Bourbon-Poached Peaches

photo-149Wow, what a weekend to be a New England sports fan! My throat hurts from yelling with excitement! After a beautiful Friday and Saturday in the mountains, Sunday was raining and gray and perfect for sitting inside to watch two amazing games. photo-143The Patriots and The Red Sox both coming back with two big wins in the last seconds of the game. To celebrate- we ate some delicious drunk fruit! I used some really nice bourbon for this recipe thanks to High West, the whiskey distillery in town. photo-142These Bourbon poached peaches are a great way to preserve summer fruit and it is easy to can them and store them for up to a year! The recipe also works well with pears too if you prefer!photo-140 If you’re looking for a quick dessert option to satisfy your sweet tooth, throw these over some ice cream, frozen yogurt or greek yogurt for an easy treat! Enjoy!

Bourbon Poached Peaches:

  • 4 pounds peaches (about 12)

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar

  • 2 vanilla beans, split and scraped, pods reserved

  • 1 cup bourbon

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, prepare an ice-water bath. Cut a small X into the bottom of each peach. Boil peaches for 1 minute.

  2. Transfer to ice-water bath. Let cool slightly. Peel and pit peaches, and cut into 3/4-inch-thick wedges.

  3. Bring 4 cups water, the sugar, and vanilla seeds and pods to a boil in a large saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add peaches and bourbon. Simmer until peaches are tender but still hold their shape, 5 to 7 minutes.

  4. Transfer peaches to a large bowl using a slotted spoon. Cook syrup over medium heat until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Pour over peaches. Let cool completely.

  5. Divide peaches among five 12-ounce sterilized jars using a slotted spoon. (Jars can be sterilized by boiling in water, submerged, for 10 minutes.) Pour syrup over tops. Add vanilla pods to jars if desired. Seal jars, and refrigerate until ready to use or can and process in a hot water bath for long term shelf storage. photo-352Recipe from Martha Stewart Living, August 2011.

Apple & Cranberry Harvest Pie

IMG_6225Happy October! The mornings are getting cooler, the nights are getting dark to quickly… fall is really here and I have no idea what happened to September. Since September slipped away without me noticing, I have a feeling October might go equally as fast and then… Its my favorite holiday… Thanksgiving! Which is why I’ve decided to dedicate the month of October to “Thanksgiving Menu Prep.” IMG_0049It’s time to pull out my collection of old Bon Appetit Thanksgiving issues, family recipes and classic Thanksgiving traditions, to find the best recipes for your Thanksgiving table. This year don’t showing up at your Thanksgiving feast with plain mashed potatoes and green bean casserole. IMG_6202It’s time to jazz up your menu with some fun, different and most importantly DELICIOUS dishes! This recipe for Harvest Pie from Morning Glory Farm on Martha’s Vineyard is one of my mother’s favorite holiday desserts. The flavors and spices of the pie are the definition of fall and the holiday season. The tartness of the cranberries balances the sweetness of the apples and raisins making for a truly awesome but not too sweet dessert.IMG_6204 If you’re ready to mix up the dessert table from the plain (and over done) apple and pumpkin pies, this is your recipe! Top this pie with a dollop of fresh whipped cream or serve it a la mode. The original recipe calls for a streusel topping however, I prefer the recipe with a lattice pie crust which doesn’t overpower the fresh fruit with too much ‘stuff’.IMG_6205 To make this pie super easy you can use Pillsbury pie dough from the dairy section of your grocery store (when in a hurry I cheat and use this… no one will ever know!), or if you’re feeling ambitious make your own dough. Streusel topping, classic crust or lattice top this pie will become your new favorite holiday dessert too! Enjoy!

Harvest Pie (Click for printer friendly version)

Prep Time Cooking Time Serves
30 Minutes 40-55 minutes 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups fresh apples, diced
  • 1 Cup fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. orange zest
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/8 Cup orange juice
  • 1/8 Cup flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare piecrust or streusel topping (below).
  2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, stirring until well blended. Pour into prepared piecrust. Top with streusel topping or lattice piecrust.
  3. Place pie in oven and immediately reduce temperature to 350 degrees. Bake until the apples are tender and the crumb or crust is golden brown.

Pastry Dough (Makes two 9-inch piecrusts) This pastry dough freezes well and will work with any pie!

