It’s that time of year again: the Etsy Bake-Off is next week! Last year I took home Best Cookie with Audrey’s Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies. In the year following the big win, I’ve developed a bit of a reputation for baking at work. I made butter tarts for Canada Day, butterbeer golden snitch cupcakes for a Harry Potter party, and a variety of cookies and muffins just for fun. I also won a prize for Best Savory Dessert at the Harry Potter party (for my Deviled Dragon’s Eggs) and started my own baking blog (you’re reading it)!
The competition is strong and the pressure is on. My big show-stopper will be Grandma Clarke’s butter tarts. Butter tarts are a Canadian dessert that many of my American colleagues won’t be familiar with. I’m hoping that they will garner some points for novelty and Canadian charm… in addition to just being damn delicious.
Not to put all my [deviled] eggs in one basket, I will also be entering a batch of brownies. Entering a second item in a different category (butter tarts fall under Pies, while brownies are Other) increases my chance of winning overall and diversifies the awards for which I am eligible.
I have a solid brownie recipe in my own repertoire, but I wanted to see if Grandma Clarke had any up her sleeve before committing to my standard brownie.
Enter the Turtle Brownies. Inspired by Turtles chocolates, these brownies are topped with pecans and caramel. I also included walnuts and chocolate chips. The result is sweet, gooey, and delicious…
But maybe too sweet to be the big bake-off winner! Furthermore, I wanted my second dessert to be simple and these brownies were quite a bit of work: melting and drizzling caramel is annoyingly time-consuming. For the sake of my own sanity, I’ll be reverting to a simpler brownie for the bake-off, so that I can focus my efforts on the butter tarts… and rehearsing for the Etsy Talent Show!
Erin and I will be performing as Bassooninator again this year. Wish us luck!
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup shortening
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup cocoa
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup walnuts (if making plain brownies)
- ½ cup pecans
- 12 caramels
- 1 tbsp milk (if making Turtle brownies)
Heat oven (350°F).
Grease pan 9×9.
Mix sugar, shortening, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl.
Stir in remaining ingredients.
Spread batter in pan.
Sprinkle½ cup chopped pecans over batter before baking.
Bake 20-25 minutes until toothpick in centre comes out clean.
Heat 12 vanilla caramels and 1 tablespoon milk over low heat, stirring frequently, until caramels are melted.
Drizzle over warm brownies, then cool.
Vintage Candlewick miniature cake stand from OpenTwentyFourSeven on Etsy