Thursday, September 13, 2018

Salted Caramel Banana Bread Brownies

The interior of our home has been filled with the music of Les Miserables and Evita. Paul and I have been on a musical kick for the past few months, ever since we took Daniel with us to see the Broadway version of Les Miserables. As I type this out, I realize that I should have mentioned in my last blog post about Daniel that he has already seen a Broadway show at the tender age of three months. When we walked up to the box office with our tickets (which we had purchased back in February) we were politely informed that we could not bring the baby into the theater until we had purchased an "infant in arms" ticket for him. Ridiculous, right? His ticket cost almost as much as ours! Thank goodness he was a complete angel and slept the entire time so we were able to enjoy the show - which was incredibly amazing. Paul is already asking when we can go see another show although I have a hard time believing any show can top Les Miserables.

So, we have been blasting "Master of the House" "One Day More" and "On My Own" while washing the dishes and getting the kids ready for bed. And as far as Evita is concerned, I haven't even thought about that musical since high school but randomly started singing some of the songs. Matthew heard me and asked me about it, which led to me seeking out the soundtrack online, and now my kids are familiar with most of those songs. Emma especially loves the song "High Flying Adored" whereas Matthew prefers "The Lady's Got Potential." If you have no idea what I'm talking about, look these songs up on YouTube. They're great! We've become quite the musical family recently. Beware, we might morph into a Colorado-based version of The Von Trapp Family Singers, only with far less talent and relatively no originality.

Speaking of no originality (on my part at least!), here is a recipe for Salted Caramel Banana Bread Brownies that I made exactly as written from the remarkable food blog Plain Chicken. If you haven't heard of her blog, check it out. All her recipes are simple, no-fuss, and guaranteed crowd-pleasers. When I spied the picture for these brownies and then glanced at the pile of five blackened bananas sitting on my counter with a growing colony of fruit flies floating about, I figured it was worth a try! The banana bars would be a great snack for the kids to pack in their lunches since they love banana anything, although apparently not actual bananas since whenever I buy them they go uneaten and turn mushy and black.

I was completely prepared not to like these. I normally find the texture of zucchini or other vegetable-based "brownies" to be completely abhorrent. These, however, were really quite fantastic. It probably had something to do with all the chocolate, caramel, and butter but I very much enjoyed eating these for breakfast this know, because they have bananas and go so great with coffee. I need to work on my sugar addiction.

Will I choose these over straight-up brownies? Probably not but that doesn't mean they're not delicious.

I found the salted caramel chips at Kroger! They actually have their own Kroger brand of them probably inspired by Hershey's Salted Caramel Baking Chips. If you can't find either version of them, I think Butterscotch Chips would be a fine substitute.

Salted Caramel Banana Bread Brownies
from Plain Chicken

6 Tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup chocolate chips
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 to 4 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1-3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup salted caramel chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x9-inch baking pan. Set aside.

Melt butter and chocolate chips in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and cool.
In a bowl, mix together the vanilla, sugar and mashed bananas. Add the eggs and beat well. Mix until everything is well combined.

Sift flour and salt and add to banana mixture. Stir in salted caramel chips.

Fold in 2/3 of the chocolate mixture into the batter. Stir just until combined - a few chocolate streaks in the batter is perfectly fine.

Spread batter into prepared pan. Drizzle the remaining chocolate mixture on top of the batter. Use a knife to create streaks of chocolate.

Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack 1 hour before cutting. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

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