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup cold vegetable shortening
  • 3 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small chunks
  • 6 Tbsp. ice water

Directions:

  1. Sift flour. Cut shortening and butter into flour with pastry blender or fingers until mixture has the consistency of small peas.
  2. Add ice water and blend just until dough holds together.
  3. Divide the dough into two pieces; if you are doing the streusel topping store one for later use. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll out into a 10-inch circle.
  4. Place dough in pie plate and crimp as desired.

Streusel Topping:

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • 2 cups all- purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter, melted

Directions:

Mix dry ingredients, then fold in melted butter, stirring until it clumps. Sprinkle evenly on top of pie.

Original recipes from Morning Glory Farm

Healthy Banana “Ice Cream”

photo-344Last weekend was the autumnal equinox which means bye, bye summer, welcome autumn, fall, bright colored leaves, pumpkins and… snow? Yup that’s right it was snowing in the mountains today! photo-341 Big fluffy flakes, which we are all hoping means its going to be a great ski year. I am still trying to hold on to a few last pieces of summer and nothing says summer like ice cream. Unfortunately, I have a slight intolerance to classic ice cream, which is a HUGE bummer, because its so unbelievably delicious. Then I found out you can make “ice cream” from frozen bananas and my whole life changed. I wish that I was brilliant enough to come up with this idea because it actually is brilliant. photo-343It’s creamy, thick, and tastes like real ice cream, you’d never know it was just frozen whipped bananas. Yup that’s it- ONE ingredient. Which means its vegan, dairy free, sugar free, low calorie but it tastes like the full fat, total guilty pleasure stuff… I promise! This recipe falls into my favorite category of should I eat it for “breakfast or dessert?” It’s so healthy you could eat if for breakfast sprinkled with your favorite granola or put a scoop on pie, peach crumble or chocolate cake for an unbelievable topping. photo-342Add your favorite ingredients to make it your own: peanut butter, chocolate chips, Nutella, maple syrup, almond butter, even a few strawberries and you’ve got a totally different treat! All those ripe bananas you’ve been saving for banana bread but haven’t gotten around to it- this recipe requires less time, effort and is more delicious! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 frozen bananas

Optional:

  • 3-4 Tablespoons peanut butter, almond butter or Nutella
  • 1/2 Cup chocolate chips
  • 3 Tablespoons Maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Cup frozen strawberries

Directions:

  1. Slice bananas (like you would for cereal- pictured above) and freeze for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight, on a flat cookie sheet, baking dish or Tupperware.
  2. Place bananas in a food processor with desired ingredients (peanut butter, syrup, strawberries etc). I did peanut butter chocolate chip! Add bananas and 3-4 Tablespoons peanut butter (depending on how much you love peanut butter add more or less) and pulse until fully combined, use a spoon or spatula to break up large chunks of frozen banana.
  3. Once mixed, stir in chocolate chips at the last minute with a spoon (otherwise the food processor will chop them up.)
  4. Scoop into bowls and top with chocolate sauce, sprinkles, pretzels or your favorite ice cream sunday toppings or put a scoop on pie, cake or another delicious dessert and enjoy!
  5. If your bananas don’t seem to be mixing as easily as you’d like, add 2-3 tablespoons of almond milk or soy milk which will speed up the mixing process.
  6. Looking for more ideas to mix with your banana ice cream? Dark chocolate chunks and sea salt, strawberry banana, peanut butter and honey, Nutella banana, 2 teaspoons mint extract and dark chocolate chunks… mint chip! the options are endless… get creative!

Almond Crisped Peaches

photo-326Holy smokes- its September. I actually have no idea where my summer went. But September means a lot of great things: kids are back in school, fall foliage, peach season and most importantly…Football season! The peaches are in full swing in Utah and they are so delicious! photo-320This recipe is a fun and healthy spin on the classic peach crumble or crisp. The individual peach halves make a beautiful presentation if you are entertaining. The crunchy almond crisp topping is light enough that it allows the sweetness of the fresh peaches to shine through – so you’re actually enjoying the peach instead of a lot of sugar. photo-321Crunchy sweet perfection. Originally, I topped the dessert with ice cream- turns out, it doesn’t need it, they are amazing au natural! And… They are gluten free! Come to think of it a dollop of plain yogurt on these peaches would make a delicious breakfast…drool.photo-324This recipe calls for such basic and simple ingredients you’re bound to have some variation on hand at all times- which makes this a perfect last minute sweet treat! Sub peaches for plums, nectarines, apples or pears. Switch up the almonds for your favorite nut- the options are endless! photo-325I’ve eaten (and made) many different kinds of peach deserts but this one might be my new favorite and definitely the easiest! Enjoy!

