For the past 20 years, a favorite family dessert has been brownie sundaes with hard toffee and caramel sauce. My husband and brother-in-law ask for this dessert at every opportunity. The recipe morphed over the years from a printed recipe that I think I got out of Bon Appetit.
Since first making this recipe, I discovered the Baker’s Chocolate One-Bowl Brownie recipe…hands down the easiest and tastiest brownie recipe. I also began using a different caramel sauce recipe. Sometimes I soften vanilla ice cream and mix toffee bits into it and sometimes I just serve it with plain, but real, vanilla ice cream with the toffee crumbled on top.
No matter the recipe or source, the combination of warm brownie+real vanilla ice cream+ homemade caramel sauce+hard toffee = One Delicious Dessert!
Skillet Brownie Sundae with Caramel Sauce and Hard Toffee
Baking pan brownie sundae has morphed into a skillet brownie sundae by baking them in individual 5-inch cast-iron skillets. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but baking them in the individual skillets really takes them up a notch. I think it’s because the brownies stay warmer longer and you get the wee bit of crunchier crust all the way around each brownie.
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Having a very moist brownie bump up against that crunchy crust in just about every bite…um…yeah. I’ve been looking for these individual skillets for some time now and they’re not the easiest to find, in my neck of the woods anyway. In addition to using them for a skillet brownie sundae, I’d like to use them for individual berry/fruit cobblers, as well as egg dishes. I plan to use them a lot. I ended up finding them online at Amazon (surprise!). I bought Lodge H5MS Heat Enhanced and Seasoned Cast Iron Mini Skillet, 5-Inch – Pack of 4
I typically use heath bars for my toffee, but you could make your own toffee or use other brands (I’ve used Werther’s before with great success). My grocery store doesn’t carry the Bits o’ Brickle Heath Bar bits (like chocolate chips, but toffee instead), but I wish they did. It would make this recipe just that much easier. Instead, I put the toffee candy in a pan, cover it with a cloth and played whack-a-mole with my meat pounder. And can we take just a minute and talk about caramel sauce? There’s caramel sauce and then there’s CARAMEL SAUCE!
Like most things, store-bought caramel sauce can’t hold a candle to homemade caramel sauce. And it’s a fun thing to make…a little science experiment-y with the burning sugar and the bubbling cream. The recipe I use is from Martha Stewart’s Living cookbook and it’s really easy. The only problem with it is that I could, and have, eaten a big spoonful of it…by itself…just to make sure it was O.K.
- 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
- 3/4 cup butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup toffee bits
For Caramel Sauce (The Martha Steward Living Cookbook, recipe cut in half)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 TB unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- Butter individual skillets (or line 13 x 9 pan with buttered aluminum foil)
- Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted.
- Stir until chocolate is completely melted.
- Stir in sugar.
- Blend in eggs and vanilla.
- Add flour and toffee bits; mix well.
- Pour into prepared skillets
- Bake 25-30 min. (35-40 for big pan) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.)
- Let cool for 15 minutes and then top with ice cream, caramel sauce and more toffee bits
For Caramel Sauce
- Place sugar and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan and stir to combine
- Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush.
- Don't stir
- Reduce heat to low and simmer until mixture is a rich amber color, approximately 10 minutes. Watch carefully as you don't want it going further than the amber color.
- Gradually add the cream while stirring with a wooden spoon.
- Add the butter and lemon and stir to comine.
- Serve warm
- This caramel sauce will keep for a week or two in the fridge
Adapted from Baker's Chocolate and Martha Stewart
And while apple pie has earned the title of ‘the All-American’ dessert and a place at everyone’s 4th of July picnic, I think a case can be made that a skillet brownie sundae with toffee bits, topped with ice cream and smothered with caramel sauce is every bit as patriotic. Just my thoughts.
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