If you’ve been reading this blog closely, or if we’re friends IRL, you might remember that my husband Matt and I root for opposing baseball teams. I’m a Red Sox fan (just like my dad), while Matt is unfortunately a Yankees fan.
(I always say that’s his only fault, though, so I really did luck out.)
One of Matt’s goals in life is to see a baseball game in every stadium, so ever since we started dating and travelling together, we’ve planned our summer trips around cities where we can catch a baseball game. So far we’ve been to Fenway Park here in Boston (of course), Yankee Stadium and Citi Field in New York, Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Camden Yards in Baltimore, and most recently, PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
I’ve come to really enjoy those baseball trips for a few reasons: 1) I love being part of something that my husband is passionate about, 2) it makes me appreciate the Red Sox and Fenway even more, and 3) I get to try all sorts of stadium food!
Yes, I eat soft serve ice cream at every stadium. And usually a hot dog. But I’ve devoured some really delicious specialty foods, too (hello, crab fries at Camden Yards).
So when I was thinking of a baseball themed recipe to highlight my beloved Sox and Nellie’s Free Range Eggs, the new official egg of the Boston Red Sox, I was excited at all the mouth-watering possibilities.
Quick aside about eggs: have you ever compared the color of the egg yolks from a regular egg to a fresh egg from a brand like Nellie’s Free Range Eggs? Nellie’s is dedicated to the humane treatment of its hens (their hens live on free range, small, family-run farms), and because the hens lead healthier lives, they actually create more nutritious eggs. This is evidenced by the deep gold color of their yolks. It’s a huge color difference from the yolks of other eggs I’ve used, which are almost like a flat yellow. It’s pretty egg-cellent (sorry!)
If I were to come up with my ideal stadium snack, what would it be? I was originally toying around with the idea of hotdogs and scrambled eggs (one of my favorite breakfasts as a kid, don’t judge me). But then I thought about caramel popcorn – a treat I can’t resist, whether it’s freshly popped and coated or the ubiqutous Cracker Jacks. And then I thought about some of the best brownies I’ve made (Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies) and I immediately knew what I want:
Stadium Brownies. Fudge brownies with a crunch topping made with salted caramel popcorn, crunchy peanut butter, and milk chocolate. The marriage of classic baseball food and the brownie of my dreams. Lots of chocolate, lots of texture, varying kinds of sweet and salty.
I received free goodies from Nellie’s Free Range Eggs so I used their eggs in my recipe. I made my tried and tested brownie (made in one bowl, amped up with the tiniest bit of coffee for deep chocolate flavor, dense and soft at the same time), made a quick salted caramel popcorn (a single serving of butter popcorn in the microwave, tossed in my favorite salted caramel sauce from Trader Joe’s, and baked in the oven for added crunch), and then whipped up a mixture of crunchy peanut butter and melted milk chocolate. I folded in the caramel popcorn into the peanut butter mixture (pro tip: the caramel popcorn recipe below makes 5 cups and I only used 2.5 cups for the brownies, so you’ll have 2.5 cups extra to snack on). Spread popcorn crunch topping on top of brownies, chill in freezer to set, slice and serve, and we have a grand slam.
Tell me about your favorite stadium snack. Let’s go, Red Sox!
Fudge brownies with a crunch topping made with salted caramel popcorn, crunchy peanut butter, and milk chocolate.
Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes
1 1/4 sticks butter, melted (plus more for buttering pan)
3 medium eggs
3/4 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
POPCORN CRUNCH TOPPING
1 cup (8 oz) crunchy peanut butter
1 cup (8 oz) milk chocolate
2.5 cups caramel popcorn (ingredients below)
SALTED CARAMEL POPCORN
5 oz salted caramel sauce
5 cups popped butter popcorn
- Make the salted caramel popcorn. Preheat oven to 200 F.
- Take a single-serve bag of popcorn (makes about 5 cups) and microwave according to package directions. Set aside.
- In a microwave safe bowl or jar, heat 5 oz of salted caramel sauce for a minute.
- Pour half of the popcorn in a large bowl, and pour half of the caramel on top. Toss, and do the same for the remaining half, tossing together until caramel coats popcorn evenly.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread caramel-coated popcorn in a single layer. Bake for 45 minutes, tossing halfway. Set aside.
- Make the brownie base. Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine melted butter, eggs, sugars, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and coffee. Mix well.
- Stir in flour and salt. Whisk together until smooth.
- Spread brownie batter in a parchment paper-lined and buttered 8x8 pan.
- Bake 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in brownie comes out clean.
- Make the popcorn crunch topping. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine peanut butter and milk chocolate. Heat for 1 minute, stir, and heat again in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until smooth. I ended up heating everything for a total of 1 1/2 minutes.
- Fold in caramel popcorn, breaking down bigger pieces.
- Spread mixture over the brownie layer and even out the top with a spatula. Chill in the freezer for 2 hours before cutting into squares. Serve cold.
Popcorn notes: the caramel popcorn makes 5 cups, but I only used 2.5 cups in the brownie topping. If you don't want any extra popcorn for snacking, use only 2/5 cups popped popcorn and 2.5 oz salted caramel, following the instructions above.
Other notes: I used jarred salted caramel sauce from Trader Joe's, but you can use whatever your favorite brand is or make your own. You can also use plain popcorn instead of butter popcorn. If you want to add more to the crunch topping, I recommend 1/2 cup peanuts!
This post was sponsored by Nellie’s Free Range Eggs. Thank you for supporting Confessions of a Chocoholic and the brands that support this blog.