Whilst I loveeeee celebrating other people's birthdays, I'm not too fussed about celebrating my own.
I don't know what it is, but now that I'm older there's only really one thing I care about on my birthday...... cake.
But not any sort of cake. Gone are the days of boring packet cake mixes and store bought frostings. Now that I bake my own birthday cakes, I look forward to my birthday each year because it means I can come up with a new delicious cake recipe to enjoy with my friends and family.
Last year was my Healthy Coffee Cheesecake Recipe with a Chocolate Cookie Crust and the year before our Healthy Chocolate Cake Recipe, however, this year I celebrated with two sweet treats. The first, our favourite Healthy Butter Cake Recipe made into mini cupcakes and topped with fresh strawberry buttercream frosting (will share that soon!!) which we devoured on Wednesday (my actual birthday) and then on Saturday we had some friends over for dinner and I made these ridiculously delicious Healthier Salted Caramel Brownies <3
I'm not kidding when I say ridiculous, friends. These brownies are the bomb dot com multiplied by about ten thousand and forty three....
The super simple gluten free brownie base is topped with a layer of creamy caramel deliciousness that sets perfectly so your brownies are easy to slice. Just a teeny tiny piece is enough to satisfy, however, I won't blame you for going back for more ;)
I know what you're thinking; but caramel isn't easy to make. Well, whilst it may not normally be an easy task, I've made it super simple and there are no candy thermometers or fancy methods needed - just two minutes needed on the stove top!
So let me share the recipe with you >>
Lightened Up Salted Caramel Topped Brownies makes 16 squares
lower fat, lower sugar, gluten free, lightened up & deceptively simple!
For the brownies:
3/4 cup (90g) gluten free plain flour
2/3 cup (60g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 tbsp (60g) butter
2 tbsp (30g) unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp (75g) coconut sugar or brown sugar *see notes
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the caramel topping:
1/4 cup (50g) butter
1/4 cup (50g) coconut sugar or brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp milk of your choice
1/2 cup (60g) icing sugar/confectioner's sugar, sifted**
To make the brownies:
- Preheat your oven to 180C/355F
- Grease and line an 8" brownie tin (or smaller if you want them thicker - we used an 8") and set aside.
- Combine your flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and set aside.
- Melt your butter (either on the stove or in the microwave - just don't mix your ingredients over the heat) and then mix in your applesauce, sugar and vanilla.
- Add in your eggs, mixing until combined.
- Pour your wet mixture into your flour mixture and stir until just combined.
- Pour your brownie mix into your prepared tin and bake for 12-18 minutes, or until cooked through and a skewer inserted into the middle removes with moist crumbs. You want to make sure you don't overcook your brownies or they'll be dry so keep an eye on them as cooking time will vary depending on the thickness and your oven.
- Allow your brownies to cool completely in the tin before making your caramel (we often make our brownies the night before and pop them in the fridge)
To make the caramel:
- In a small saucepan over a medium heat, melt your butter and mix with your milk and sugar.
- Cook your caramel mixture on a medium-high heat for two minutes or until bubbly and no lumps remain.
- Remove from the heat and mix in your sifted icing sugar (see notes below if your caramel is lumpy).
- Pour your smooth caramel mixture over your brownies (still in the lined tin!), smoothing the caramel to ensure an even coverage.
- Pop your brownies into the fridge and chill for 1-2 hours or until your caramel is set.
- Slice your brownies into squares and enjoy!
- These brownies are best kept in the fridge and will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container or covered plate in the fridge.
*If you like things on the sweeter side, use half a cup of sugar in your brownie base. We found we only needed this much sugar as the caramel topping is pretty sweet but it's up to you!
**If your sifter breaks halfway through sifting like mine did, you can cheat and mix in your clumpy icing sugar and then blend your lumpy caramel mix for a few seconds in your blender or magic bullet. Smooth and easy ;)
But tell me, what do you look forward to about birthdays?
And what's your all time favourite dessert?
I could never pick a favourite - that's why I'm always making different creations :P