Sweet and salty brownies on a Wednesday because when you cheer for a team like the Cleveland Browns, you definitely need them.
A whole big batch of them. All to yourself.
Good thing the Indians are heading to the playoffs and the Cavs start again soon, because well, our football team hasn’t been off to the best start.
This recipe is part two (of three!) of a football extravaganza roundup. I’ve joined a group of bloggers from all over the country — all of whom are big football fans! — to bring you football-inspired recipes this season.
Last month we shared our favorite tailgating recipes, and now we are sharing more than 60 recipes ideas for celebrating on game day. I linked all the recipes at the bottom of the post, so pin away y’all! Seriously some drool-worthy stuff.
These brownies! While they may not be your average football food (where is the cheese? why aren’t these nachos? soft pretzels anyone?) they are exactly what I need when 9 hours of football is constantly streaming through our house on a Sunday.
While the Browns have yet to pull out of a game victoriously this season, I keep holding on with a little glimmer of hope – thinking maybe, hopefully, possibly I can celebrate this week? Maybe. Or maybe I just need to make a batch each game to comfort and console another loss.
But MAYBE this will be our week.
These brownies are as a close to sweet and salty perfection as it gets! I definitely give some credit to a few of my friends for helping me brainstorm this one – because a few weeks ago when we were ironically back in Cleveland, I asked them what “team-themed” recipe I could create.
Well duh Michelle, brownies. Sometimes it’s best to not over think it.
Pretzels + chocolate + caramel sauce, checkmate!
So we start off with a crumbly and salty base made of pretzels. It’s not overly salty, or overly pretzel-y — just the right balance with the rich and gooey top layer. And the brownie is exactly that – rich, gooey, a little fudge-like — my idea of brownie heaven.
Then once the brownies have cooled, and you’ve been tempted to sneak one bite – you drizzle on some salted caramel sauce, because we’re throwing away our inhibitions with this one. I made the caramel sauce, and it’s really simple! But you can also use store-bought if it saves you some time.
You know, in case your football team is actually winning the game and you really want to watch it? Please let me know what that feels like!
- 1 can (13.5oz) unsweetened full-fat coconut milk
- ½ cup maple syrup or agave nectar
- ½ teaspoon seasalt
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1¼ cup mini pretzels
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- In a medium-size saucepan, stir together the coconut milk, maple syrup, and salt. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the coconut oil and vanilla, and cook for another 5-8 minutes, until it reaches a caramel color. The mixture should be thickening up, so at this point you want to remove it from the heat and pour it into a bowl. Let it cool for a few minutes, then using a spatula, stir continuously until it thickens up until it's smooth like caramel sauce. Transfer the sauce to a jar while you prepare the brownies. Note: you will have leftovers of the caramel sauce! Store it in a sealed jar up to one week.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8 inch baking dish with parchment paper (or make sure the pan is greased well if you don't use parchment paper). Add the pretzels to a food processor or blender and pulse until crumbly. Measure the pretzels, it should be about 1 cup. If you need crumble more pretzels, please do! Add the crumbled pretzels to a bowl with the melted butter and brown sugar, and mix well. Pour the base into the prepared baking dish and spread it out in an even layer, firmly packing it down. Bake 6-8 minutes, just to get it lightly toasted. Then remove and cool while you prepare the brownies.
- In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the butter. Stir in the sugar, then the eggs, vanilla, and salt. Mix well. Then fold in the cocoa powder, and flour, until just combined. Don't overmix!
- Pour the brownie batter into the dish, on top of the pretzel layer. Spread evenly in one layer. Bake 35-40 minute, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out clean. (Mine took about 35 minutes.) Remove from the oven and let cool, then take your caramel sauce (you may need to microwave it for a few seconds) and drizzle it over the brownies. Let cool completely (about 1 hour) before slicing and serving!
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Note: This post is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by the National Football League (NFL) or any of its teams. All opinions and views expressed on our blogs are our own, not that of the NFL and/or any of its 32 teams. Any team names, logos or other symbols referenced are properties of their respective organizations. We are just big fans — and we want to share our love for our teams, the game and the food that brings us all together on game day.