I have been on a popcorn kick lately when I’m in the mood for a snack.
Really, to be accurate, I should say that both I and our schnauzer, K.C., have been on a popcorn kick lately, since I never eat a bowl of it alone if she can help it.
There’s something about that combination of the sweetness of the corn covered in just a bit of salt that I can’t get enough of, and apparently, it’s because our bodies are literally wired to like salty and sweet tastes together.
An article by Justine Sterling for “Delish” notes that researchers have found a certain sweet tastebud that only activates when sodium is also present.
In other words, if salt and sugar are both in whatever we’re eating, we get a bonus taste receptor to notice it for us.
The good Lord knew what he was doing when he was crafting our tongues, it seems.
With my love of salty and sweet, I was immediately drawn to a recipe for salted caramel brownies recently, and the dense chocolatey-ness along with the caramel makes this a recipe worth trying.
I found it on the blog “The Salted Marshmallow.” You can find the original at https://thesaltymarshmallow.com/sea-salt-caramel-chip-brownies/.
Salted Caramel Brownies
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup butter melted
- 4 eggs
- 3 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 10- ounce bag of sea salt caramel baking chips
- 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper and spray it with cooking spray. Set it aside.
- Add all of the ingredients except the baking chips and caramel topping to a mixing bowl and beat until everything is combined.
- Fold in the baking chips and spread the batter into your baking pan.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
- Let the brownies cool and then top with the caramel topping.
- Store in an airtight container.
I didn’t wait for my brownies to cool all the way before adding the caramel topping, and it sort of melted into the tops, which still tasted amazing, but it didn’t let them have that nice drizzle effect. But if you don’t have time to wait, you won’t mess anything up by just dumping on the sauce while your brownies are still warm.
I also wish I would have sprinkled a little coarse salt on the top of these and definitely will the next time I make them, so you may consider that addition as well.
This also helped me clean out two different ingredients in my kitchen, since I had some salted caramel chips in my freezer and half of a jar of caramel sauce sitting in my refrigerator. If I keep it up, I may have my excess ingredient collection cleaned out by spring.
I really liked the combination of flavors in the brownies, and we enjoyed sharing them with friends, too.
K.C., on the other hand, was less than impressed with me eating chocolate snacks she’s not allowed to have. Her vote is still for the popcorn.
This piece first appeared in print on Jan. 9, 2020.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.