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Game Day – Something Sweet

It wouldn’t be a super bowl party without the something sweet, at least in my opinion. I don’t want to be chained to the kitchen and miss the game so I am planning a do it yourself Ice Cream Sundae buffet, with 3 different flavors of ice cream, some hot fudge, brownies, a pot of espresso (for affogato) and an array of different toppings. Everyone can tailor their sundae however they want it. I made some home made caramel popcorn today, if you have never had popcorn on or in ice cream you definitely should. It’s amazing, I first tasted it last summer when a local pastry chef/business owner introduced me to popcorn ice cream. I was blown away!

You can judge how much ice cream to buy or make depending on how many guests you will have. For the brownies, I discovered this recipe from “The Solitary Cook” and it can be found on Food52, its called Brownies to the Power of Four and they are hands down the best brownie I have ever had. Set up a dessert buffet with whatever you plan on serving, bowls and utensils and let your guests serve themselves whenever they want. My dessert buffet will consist of:

Ice Cream (vanilla bean, chocolate and dulce de leche)

Brownies

Pot of hot espresso

caramel popcorn, hot fudge, roasted chopped hazelnuts and almonds.

Fruit platter for those watching the waistline

Everything but the ice cream can be set up on the table, I put the hot espresso in a thermal carafe.

The Brownies recipe courtesy The Solitary Cook  http://thesolitarycook.wordpress.com/author/thesolitarycook/

Makes 12 , 16, or more, depending on how large you cut them

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I like ghirardhelli or guittard)

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1/4 cup cocoa powder, not dutched

6 ounces butter, 1″ chunks

5 large eggs

1 3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup unbleached flour

3/4 teaspoons sea or kosher salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or white chocolate chips

1 cup toasted nuts (optional) or peanut butter swirled in after panning mixture (also optional, but damn good)

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9″ x 9″ baking pan with parchment and grease or spray the sides.
  • Measure chopped semi-sweet chocolate, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder, and butter into a large heatproof bowl and set over simmering water. By melting the cocoa powder into the other chocolates and butter, you get a much better mix with it, and its flavor is deeper. Stir occasionally until all ingredients have melted. Remove from heat and stir to thoroughly blend.
  • While chocolates are melting, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract. When chocolate mixture is ready, whisk in the egg mixture. Set or hold a sieve over the bowl and measure the flour and salt right into it. Sift into the bowl, pressing any lumps through with your fingertips. Use a good stiff spatula to stir everything together just until blended.
  • Now gild the lily. Add the chocolate chips of your choice and your nuts if using them. Once everything is nicely blended, scrape the batter into your pan. Spoon in peanut butter if using, and use the tip of the spoon to swirl it in. Bake for 30-35 minutes. When done, the surface should be shiny and the brownies still tender to the touch. A toothpick test is useless; if you bake them until one comes out clean, they’ll be dreadfully overbaked, and that would be so sad.
When done, cool on a rack until completely cool. Wrap securely with plastic and leave at room temperature overnight. To depan, run a small spatula around the edge and invert the pan onto a sheet of parchment. Place a cutting board larger than the brownies on top of the bottom. Carefully turn right-side-up. Cut into 12 equal pieces, or more. They’re fantastic served slightly warmed with your favorite ice cream.

Brownies photo by The Solitary Cook

Caramel popcorn is really easy to make, I used microwave plain (unflavored) popcorn and made the caramel which didn’t take more than 20 minutes. Popcorn is always a great game day treat, I will always put several bowls out for my guests to enjoy, the caramel popcorn I am putting on the dessert buffet. To make it you will need:
  • 1 bag microwave popcorn (follow package directions) dump it into a bowl, sort out any un-popped kernels and place in a 200 degree oven to keep warm

The caramel:

2 tbs salted butter

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup Lyles Golden Syrup 0r Karo clear syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 tsp sea salt to sprinkle on popcorn before it goes in the oven.

Add the butter and melt on medium/high heat now add brown sugar and lyles syrup, stir to combine and when it comes to a boil add the sweetened condensed milk, stir and place candy thermometer in pot you need the temperature to reach 238 degrees. When it reaches the proper temperature remove from heat and add the vanilla. Take the popcorn out of the oven and immediately pour caramel onto the popcorn, mix well and quickly. Dump it onto a silpat lined baking sheet, spread it out and sprinkle with sea salt. Place back in the 200 degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. You should stir occasionally breaking up big chunks.  Remove from oven and let cool, break up any large chunks and place in air tight container until you are ready to use.

Salted Caramel Popcorn

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. I’m coming to YOUR house for Superbowl!! These look great!

    February 4, 2012
  2. Thanks, you are welcome any time at all!

    February 4, 2012
  3. Who cares about the game! Give me chocolate! Wonderful treats, Suzanne!
    (Yes, I’m trolling for a recipe to feature on my blog. Since the story mentioned “happy” brownies, I was afraid a stranger might misunderstand…. So of course I thought of you first.)

    August 8, 2016

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