Almond-Crisped Peaches (Original recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe peaches, halved and pitted
  • 1/3 cup whole almonds (roasted or raw)
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar (raw sugar)
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • pinch of sea salt (optional)
  • 3 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place peaches cut side up in a baking dish.
  3. In a food processor, combine almonds and sugar until coarsely ground (till only a few pebbles remain).
  4. Add oats, cinnamon and salt if adding them, and butter, pulsing until they are blended.
  5. Scoop almond mixture into the center of each peach and press flat to coat the whole top of the peach.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour (baking time will depend on peach size) till the top is brown and the fruit is soft enough to cut with fork or spoon.
  7. Serve warm with fresh whipped cream, ice cream or with a drizzle of fresh maple syrup. Enjoy!

If you don’t have a food processor, use finely chopped almonds and combine them with other dry ingredients. Melt the butter and mix with dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. Scoop mixture into peaches as directed above.   photo-327

Rum Chocolate Mousse

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We recently started receiving a few wedding gifts in the mail, which as been like Christmas on steroids. One of the most recent gifts that would make any chef swoon… Fire engine red Le Creuset baking dishes, complete with 4 mini cocottes. I’ve died and gone to culinary heaven. Every time I open a new kitchen item I jump up and down like a little kid while Jake looks at me all confused. Anyways… The second I saw these little cocottes I thought chocolate- Chocolate souffle, chocolate mousse, chocolate molten cake- slightly obsessed with chocolate. But seriously, what is better than your very own mini dish coming out filled with chocolate? photo-245This mousse recipe is very special to me, as it belonged to my grandmother Harriet and I remember her making this for dinner parties when I was growing up. It’s extremely easy, super rich and the flavor of the rum comes through nicely, which makes the recipe a winner in my book. This is a family favorite, so I hope you ENJOY!

Rum Chocolate Mousse (Click for printer friendly version)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 5 tablespoons boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum (Myers is my favorite)
  • 4 eggs, separated

Directions:

  1. Separate egg yolks and whites into two bowls
  2. Beat egg whites with an electric hand mixer or kitchenaid until stiff fluffy and peaks form, set aside.
  3. Put chocolate chips and boiling water in a blender and blend until smooth, about 10 seconds.
  4. Add yolks and rum to blender, blend until fully incorporated
  5. Using a rubber spatula, transfer chocolate mixture into a medium bowl.
  6. Fold whipped egg whites into rum chocolate.
  7. Pour into ramekins, chill at least 1 hour.

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Fresh Basil Lime Fruit Salad

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What a fantastic weekend of great weather, food and friends! I hope you all spent some quality time with someone special and soaked up some sunshine- I thought it was June it was so warm! I was in the mood for a fresh and light fruit salad that would be the perfectly refreshing desert on a warm afternoon. Only problem was, I got all the way home from the store and realized I forgot the mint I needed to make my fruit salad! With no time to go back to the store, I decided to improvise with what I had. I love fresh herbs with fruit and I had a whole bunch of fresh basil on hand for another recipe. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect substitution, the flavors were so amazing, this will definitely become my go to combination for fruit salad, Enjoy!

Basil-Lime Fruit Salad (click for printer friendly version)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1 medium size fresh pineapple cut into chunks (about 4 cups)
  • 2 mango’s peeled and cubed
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries quartered
  • 1 carton fresh blueberries
  • You can substitute any fresh fruit you enjoy such as Kiwi’s, Raspberries, Blackberries, Guava, etc.

Directions:

  1. Combine sugar and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring often until sugar is fully dissolved, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Remove sauce pan from heat. Add lime zest and basil, stir and set aside to cool.
  3. Once the sugar mixture is completely cool, strain syrup through a mesh sieve into another bowl and discard solid pieces of basil and zest.
  4. Combine all fresh chopped fruit in one large bowl and drizzle with basil-lime syrup. Mix to coat fruit completely.
  5. Refrigerate and serve. Garnish with a few pieces of freshly chopped basil. photo-237

Mascarpone Mini Cupcakes with the Girl Scouts!

