.  Pour ganache over top.  Work evenly over top and down the sides with an offset spatula.  Let cool until ganache hardens, but I recommend the fridge so you can cut into these bad boys sooner!

I've shared these on "Sweet as Sugar Cookies" too!