Monday, March 17, 2014

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Brownies

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While 2013 was the year of the kale it seems that cauliflower is the new superfood trending in the food hit list for 2014. Kale or “grünkohl” as it is known in Germany has always been a traditional vegetable here; popular in the northern regions of Germany, but the hype made around it in the US was quite fascinating to watch as it developed. Now, however it is time to pack away the kale chips, kale lasagna, kale salads and even those kale popsicles and make room for cauliflower. 

I have always loved my cauliflower and never really waited for any trends to tell me when is a good time to eat it, but while I was looking at the food trends for 2014 I found some interesting topics and themes setting the trend for the year.

Consumers are drawn to brands that support important social causes, so 2014 will be seeing a lot of socially responsible companies delivering more consumer-friendly products, while also supporting initiatives that align with their consumers' particular beliefs and views. Furthermore, consumers are becoming increasingly aware about not only the food but also the packaging it comes in, which companies have caught onto and are providing some intriguing solutions such as edible wrappers. According to a trend report compiled by the global marketing and advertising agency – JWT, a burger chain in Brazil now serves its burgers in packaging you can eat. These are promising trends that I hope will be developed further and tuned into the right channels.

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Quinoa was so 2013! The en vogue grains in 2014 will be freekeh and teff. These ancient grains are very prominent in the Middle Eastern and Ethiopian diets but they are now taking center stage on many menus and supermarkets in the US and European countries. These ancient grains offer unique health benefits lacking in durum wheat, as well as some gluten-free alternatives for those following a special diet.

It also seems that it is in fashion to eat the humble chicken again and while fancy chefs are roasting and stuffing them with foie gras and black truffles, food bloggers are licking their fingers over KFC. The Other KFC that is – Korean Fried Chicken double fries chicken wings creating a crackly crust, which is the trademark of this popular Korean specialty.

2014 also promises tea trends, where we will be adding tea leaves to desserts , cocktails and other courses (haven’t we being doing that already?) and there will be intriguing flavored yogurts like beet, tomato and butternut squash popping up on supermarket shelves. Apparently Chef Dominque Ansel supersedes the mighty cronut with his cookie shot glass, which seems will be a hot trend in 2014.

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I asked my friends and followers on Twitter and Facebook about their thoughts and trends for 2014. From USA to India this is what they said.

  • My wise friend Silvana of awesome magazine The Foodie Bugle says
    “Grow-your-own, make-your-own, cook-your-own will become bigger than ever as food prices continue to rise and food security continues to fall. Hipster hype food trends and pop-up restaurants will give way to good, old-fashioned Mamma food {thank God} as middle-aged women are set to become the most important people on the planet.”
  • Dear Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen thinks:
    “…Slow Cookers and Pressure Cookers will both continue to be trendy in 2014, partly because they provide a way to tenderize inexpensive cuts of meat.”
  • Mona Wise of Wise Words really does share some wise thoughts:
    “I think people are spending less when they eat out and spending more on better quality foods to cook at home.”
  • @aparna_jain: “farm to table. city wise/ region wise. so a gardening+cooking support. or local farmer support. Seasonal veggie cooking”
  • @palachinkaa: „Nordic influence“
  • @clandestinecake: „cake will definitely be part of any food trend.”
  • Helen Dsouza of Masala Herb:
    “Experimenting with food ingredients. I see that lately here a lot more. Oh and organic produce, vegetable and fruits with flavor.”
  • Marta Potoczek an awesome friend of mine says:
    “Grow your own food, cook according to seasons, buy locally, buy at small farms(super quality meat, diary, veg), foraging super foods and incorporating them into dishes(f.e. nettle), cooking outdoors(bread ovens, garden kitchen)”
  • Helen Gillis:
    “I'm trying very hard to eat as locally as possible. I'm also a huge fan of the pressure cooker, it is totally underutilized, at least in the US.”
  • One of my best friends in LA: Shima Andre says
    “Organic, non-GMO, clean, green, and healthy foods. If it comes in a box or can and doesn't expire within 7 days, I'm not interested!”
  • @FoodPornNY: „continuing the trend of healthy eating and cooking with ingredients like cauliflower, freekeh, and kaniwa”
  • My friend Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen:
    “I personally don't follow trends of any sort in food. I cook like most people around me do, using whatever fresh produce is available locally (which is largely locally produced) and seasonally. And I continue to explore cuisines new to me by whatever catches my interest at any given point in time”
  • My sweet friend Sandy from Confiture de Vivire:
    “I don't see huge new trends but agree with Silvana. But what I see more as a movement is that people are mindful when it comes to food. I appreciate that consumers want to know how food is produced. Food will be more down to earth, with Family related simple recipes and I hope we will overcome the hipster stuff with its fake mindfulness.”
  • Hayley Harland agrees: “... grow your own is awesome!”
    She recommends this book “The Permaculture Kitchen,” which she shot and styled.