IMG_7140This past weekend I was asked by one of my friends, Helen Golden, to lead a cooking class for her daughters Girl Scout troop on how to make an Italian dessert for their cooking badge!  IMG_7151With the help of another one of Helen’s friends, who showed the girls how to make homemade ravioli and meatballs, the troop cooked an entire meal start to finish for themselves! It was such a fun experience and I was honored that Helen asked me to help them achieve their cooking badge! All of the girls did such a great job, I won’t be surprised when they all grow up to be great cooks!

IMG_7153Helen and her daughter with the Mascarpone Mini Cupcakes.

I chose to help them make mascarpone mini cupcakes with strawberry glaze. This recipe is great to make with first time bakers since you use a white cake mix as the base. Their is some measuring involved but most of it is included with the cake mix which makes this muffins a breeze!

IMG_7134Plus the strawberry glaze is delicious and pink, which the girls loved! The original recipe is from Giada De Laurentiis who is one of my favorite cooks. Hope you enjoy and congratulations to the Girl Scouts for earning their cooking badge!

Mascarpone Mini Cupcakes (Click for printer friendly version)

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese (about 1 cup), softened
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup frozen strawberries, thawed and drained
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

Special equipment: 4 mini muffin tins and 48 mini muffin paper cupcake liners

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the mini tins with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl combine the mascarpone cheese, egg whites and vegetable oil. Using a hand mixer, beat the ingredients until combined and creamy. Add the cake mix and water and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  3. Fill the mini cups to just below the rim and bake until puffed and golden, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly in the tin then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack.
  4. Meanwhile, puree the strawberries in a blender or small food processor. Place the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Pour in the strawberry puree and whisk until smooth.
  5. Top the cooled cupcakes with the strawberry glaze. Let the cupcakes sit for a few minutes for the glaze to firm up, then serve. (This part didn’t happen because the girls were to excited to eat them!)

IMG_7158Our victory photo after the meal!

Chocolate Fudge Brownies… with Black Beans and Avocado!

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So you must be thinking that Ski Boots has gone off the deep end… Black bean brownies? Perhaps it’s the lack of snow we’ve been getting lately that’s made me want to experiment with some new recipes and ingredients. I had to try this one for a few reasons but mostly because I wanted to see if I could taste the black beans… Which you can’t… AT ALL.photo-225

In fact, everyone I served them to didn’t believe I actually made them with black beans. Nothing about these brownies are normal. Unlike your typical fudge brownies, where you feel sick after eating just one, these are dangerously perfect. They are rich AND light and you will most definitely not be able to stop at eating just one, Oh and did I mention they are gluten free? photo-228

Oh and did I also mention they are low fat? I wouldn’t feel guilty for a second eating these brownies for breakfast, they’ve got almost 5 grams of protein and only 150 calories per square (less if you use sugar substitute)… say what?! You won’t believe it until you try them for yourself but I promise you will enjoy them!

Black Bean & Avocado Fudge Brownies (Click for printer friendly version)
Ingredients:
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 egg plus 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 of a large ripe avocado
  • 1 teaspoon olive or canola oil
  • 1/3 cup, plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute of choice
  • dark chocolate chips (to sprinkle on top)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8×8 inch baking pan.
  2. Put all the ingredients besides chocolate chips into food processor (or a blender). Process or puree until ingredients form a smooth batter (scrapping down the sides with a spatula in between to make sure all the cocoa powder is incorporated.)
  3. Pour into prepared pan, sprinkle with chocolate chips, nuts, or any other desired brownie topping and bake for 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean and top of the brownies begin to crack.
  4. Cool pan completely on wire rack then cut into 16 squares.

And if the kitchen didn’t smell amazing enough with all those brownies baking… my valentines day flowers are just starting to blooming and its like heaven on earth in my living room!photo-227Enjoy!

Original recipe from Ambitious Kitchen

Joanie’s Chocolate Chip Almond Cookies

photo-220Happy Valentines Day everyone! Whether you’re a lover or a hater of this pretty ridiculous holiday- You’ve gotta love an excuse to stuff your face with baked goods, chocolates, fruit covered in chocolate, candy hearts and then wash it down with wine or (but preferably AND) champagne with out getting a belly ache… Yeah, good luck!

