Weekend Cookbook Challenge: Love

After 3 years of running Weekend Cookbook Challenge, Sara is hanging up her WCC apron. So to send it out with a blast, I am submitting two things for the final challenge: the Barefoot Contessa's Outrageous Brownies, and my own Grandmother's Caramel Dumplings.

Afterall, the final theme is Love and what is more loving than homemade brownies for a goodie bag, or warm gooey caramel dumplings from the "hands" of my grandmother?

I like brownies, and kept meaning to make these brownies from Ina Garten, but have really always been perfectly happy with my standard brownie recipe. But when Megan started her Brownie Project, I finally caved. I made a half batch, without the nuts, and omg does this ever make alot of brownies! I filled a 9x13 cake pan and ended up with a large container of brownie pieces that lasted us over a week.

There were enough brownies that not only was I able to make a goodie bag up for my other Mom (#2), I was able to send enough for her entire team, extra for her, and still have enough for my guys for the week. The brownies must have tipped things in their favor as her team went on to win the entire tournament this year!

Did you not know that? When curling, eat brownies! (Of course, having said that, now I will have to be sure to deliver brownies to the team next year as well.)

Now on to the second delectable, lovable dessert for WCC, though if this once came from a cookbook, I don't know which one it came from. Personally, I can honestly say it came from my grandmother's cookbook, a red binder that she has had for as long as I can remember, with newspaper clippings, some typed up recipes (some with notes), and a bunch of hand written ones, written on scraps of paper, the back of envelopes, and my personal favorite, on the back of a blank cheque.

That binder now sits in my kitchen cupboard, my grandmother being unable to cook or bake anymore.

There are recipes in that binder that I will never make, not matter how much I love my grandmother, no matter that she was an amazing cook and baker. And there are others I hope my children will take to their own families, this being one of them, for caramel dumplings, a dessert that is warmth and comfort in a bowl. As it should be, since it is flour, sugar and butter, so it has absolutely no health benefits to it at all!

Doesn't that just call out comfort and love to you? Sure, it is homey looking, nothing fancy, nothing exciting, but then face it, a recipe made regularly by a woman now in her late 70's, well it didn't come from a fancy restaurant or a celebrity chef. It was from a time when a woman had to do what she could with what she had on hand and had to feed her large family on a small budget, and local food was all there was to get. It's a retro recipe, a frugal recipe, a recipe that fits in with todays economy. And it is easy to whip up and requires nothing in the way of special ingredients (which is good because I made this batch when I was not feeling good at all, it was my comfort food for the week.)

Yes, I know you can buy a box mix at the dollar store for a caramel pudding cake (or apple or chocolate or lemon) but this is as simple to make and has my grandmother's love it in, so it is much better. Much.

Caramel Dumplings

For the sauce:
1 cup brown suga
1 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp butter
For the batter:
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Caramalize the brown sugar and butter together over med-high heat in an oven proof pot or skillet. Add the water and bring the mixture to a boil. Let boil until it begins to thicken slightly, about 5 minutes.

Make the batter while the sauce boils.

In a medium bowl, by hand, cream the sugar and butter together. Add the milk to the creaming mixture, then the flour, baking powder and salt. You will get a slightly stiff batter. Drop the batter by spoonfuls onto the caramel sauce, then bake for 20-30 minutes, until the dumplings are a golden brown and the sauce is bubbling up the sides.

Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before digging in.


Megan said...

Oh sure - blame me for the brownies! Nice try - but I'm not buying it.

I am going to have to try the caramel dumplings. I've never seen anything like it, and I'll be they're great with ice cream. Yummy!

Brilynn said...

Count me in for some of those caramel dumplings!

Donna-FFW said...

Caramel dumplings.. I love you.

Sara said...

i love the thought of a recipe written on the back of a cheque! that is real cooking. those dumplings look amazing! thanks for sharing such delicious dishes with me for the last WCC.

NKP said...

I love Ina, and what better to show some love than with the brownies that she used to win Geoffrey's heart?
The caramel dumplings look really good too, I have never seen anything like them either.

Anonymous said...

Both desserts sound wonderful and great representations of love.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

What a beautiful story about your grandmother! and the dumplings look beautiful.
(Gad dollar store mixes . . . unreal.)