Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

5 Years, and Dulce de Leche Brownies

Today marks 5 years since this little blog came into being. I started writing upon my return home from a semester abroad in Australia, fresh off of the best experience of my life, and craving a way to channel all of my energy and excitement. College graduation loomed just months away, and I had few concerns beyond securing a post-grad job, and packing as much fun into those last months as possible. I had no idea what the future would hold, but I had a lot of big dreams and high expectations, and was excited to see how it’d all play out.

The last 5 years have been nothing like I imagined. For one — I can’t believe that I’m still here, writing intermittently, sharing my thoughts with the world, and some pretty spectacular recipes too. This space is one of the things I am most proud of in life, not because it’s some magnificent work of art, or anything particularly out of the ordinary, but because it is all mine. It’s been 5 years in the making, built from the ground up with a tremendous amount of effort and care, and it is so very special to me. If love exists for intangible objects, then I have an outpouring of it for this space.

Dulce de Leche Brownies - Sweetly Serendipity

The last 5 years saw me through what thus far in life was my most trying time. I set into motion the demise of a relationship I once banked on being a part of forever, and it really tested me. Time and space have proven that it was probably the best thing that could have ever happened to me, and I’ll always know to trust my gut from this day forwards, but the experience still changed me in ways I’ll never forget. It changed me for the better.

Dulce de Leche Brownies - Sweetly Serendipity

I’m more grateful for these past 5 years than almost anything else — friends and family aside — because in that span of time, I grew out out of a lot of childish habits and naiveté, and into someone new, someone I am so proud of, and happy to be. This blog stuck with me through it all, patiently waiting through the painful and neglected moments; always at the ready for when happier, more prosperous, and more hopeful times would come. The cool part is — those good times always have a way of reappearing if you hold out long enough. It’s a good thing to keep in mind when the going gets tough.

I lost a job. I lost a best friend. I struggled financially. I struggled emotionally. But then I wrote, and I baked, and I rode my horse; I knit (a lot), and I spent time with people I loved, and I remembered to laugh, and to appreciate the way the sun rises and sets each day. I cuddled my kitties often, I took my bike out for so many miles I thought I might never make it back, and I learned to smile on the worst days, and rejoice on the best. And then, I was happy.

Dulce de Leche Brownies - Sweetly Serendipity

This blog makes me happy. It makes me shine with pride. It has survived so long that I know it’ll keep doing so, even when I think I might not be able to push on. It will always be here. Like my best friends from college cheering me on across the country, loving me every step of the way even when they can’t be around. Or like an angel perched on my shoulder (looking at you Grandma and Dan), a constant quiet presence that motivates me to keep pushing, or just sits with me in silence when I need a moment.

This blog is just a blog. It’s made up of a URL and some hosting space and lots of photos and words that live on some server somewhere, and it very frequently crashes because I’m not tech-literate enough to stop that from happening. It’s just a bunch of files and data points and lines of code; it is nothing, and it is everything.

Dulce de Leche Brownies - Sweetly Serendipity

These brownies, too, are humble. They are what I turn to after a long week, or on a lazy Saturday afternoon, or when I want to make something special for someone in a pinch. They are what prompted me to start this blog in the first place – delicious, simple, sweet treats that delight and comfort – and they are so perfect and wonderful in their simplicity. They’re an Ina original, slathered with a generous smear of dulce de leche (an impulse buy from Trader Joes – some things will never change!) and an even more generous layer of ganache. Serve them up slightly warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and we’ll be best friends forever. Promise.

Oh, and from the very bottom of my heart… thank you for reading. I admittedly didn’t start this place for all of you, but you readers have been the most pleasant surprise. A light in the dark, and a hug when I’m down. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Here’s to the next 5 years, and beyond. I have a sneaking suspicion it’s going to be a great ride.

Happy Birthday, SS!

Dulce de Leche Brownies

Ingredients

    Brownies
  • 2 sticks (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cups + 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 jar dulce de leche
  • Ganache
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate (or chocolate chips)

Directions

    Brownies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13-inch baking pan.
  2. Melt the butter, chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler, stirring occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool briefly.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla, and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture slowly, taking care not to cook your eggs, and continue adding and stirring until completely incorporated. Cool mixture to room temperature.
  4. In a separate medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips, and pour batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake! Let brownies cool completely in their pan set on the counter or a wire rack.
  6. When brownies have cooled, spread a jar of dulce de leche evenly over them. Jar volumes vary, so use whatever feels right to you. Let brownies chill for 30 minutes or so.
  7. Ganache
  8. While the brownies are chilling, go ahead and make your ganache. Place chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in a bowl and set aside. Heat your heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until little bubbles form around the edges of the pan and the cream is steaming. Be careful not to boil! Pour heavy cream over chocolate, and let sit for a couple of minutes to melt. After 2-3 minutes, whisk the cream and chocolate mixture together until smooth and uniform. Let the ganache cool slightly.
  9. Remove brownies from the refrigerator, and pour ganache carefully and evenly over the brownies. Return to the refrigerator and chill until ganache is set, then slice and serve! (Preferably with vanilla ice cream, if you've got some handy 🙂
http://www.sweetlyserendipity.com/dessert/brownies-and-bars/5-years-and-dulce-de-leche-brownies/



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