Saturday, April 24, 2010

On a Mission to Get E!'s Attention with Salted Caramel Brownies

I'm just a girl with a dream. A dream to be on E! one day. All I want is to sit down across from Ben Lyons and trade reviews, to kick back with Sal Masekela and Catt Sadler and dish some "Daily 10," to tuck into some "Soup" with Joel McHale.

It's a simple dream and it's mine.

You see, I grew up addicted to "Entertainment Tonight." Every evening I'd thrill at the sound of the theme song (dun-na-nuh-nuh-dunt-dun-dunna-nat-na-na!), racing to the TV to be enraptured by John Tesh's luxurious locks and Mary Hart's flesh-colored stocking legs under the ET glass desk of power as they delivered celebrity news. It was so magical and glamorous.

I especially looked forward to Leonard Maltin's movie reviews. I can't lie, I'm a total Maltin groupie. He was my professor for a class at USC called Cinema 466... I took it five times. I would always sit in the front row, the first to raise my hand, in full-on teacher's pet mode. It's not that I want to do The Maltin, it's that I want to be The Maltin. But without the glasses and beard.

Then I got older and they invented an entire 24-hour channel that did what "Entertinment Tonight" did for thirty glorious minutes every evening. I was hooked. It's been my mission to get a job working for them ever since.

I got close once. When I was the head cocktail waitress at Spiderclub, almost five years ago, Giuliana Rancic (then DePandi), came in to do a segment on "The Drinks of the Stars" for E! News and I was asked to be her oncamera co-hort. By the time we were done shooting our three minute segment, she was my new BFF and kept saying "You should do this for a living."

Girl! I would if I could but your bosses won't hire me. But I'm working on it.

Last week I found out E! was looking for a new reporter so I'm pulling out all the stops on a mission to get their attention. I sent them my Fox News clips, my GossipSauce movie review vlog, my NBC appearance for the Golden Globe noms, and then, to seal the deal, I dropped off Salted Caramel Brownies. Who could say no to that?

I began by making dulce de leche caramel by boiling down sugar, butter, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and Maldon sea salt until it turned golden brown, then let it cool.

Next, I made my famous brownie recipe and poured half the batter into the bottom of the pan, allowing it to cook 8 minutes to create a base for a layer of caramel...

Onto of the middle caramel layer went the rest of the batter which was swirled with even more caramel and topped with additional sea salt.

Seacrest, I'm gunnin' for your job, buddy. Look out!

The Famous Brownies:

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1½ cups good quality semisweet chocolate, chopped finely
3 extra large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups sugar
¾ cup flour
½ tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk chocolate chips
½ cup 60% cacao bittersweet chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Melt butter and semisweet chocolate together in a double boiler over simmering water.

Allow to cool slightly (but not harden), then add eggs, vanilla and sugar.

Sift together dry ingredients and add to chocolate mixture. Add additional chocolate chips at the last minute, folding in to combine.

Pour into a greased 8 by 8 baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes, taking care not to overbake.

A tester stuck into brownies will not come out clean. The idea is to create a brownie whose center is closer to fudge and under-baking is crucial to that end.

Remove brownies from oven and allow to cool before serving.


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