I personally do not do trends. I eat what I like and pay attention to regional, local and seasonal most of the time but also look out for fair trade items at the store. I am not a picky eater and indulge in food as a greater concept of bringing not only food but people together to the table, discovering and learning more about food culture and tradition in the process. As Silvana put it: I am more of the “old-fashioned Mamma food” kind of gal. There is one trend however I am certainly caving into this year.

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2014 as it seems will be the year of chocolate! Ok so I am 41 and I think I have had a chocolate year for a majority of my life but if the trend this year specifically calls for chocolate – I can do that.
Wait the news gets even better: as healthy lifestyles become more common manufactures are providing for healthier alternatives. So you are going to be seeing chocolate paired with goji berries, probiotic enriched bars, raw unprocessed chocolate and hemp seeds. Works for me!

Keeping with the trend for 2014 I am pairing chocolate with salted caramel and presenting you with this very stylish salted caramel and dark chocolate brownie recipe. One might argue as to the healthy aspect of these brownies - to which I say – healthy is everything that makes you happy and feel good – and these brownies certainly take the winning role.

Current Workshops & E-Courses

With only 3 workshops in Europe this year I am looking forward to travelling to some awesome cities. Currently 2 workshops have been announced and registrations are running for both the Helsinki and Venice workshop so make sure to grab a slot.

HelsinkiBadge2014-SIDEBARHelsinki Food Styling & Photography Workshop

A 2-day workshop in Finland's dynamic and pulsating capital, Helsinki. The focus of this workshop will be light and lighting systems as we work on harnessing natural light and work with artificial lighting systems.
Helsinki, Finland
7 - 8 June 2014
More details and the preliminary programme here.
Registrations for this workshop are now open: please fill out the registration form.







Venice Food Styling & Photography WorkshopVenice2014-GOLD-Sidebar

A 2-day workshop in the delightful prosecco region of Valdobbiadene just outside of Venice, Italy.
1st - 3rd May 2014
The focus of this workshop is on natural and low-light photography as well as styling and creating moods for your images.
Details for the Venice Food Styling and Photography Workshop here.
To register for this workshop please fill out the registration form here.

The March session for my e-courses at the interactive school of photography and multimedia The Compelling Image (TCI) are now online and enrolments are running. These courses are aimed primarily at food bloggers and photographers who would like to enhance and hone their food photography and styling skills. To enroll in one of the available courses, please select the session that you would like to here.

Recipe: Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Brownies

Printable version of recipe here

Salted Caramel Chocolate Brownies (21)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yields: 15-20 squares

Ingredients:
For the caramel

  • 75g sugar
  • 50ml thick pouring cream
  • 10g butter
  • generous pinch of fleur de sel
For the brownie
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 150g sugar
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 75g golden syrup
  • 270g good quality dark chocolate, 70%
  • 4 eggs
  • 70g flour

Method:

  1. To make the caramel, put the sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the edges begin to melt, gently swirl the pan around to get the sugar to move around and melt evenly. Do not stir, just keep swirling the pan gently until all the sugar has melted and turned liquid. Keep the pan on the heat until it turns a deep golden-bronze. Take off the heat and immediately pour about ⅓ of the cream into the sugar to reduce it’s cooking process. Reduce the heat and pour in the rest of the cream, whisking all the while until all the cream in incorporated. Sprinkle in the salt, then add the butter in portions until the caramel is smooth and silky. The caramel should come off the spoon in thin ribbons. At this stage pour into a bowl to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C. Line a baking tray (20 x 20 cm) with some baking paper. To make the brownie batter, add the butter in a clean saucepan. Pour in both types of sugar and syrup. Heat gently until the mixture has melted, then stir the ingredients until they have incorporated together into a smooth thick mixture. Remove from the heat, add all of the chocolate and stir to blend together. Add the eggs one at a time whisking well after each addition. Finally add the flour and beat thoroughly until the batter is very smooth. Pour into the prepared baking tray.
  3. The caramel should have thickened nicely by now. Spoon this over the brownie batter. Using a skewer or a knife swirl the caramel through the chocolate brownie mixture.
  4. Bake for approx. 20-25 minutes, then take out and leave to cool entirely. Refrigerate overnight until set, then slice into squares with a sharp knife dipped into hot water and cleaned between each cut.
Notes
These brownies freeze really well. After you have cut them up into squares place in the freezer until frozen, then stack in an airtight container. When a craving hits, simply take out of the freezer and leave for 15 minutes at room temperature.

Verdict

Salted Caramel Chocolate Brownies (15)

These brownies are rich, velvety and seductively decadent. The fudge-like dark chocolate base is sublime paired with the gooey slated caramel. Both counterbalance the flavors so perfectly that one cannot imagine them apart.

What are your food trends 2014? Share your ideas and feedback in my comment section. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Connect

In this section of the post I share bits and pieces, finds and interesting things I come across as I surf the web. It might be a quote, a picture a moving post, interesting news and announcements, whatever makes me connect with you.

Hope you enjoyed my decadent treat and a few of my favorite things this week. Have a lovely weekend and I'll see you next week with a fruity treat!

