The change of the season from winter to spring, although much anticipated, has brought back a flood of memories of springs gone by. Leisurely walks, holding hands, spring clean up. All the things we did together are now done alone, no hand in mine. The sweetness of memories, the saltiness of tears.
Fudgie Brownie Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting: makes 8
For the brownie cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Line a cupcake pan with 8 papers.
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
In a heavy saucepan, over very low heat melt the butter and chocolate until smooth and combined. Remove from heat and add the sugar, egg, salt, flour, vanilla and baking powder. Stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed.
Scoop batter into the cupcake liners.
Bake for 18-20 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool on a wire rack.
In the meantime, make the caramel:
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat to boiling point over medium high heat. Do not stir. Watch the pot carefully, when the mixture begins to turn amber, give it a swirl and continue to cook until golden brown. Remove from heat. Add the vanilla, cream and salt very, very slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon until smooth and completely blended. Set aside to cool.
For the frosting:
1 stick (8 ounces) salted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons milk or cream
Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla and milk or cream until just combined. Beat in the caramel and salt and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Taste. You should get sweet and salty in the same bite. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt if necessary and beat to incorporate. Spoon the frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tube.
Pipe onto cooled brownie cupcakes. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts (optional)
Savor every sweet and salty moment in your life.