Samoa Brownies with Homemade Salted Caramel

A fudgy brownie base studded with chocolate is topped with a homemade salted coconut caramel and a drizzle of dark chocolate. All the goodness of the Samoa cookie in brownie form that you can have year-round!

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone! Whether you are a mother, or have a mother, or know a mother, or are currently the mother to a boozy brunch food baby (it’s a boy!), I salute you. Treat yo self today.

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This lovely woman above is my mama! (And my old pet raccoon, Rachel. I never said my family was normal). Now, my mom is preeeetty much a superhero. I mean, she raised yours truly, which is no easy feat in itself – I’ve been feisty since the womb. Add on raising my delinquent of a little brother, battling epilepsy, major injuries, and taking care of infinite pets… yeah, she’s Wonder Woman.

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And apparently she takes me to the swimming pool?!

I love this woman so much. She blessed me with a love of animals, 80s fashion, and country music. She always supported my ‘creative endeavors,’ whether that involved watching me score for the wrong team in basketball (ouch), taking me to the hospital after I was concussed playing soccer (explains a lot), or walking me to voice lessons every day after school. I will make it to Broadway one day, mom. Your efforts will not be for naught.

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Three generations of Peterson/James women. It’s all in the eyes.

Now that I’ve “grown up” (lolol maybe) and moved out, I still keep in close contact with mom – sometimes too close. Her birthday present to me was learning how to text. This was truly the greatest gift of all, because now I get these gems on a regular basis:

And, in return, I bake for her! My mom’s favorite foods are coconut and chocolate, so I knew I needed to make something involving the two for Mother’s Day. After some brainstorming and Pinterest-browsing, I decided to make Samoa Brownies!

Fudge Brownie Base

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You’ll start off with a brownie base, onto which you’ll layer the salted coconut caramel. To make these brownies, you will need:
– 3/4 cup cocoa powder
– 1.5 cup granulated sugar
– 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1.5 sticks)

– 2 eggs
– 2 t vanilla extract
– 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
– 1/2 cup dark chocolate (chips, or chopped chocolate)
– pinch salt

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First, preheat the oven to 350F. Then, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly (you don’t want to cook the eggs!). Once the butter is cool (but still liquid), add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Combine well, then add the dry mixture until just incorporated.

Finally, add the chocolate. I bought a pound plus bar from Trader Joe’s and chopped it, but you could obviously use chips or chunks or whatever you have on hand! Fold the chocolate in until just incorporated, then add the batter to an 8×8 baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Bake for 35 minutes, then remove and let cool.

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Pre-baking

Once your brownies are in the oven, you can get started on the…

Salted Coconut Caramel

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Ok, guys. Making caramel is high-key terrifying. Just ask my roommate, Lexi, who supervised the process to make sure I didn’t kill myself. But it is SO worth it. To make this, you’ll need:
– 1 cup granulated sugar
– 6 T unsalted butter, brought to room temperature and cut in 4ths

– 1/2 cup heavy cream
– 1.5 cups sweetened coconut flakes

First, cook the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. This is SO COOL because the sugar LIQUEFIES. #science. Stir occasionally, being sure to get all the way to the bottom of the pan, until the sugar has become liquid. Remove the pan from the heat.

Here’s the scary part. You’re going to add the butter to the liquid sugar and stir until it is combined. THIS WILL BUBBLE LIKE CRAZY AND YOU WILL THINK EVERYTHING IS WRONG. Everything is not wrong. You’re doing it right. You can scream, I did, it’s cool!

Once the butter is incorporated, add the heavy cream and salt and stir these in. The cream won’t incorporate fully yet – don’t worry! Put the mixture back on the stove over medium heat and keep stirring until it all comes together into a dreamy amber caramel. At this point, remove the caramel from heat again and stir in the coconut. Voila!

Let the brownies and the coconut caramel cool, then spread the caramel over the brownies.

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For a finishing touch, melt some more dark chocolate in the microwave and drizzle it over the caramel. Then, bring it to your mom! Or dig in yourself! Or both. Probably both.

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Eating is hands down my 2nd-favorite Mother’s Day activity (right after sending prank Venmo requests for “child support” to guys I’ve slept with and watching hilarity ensue), and my family loved them as well, so what are you waiting for?? Make them now!

XOXO,
Jesse

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