Mrs. Fields' Original Cookies, Inc. bakes and sells specialty cookies, brownies, pretzels, and other baked goods. From one store started by Debbi and Randy Fields in 1977, the firm has expanded to over 1,500 stores named Mrs. Fields' Original Cookies, the Great American Cookie Company, the Original Cookie Company, Pretzel Time, Hot Sam, and Pretzelmaker. This is a true success story of an American homemaker and her husband who overcame numerous obstacles to create an international business. However, like many companies that began as family businesses, it reorganized under outside leadership and ownership. The firm's chocolate chip cookies were so popular that they became the subject of a modern urban legend in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

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Mother Lode Brownies



MOTHER LODE BROWNIES
Mrs. Field's Copycat Recipe

Makes 1 1/2 Dozen

Brownie Layer
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 ounces semisweet chocolate
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Caramel Layer
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup heavy cream, scalded
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Toppings
1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
9 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 ounces milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 9 baking pan.

Make the brownie layer: In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking soda. In a double boiler, melt the unsweetened chocolate and the semisweet chocolate with the butter, stir until smooth and set aside to cool slightly. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar and eggs until lightened and pale in color. Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture and the vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the center is set but still moist and a bit fudgy. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Prepare the caramel layer: In a small, heavy saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the water over low heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then let boil without stirring until the syrup turns a deep amber.While the syrup is boiling, brush down the sides of the pan from time to time with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the hot cream (be careful it will bubble rapidly). Continue stirring over low heat if necessary, until all of the caramel is dissolved into the cream. Stir in the butter until smooth. Set the caramel aside until it has cooled slightly but is still spreadable.

Assemble: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread the caramel over the cooled brownies.Sprinkle the toppings over the caramel layer and place the brownies in the oven for 5 minutes to set the toppings (to not let the chips melt completely). set on a wire rack to cool, then cut into squares.

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