We are super duper stoked (yeah, we said ‘super duper’), about our new food columnist, Kylie Antolini from the blog, The Baking Bird. After seeing her recipes and drool worthy photos of cookies, cakes, cocktails and savory dishes, we knew we needed her. Bad! So to get to the good stuff, we are here to introduce you to Kylie and her first recipe for EYES + EDGE...drum roll please...Gluten-Free Salted Caramel Sugar Cube Brownies. Phew.What was the first thing you ever baked/cooked? Total flop or total success? Did it inspire you?Wow, that's a tough call! Do Easy Bake Oven brownies count? My grandmother inspired me to bake and cook when I was very young, and we would make homemade pasta and cookies together, so it's hard to say when I finally branched out on my own. However, when I started looking into vegetarianism and veganism some years ago (although I am not either of the two now), I was completely inspired by the How It All Vegan! cookbook series, and made this deeelicious No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Tofu Pie. It was definitely one of my top favorite things to make for awhile, and coincidentally, was also my very first blog post on The Baking Bird! Vegan baking was really what got my adventurous and creative culinary skills rolling--the concept that I could make equally delicious treats with alternative ingredients for half the cost.Do you have a favorite dish or go-to?I'm not sure if I do, actually! I'm usually all over the map and love to experiment with new recipes rather than repeating previous ones. But I will say that whenever I'm in the mood for cookies, these can never disappoint: Thick, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. They're simple, easy to make, and more than likely you'll have all of the basic ingredients you need to make them on hand.If you could pick one ingredient to use for the rest of your life (we know this is hard)?Oh my gosh! Toughest question in the universe! Ok. That's a toss up between peanut butter and pumpkin. So I'll go with peanut butter. It's so versatile and pairs beautifully with many other ingredients (ahem, CHOCOLATE). The majority of recipes on my blog are made with chocolate and peanut butter. I'm guessing I'd be provided the other ingredients and forced to improvise with peanut butter? I hope that's the question. :)You're originally from California, do you see a big difference in dishes here in the Pacific Northwest?Luckily where I'm from I had equal access to fresh, local produce and ingredients, farmers markets, with an abundance of health food and specialty stores (I worked at one for 7 years). I definitely felt spoiled. And coming up to Portland, there is so much awesome food available also. The major difference I see is that the culinary scene in Portland is way more advanced. There is more risk taking and creativity in dishes, drinks, and desserts. There is an overwhelming amount of restaurants to try out, that you could spend your entire lifetime just trying every place in town. That's what I love about Portland. I don't think one could ever get bored of the food and dishes that are available.What's your favorite thing about Portland?Besides food? The lifestyle. I moved here for many reasons: for the food scene, music, art, people, trees, rain, community, job opportunities, the inspiration that everyone brings to the table. I love that pretty much no matter where you live in Portland, there is usually a grocery store, gym, bakery, brewery, library, park, or coffee shop within one mile either direction. I feel so blessed and excited to be a part of the Portland community, and look forward to the opportunities of working with the lovely gals of EYES + EDGE! NOW TO THE BROWNIES ---->
Hey everyone! I’m excited to share this ridiculously amazing (and chocolate-y) brownie recipe with you as a way to kick off my first post here on EYES + EDGE. If first impressions on the Interwebs count as much as they do as a first impression in person, I’d like to say this is the most confident handshake with direct eye contact that I could come up with: Gluten-Free Salted Caramel (& Vanilla Bean!) Sugar Cube Brownies.
As a fellow food-obsessed Portlander, part of the inspiration for the baking and cooking I do on The Baking Bird comes from my restaurant and food cart experiences in day-to-day life. Whether it’s a creamy pasta sauce or a cocktail containing my favorite liqueur (ahem, St. Germain), I like to infuse my own spin on things, recreating a similar but unique enough experience at home. Pan to The Sugar Cube.
Several weeks ago after an indulgent pig out dinner at Lardo (literally...those Dirty Fries, man!), we finally lucked out on our timing to order something from The Sugar Cube dessert cart that I have been pining after for years. I received her baking book as a gift several months ago, but wanted to taste-test it first to see how she makes it in the cart before I embarked on my own recreation at home. It was a tough decision figuring out what to try first, but I figured the “Ultimate Big-Ass Brownie Sundae” (warm and gooey fudge brownie, two fat scoops of vanilla bean ice cream, salted caramel, hot fudge, fresh whoop) couldn’t do me wrong.
And my goodness, was it H-E-A-V-E-N. They were cakey and light, but simultaneously dense and rich. The perfect brownie balance. And then a light bulb went off--the recipe for them was probably in her book! Sure enough, there it was, “The Ultimate Brownie” on page 85.
I wanted to put a spin on it and make it friendly for all of those gluten-free folks out there. With a blend of a gluten-free flour mix plus some coconut flour, it did the sneaky trick. You couldn’t tell a difference, whatsoever. And to be honest, I think the coconut flour added a subtle flavor and dense texture to add more depth to the base anyhow. I also upped the sour cream, scraped an entire vanilla bean in there, and topped them with salted caramel sauce and fleur de sel. I tell you, I haven’t made many brownies in my life, but I know a good brownie when I see it, and this is it. Look no further. They’re like dark, moist double chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven when warm, and cakey dark fudge at room temperature. You can’t go wrong either way. These brownies will be your best friend.
Gluten-Free Salted Caramel Sugar Cube Brownies
Adapted from The Sugar Cube by Kir JensenMakes 9 brownies
- 1 cup gluten-free flour blend (ie. Bob’s Red Mill)
- ⅓ cup coconut flour
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon fleur de sel
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
- 4 Tablespoons fat-free sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean pod, scraped
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 6-8 oz. store-bought salted caramel sauce
- fleur de sel, for topping
- Spray an 8x8” baking pan with cooking oil, and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper (it’s ok if the paper sticks out and over). Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Sift the flours, cocoa powder and salt into a medium bowl.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter on low-medium speed with a hand-held or stand mixer until creamy.
- Add the sugars, beating until they are well incorporated.
- Add the sour cream, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean, then beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one is added.
- Add the sifted dry ingredients, beating until just combined.
- Pour batter into baking pan lined with parchment paper.
- Heat about ½ cup of the caramel in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, and drizzle on top of batter. Sprinkle on some fleur de sel (you can add more later, post-bake), and bake on the middle rack for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Once cooled and cut into 9 pieces or however you desire, add a bit more heated caramel sauce and fleur de sel, just to top it off and make it that much more amazing.
- Serve with vanilla bean ice cream and whipped cream. Ta-da!
-The Baking Bird // Kylie