My cookbook bookcase is packed to the brim, its shelves bowing and books sticking out every which way as I squeeze more in. I love cookbooks. Oddly, though, I very rarely use the recipes in them. I love to read them, look at the pictures and get inspired to make new concoctions. I could, and do, spend hours pouring through each one, circling things that look interesting and dog-earring pages for future reference. Every so often, though, I do follow a recipe, especially when it comes to baking—The science behind making dough rise or cake crumbly doesn’t quite come naturally to me. So, when my friend Sarah spent a night with me several weeks ago, I pulled out a cookbook to bake some brownies for our late night snack. I hadn’t ever used this Blissful Brownies book before, but I definitely will again! Since I still have apples from the fall, I tried the upside-down toffee apple brownies, with sticky caramel, apple and crunchy nuts. Lacking a square pan, this came out more like a dense cake in the round tin I baked it in, but it was sooo delicious and looked gorgeous. I’ve actually made it again since. The cake part isn’t too sweet in itself, so the toffee layer is not overpowering. This is a great one for company or a potluck!
Upside Down Toffee Apple Brownies (or Cake)
from Blissful Brownies
- 1/3 c. light brown sugar
- 2 oz. unsalted butter
- 1 eating apple, cored & thinly sliced (Strawberry Acres)
- 4 oz. unsalted butter
- 3/4 c. light brown sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten (Valley View Farm)
- 1 3/4 c. flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp apple pie spice (I used cinnamon, ginger & nutmeg)
- 2 eating apples, coarsely grated
- 3/4 c. chopped hazelnuts (I used raw almonds from the kettle corn vendor at the farmer’s market)
- Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 9″ cake pan (square or round).
- For the topping, place butter and sugar in small pan and heat gently, stirring, until melted. Pour into greased pan. Arrange apple slices on top.
- For brownies, place butter and sugar in a bowl and beat well until pale and fluffy.
- Gradually beat in eggs.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and spice and fold into butter mixture.
- Stir in apples and nuts.
- Spread into cake pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, until firm and golden.
- Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out upside down and cut to serve.