I can’t believe its already been almost 4 months since my little Aiyla has been in our lives. Here are some of the things I’ve discovered since becoming a mama:
- Time goes by SO fast.
- I’m kind of hypocritical. I want her to remain tiny and need me forever but I get just a tiny bit tired when she wont calm down with anyone else but me. Plus I love every new thing she does (she just started laughing last week!)
- I totally understand those parents that brag. Guess who can hold her little head up all by herself?????
- I only know what day of the week it is based on where JC is. But I can tell you exactly how many poop and pee diapers Aiyla had, how many naps she took and how long she lasted at tummy time today.
- My water bottle is my best friend and I’m kind of obsessed with coconut water. This nursing thing makes you SO thirsty.
- My daughter will always be better dressed than me. I totally relate to those yoga pant moms who look like they haven’t showered or brushed their hair in days.
- I drive like a grandma.
- I use carpool even if I don’t need it, just because I can (that means so much more if you’re from Southern California!)
- Your heart CAN live outside of your body. And it’s the only organ that doesn’t stop growing.
Being a mama is amazing… and tiring. It’s incredibly fulfilling, but draining at the same time. It’s by far the best thing about my life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. That includes the spit ups (even the ones on the clean shirt I JUST put on), the poop, the crying, heck, even the doctor’s appointments. Because every last bit of not so fun parts of parenting is SO worth every smile, every giggle, and every time her hand closes around my fingers.
Enough mushy stuff. These brownies. Guys. They are insanely rich and moist and packed with flavor. In all honesty, at first what I was going for is a version of Girl Scouts Samoa’s, but in a brownie form. But they honestly tasted a lot more like German Chocolate Cake in a brownie form. And hey, nothing wrong with that. That’s what baking experiments are all about, right? At least we’ll pretend that’s the case. I happen to have family members (aka sisters) who are huge fans of German Chocolate cake, so it works out.
The brownie layer is super fudgy (its my go to brownie recipe thanks to Dorie Greenspan), and I ended up melting down caramel candy that I have on hand for my caramel stuffed cookies. But I’m also going to post the recipe for homemade caramel that I have used in the past that is AMAZING. Feel free to use your own brownie and caramel recipe, or use a boxed mix and store bought caramel if that’s more of your thing. Or if you’re a frazzled mama with less time to make things completely from scratch now. I get it.
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp finely ground instant coffee
- 2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 tbsp butter
- ¼ cup water
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 1½ cups shredded coconut
- Barefoot & Chocolate Hazelnut Chocolate Spread
- Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line the bottom with parchment. Butter the paper, dust the inside of the pan with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pan on a baking sheet.
- Whisk the flour, cinnamon, if you’re using it, and salt together.
- Put the butter in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and place the pan over low heat. When the butter starts to melt, sift the cocoa over it and add the instant coffee. Continue to cook, stirring, until the butter is melted and the cocoa and coffee are blended into it. Remove from the heat and cool for about 3 minutes.
- Using a whisk or a rubber spatula, beat the eggs into the saucepan one at a time. Next, stir in the sugar and vanilla (don’t beat anything too vigorously — you don’t want to add air to the batter), followed by the dry ingredients and chopped chocolate. Scrape the batter into the pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes, at which point the brownies will still be gooey but the top will have a dry papery crust. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the brownies cool for at least 30 minutes. (You can wait longer, if you’d like.) Turn the brownies out onto a rack, peel away the paper and invert onto a cutting board. Set Aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine all the ingredients. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly, and then remove from heat. Mix in coconut. Let cool.
- Melt your hazelnut chocolate spread (or feel free to use plain chocolate) in a microwave safe container (you can do this over the stove top if you prefer). Spoon melted chocolate into a small ziplock bag, creating a makeshift pastry bag (or use a pastry bag if you have one).
- Once the brownies have cooled for 15 minutes, spread the coconut caramel on top of the brownies.
- Cut a small (tiny!) slit at the bottom corner of the bag. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the coconut caramel. Set in the fridge to cool for about 1 hour before serving.