You might like these chocolate delights from What's for lunch, honey?:

SpicedChocOrangeBread01framed2 ChocOrangeCardamomCake_0016WM2 FlourlessChocCake01framed2
Spiced Chocolate and Orange Bread Chocolate Orange Cake with Salted Caramel Ganache Flourless Chocolate Cake - Chocolate Valentino


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2013 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

21 comments :

  1. An interesting post, although I don't follow trends of any kind. ;-)

    These brownies look terrific! That is such a great flavor combination.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Rosa for your comment. I enjoy reading about what will be trending and what not. I think we should follow our own intuition and make our own trends.

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  2. OK, let's be trendy and follow the chocolate! Darling, I totally agree with you, no trendsetting for me too! No pink garlands and no super duper frostings on green cupcakes, no mustaches on cakes of any kind and no fancy hipster recipes! Nothing can beat dark chocolate and salty caramel. I love how elaborated and mindful your posts are and now craving the brownies! See you tomorrow,
    hugs, Sandy

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    Replies
    1. Yes chocolate is a trend I can follow anywhere it will take me. Thank you for your comment - I agree totally that some trends are best left alone. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. Lots to plan and discuss!

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  3. I love the combination of salt, caramel and chocolate! I´m also not a trendy person, but I admit that I had to try the kale chips and it really tastes amazing. Chocolate is for me always trendy and new chocolate recipes and ideas are always welcome!

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    Replies
    1. I am great with kale chips too but chocolate I can do any time. Thank you for your comment and thoughts Karla!

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  4. This recipe looks delicious and I was ready to run into my kitchen and get started, until I saw that the recipe calls for golden syrup. Where in Germany can you get golden syrup (I am assuming we are talking about what we call treacle in the UK and I have been unable to find here) or what can you use as a substitute ? Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Isa, It's a can I ordered on Amazon.de. Check that out. You can substitute it with honey (although the taste will be slightly different) or also "zückerrüben sirup" as an alternative (again taste will differ somewhat)

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    2. Meeta, thanks for the reply. I don't think there is a substitute for golden syrup, so I will bookmark this recipe until I can get some.
      I am a big (albeit so far rather silent) fan of your blog. Beautifully presented! And I love how personal it is, as well.
      So, thank you for all the hard work you pour into this. Your readers appreciate it !

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  5. What a wonderful post Meeta! And if it wasn't for you I had still nor known anything about freekeh.. I'm always interested in food trends and I might on occasion dive in for a closer look (like I did with the paleo thing) but I always come back to my own values and ideas.. Now as for chocolate... That. Am be a trend always as far as I am concerned and these brownies look to die for!

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    Replies
    1. I like the fact the way you just do things and are not afraid to try out different foods. It's important to keep moving forward and I believe it's important to keep pushing yourself to try new things. Trends come and go but if you know what you like and are still "daring" enough to step out of the comfort zone I think that is a good way forward!

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  6. Food trends are something for the others :) But it is also funny when you suddenly noticed you are trendy, just because something you love to eat like kale, cauliflower or chocolate became a trend.

    And your salted caramel dark chocolate brownies look so delicious that I am now very seriously thinking about giving them a try and that, although I have started to eat less sweet. But as you wrote: healthy is everything that makes you happy and feel good :-))
    Hugs, Eva

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    Replies
    1. Exactly! This way we all will be trendy at some point. But you put it well ... and I think it is not bad to try out a few new things but if you basically know what you enjoy eating and love that is the most important trend ever.

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  7. I've been a long time admirer of your blog. The sum-up of food trends was interesting and informative. I'm not much for organic but healthy and seasonal. Cauliflowers are abuntunt at the moment where I am. My favourite way to enjoy cauliflowers is pan-roasted with hazelnuts seasoned with turmeric. Thanks for the great article. I'd love to attend one of your workshops if the dates are right for me. Cheers.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Namie. I love roasting cauliflower in the oven and using different spices, nuts and herbs to jazz it up. Cauliflower is so versatile and I think what I will enjoy this year is watching how people create interesting dishes with this.
      I hope you can make it to one of the workshops. It's always great meeting readers and putting a face to the name!

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  8. Looks so delicious, like nearly everything on your blog!
    Chocolate and salt is one of the few food-trends I follow! Otherwise I prefer buying fresh seasonal and local food and don't care that much about food trends.

    Cheers, Regina

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  9. Meeta I'm with you. I don't tend to follow food trends. I cook simply and seasonally and I'll take my milk in a glass bottle (like the one in your gorgeous photos) rather than a cookie cup. These brownies are right up my alley ~ classic, timeless, delicious. Wish I could come to one of your workshops. One of these days I will. Thank you for mentioning my Abruzzo tours. I'm excited about showing off this beautiful region ~ my favorite in all of Italy. xoxo

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  10. Gorgeous photos! I could eat the caramel brownies right off the monitor.

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  11. Looks mouth-watering! I'm just wondering what thick pouring cream is in German?

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    Replies
    1. It would be the normal full fat "sahne" you get in the supermarkets. Do not skimp on that ;o)

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  12. These brownies look soooo amazing! Great!!

    Greets
    Johanna from http://inlovewithraspberries.blogspot.de/

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta