Salted Caramel Brownies + Weekly Menu

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Food and nutrition is truly a science. On my way over to Chicago on Friday, I saw a billboard that caught my eye. It said, “Obesity is a disease, not a decision.” I can definitely get behind this (for the most part) and the science being done in response to the obesity epidemic is truly fascinating.

One of my favorite facts to share with others is that people, no matter where in the world they live, love and crave the same 3 flavors: sweet, salty, and fatty.

Unpleasant, but true. Unfortunate, but true.

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It makes sense, too.

While obesity was once thought of as a problem in the west, rates of obesity are on the rise around the world. Not coincidentally, access to high fat, calorie-dense foods and beverages increase and the lure of convenience and taste trump the efforts required to plan, shop, and prepare meals in the home.

When Mr. Prevention and I traveled Europe and Asia, it SHOCKED me as to the lines at fast food chains in Singapore and Italy at all hours of the day. It supported the fact that people love those certain flavors and no one is an exception. It is human nature, if you will.

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Dietitians are no exception.

If you get a group of RD’s together, there will be something sweet. I promise. There will also certainly be whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. We understand balance and the fact that deprivation is not fun, nor necessary. Most RD’s…we do what preach — everything in moderation! I prefer to shorten it up and refer to this as the “80-20 rule” — eat wholesome and calorie controlled (at least) 80% of the time, and splurge (no more than) 20% of the time. Simple concept…not always simple to do.

These brownies? They fall under the 20% splurge category by a long shot. So worth it. These were made for a crowd on Super Bowl, sent home with guests, and leftovers were shared with coworkers. I know that my innate love for sweets would torture me if these were around, because hey…I’m only human 😉

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Salted Caramel Brownies slightly adapted from Ina Garten

1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter
8 oz + 6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
3 oz unsweetened chocolate
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 oz caramel sauce
1 tsp flaked sea salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a 9 x 12 baking dish.

Melt the butter, 8 ounces of the chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate together in a medium bowl set over simmering water. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1/2 cup of the flour, the baking powder, and salt and add to the chocolate mixture. Toss the remaining 6 ounces of chocolate chips and the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour in a medium bowl and add them to the chocolate mixture. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.

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

Warm the caramel in the microwave for a few seconds; stir until smooth. Drizzle the caramel evenly over the hot brownies and sprinkle with the sea salt. Cool completely before serving.

Yield: 20 brownies (2.5 x 2.3 inches each)

Nutrition Information (per brownie): 297 calories; 17.6 g. fat; 28 mg. cholesterol; 233 mg. sodium; 35.6 g. carbohydrate; 0.6 g. fiber; 2.2 g. protein; 16.8 g. sugar

Result: Nothing not to love here! I did omit the instant coffee granules that are in the original recipe but otherwise, I left this as is. I did decrease the amount of salt and caramel sauce…just because they seemed overkill to me. The brownies are insanely rich, especially with the added chocolate chips, so the recipe is also (easily) stretched to 20 brownies versus the suggested 12. Enjoy!! Worth the splurge 😉

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Weekly Menu: February 17th – 21st

Enjoying Sunday! By the way, thanks for all your sweet comments about my exam that many of you saw the unfortunate results of on Facebook. I was close…but no cigar. I’ll get’em next time 😉

Be well,

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6 Comments

  1. Gail H.
    February 17, 2013 / 9:14 am

    Brownies look sinful! LOVE love love this week’s menu! Please review the mussel dish 🙂 Your Weekly Menu is my favorite post each week !!!

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      February 17, 2013 / 9:42 am

      They are VERY sinful! I’m glad you like the weekly menu posts – I think they’re a favorite for many so I feel a little guilty when I don’t get around to making a recipe from the previous week and re-post 😉

  2. Jenn
    February 17, 2013 / 9:34 am

    I found those Thai noodles on Pinterest and made them one night when I was scrambling for something easy. Now fiancee asks for them ALL. THE. TIME. They’re delicious. But try making them with about half the oil. I only use about 1/4 cup of sesame oil and complete omit the vegetable oil. It’s more than enough.

    And what a bummer about your test! But how many of the dieticians who passed it can say they have a cookout coming out this year? AND an internet full of fans anxiously awaiting it? Total trump card. 🙂

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      February 17, 2013 / 9:41 am

      Hey Jenn 🙂 You’re so sweet – thank you! I knew it was a tough test (it’s the same exam physicians, pharmacists, etc. sit for and I think I’m probably at a disadvantage when it comes to blood pressure meds outside of the ones I see typically in my diabetic patients)…plus, literally, I think there was 2-3 nutrition questions out of 175! It was very surprising. After a little pity party research, I know I’m not the only one to struggle and that makes me feel better. But yes, I have so so so much to be proud and thankful for…this won’t ruin that! 🙂

      As for the noodles, I’m so glad they’re delicious! Did you eat them warm? I’m thinking we will, especially because I want to add shrimp. The oil amounts were nuts – yes! I’ll definitely cut back – thank you 🙂 xo!

  3. Audrey
    February 17, 2013 / 1:45 pm

    Mmmm what noodles? I’d love to try them! 🙂
    on another note.. I just made these brownies and just wanted to say that has to be the BEST raw brownie bowl I’ve licked haha soooo good!! can’t wait to taste the cooked product!

  4. February 17, 2013 / 6:35 pm

    These look awesome– I definitely wouldn’t be able to keep them in our house without eating WAY too many, ha!

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