My friend Aly brought me these beautiful tulips, I’m feeling pretty lucky and its not even officially Valentines Day!photo-223These almond cookies are pretty outrageous- in the healthiest way possible. Pom Pom got this recipe from her friend Joanie and Joanie must have got this recipe from an angle because they are that good. photo-219

They are made with almond flour/meal which gives it a chewy, nutty texture. Then you mix that with a hint of mint extract and dark chocolate chips and it’s like a Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie and a chocolate chip cookie got married and had little chocolate mint almond cookie babies. Plus… they are gluten free, vegan and guilt free (kind of) after you eat the whole plate. Enjoy!

Heaven on Earth Almond Cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups Almond flour/meal (this can be found in the bulk section at Whole Foods or any health food store. Bob’s Red Mill also makes it, usually in the gluten free section)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil or canola oil (I used canola this time because I didn’t have grapeseed on hand but either is good)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1 cup 70% dark chocolate, chopped (or use dark chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mint extract

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl
  • Combine wet ingredients in a smaller bowl
  • Mix dry and wet ingredients together and stir in chocolate chunks
  • Roll dough into 1″ balls and softly press/flatten dough onto a well greased cookie sheet
  • Bake for 8-12 minutes until edges begin to brown.
  • Cool on wire wracks (if you can wait that long)
  • These would also make really good ice cream sandwiches- place a scoop of your favorite flavored ice cream or sorbet and let them set in the freezer for at least 1 hour before serving.

Salted Caramel Brownies

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Storm “Nemo” (which might I say could be the lamest name for “the fieriest blizzard since 1978”) has been the perfect excuse to cook up “a storm” in very kitchen that I learned so much about food and my love for making it- with my favorite cook, Palmer. There’s nothing better than a warm gooey brownie, especially on a cold day. Pair that with the sweetness of creamy caramel and savory sea salt and you’ve literally got the best combination on Earth. IMG_6770Then cut them into heart shaped, bite sized, pieces of perfection and you’ll have everyone asking to be your Valentine this year. In case you were wondering, this winter storm is not named after the fish Nemo, because according to this report... “that would be illegal.”IMG_6781Even our dog Tucker is pissed off by the storm. We let him out and he turned right back around to give us a look like “WTF it’s freaking cold out here, let me back in and give me some caramel brownies.” IMG_6760

My thoughts exactly, Tucker. While these brownies take a bit longer to make than your typical brownies, they are beyond worth it. IMG_6772

I served them with dairy free coconut milk ice cream but these would be great with real ice cream, whipped cream or a glass of milk. IMG_6700IMG_6705

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IMG_6722Palmer finally had to put the remaining brownies in the freezer so we wouldn’t keep picking at them.IMG_6727

Salted Caramel Brownies…Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Caramel

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (or salted, but then ease up on the sea salt)
  • Heaped 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt (or 1/8 teaspoon table salt, more to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream

Brownie

  • 3 ounces (85 grams) unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Heaped 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt or 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Directions:

  1. For the caramel: Place a piece of parchment paper over a medium size plate and coat with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium, dry saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the sugar; this will take about 5 minutes, stirring if necessary to break up large chunks. It should be a nice copper color by the time its fully melted.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in butter until fully incorporated. Stir in cream and salt and return saucepan to the stove over medium-high heat. Cook bubbling caramel for a few minutes more, until it is a shade darker.
  4. Pour out onto parchment-covered plate and transfer plate to your freezer. Freeze until solidified, which can take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. (Make sure you are using a plate that can withstand the temperature change- if you are not sure about your dish wear, you can always use a Pyrex dish.)
  5. While the caramel is cooling, heat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment, extending it up two sides. Butter the parchment or spray it with a nonstick cooking spray.
  6. In a double boiler or medium heatproof bowl over gently simmering water, melt chocolate and butter together until only a couple unmelted bits remain. Off the heat, stir until smooth and fully melted. (This can also be done in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each.)
  7. Whisk in sugar, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and salt. Stir in flour with a spoon or flexible spatula.
  8. Once caramel is firm, remove from the freezer and cut into 1-inch squares and gently fold all but a few pieces of caramel into brownie mixture.
  9. Pour into prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Place remaining caramel squares on top.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  11. Let brownies cool completely before cutting into squares or using a cookie cutter, cut into desired shape.IMG_6765

Original recipe from Smitten Kitchen.