Ben Needs This Dessert Cause His Parents Are Mean

Can't you just taste that oozing caramel now?

My son Joshie wanted me to read to him the other night. He brought out a book that we’ve had since my older kids were little. It’s called “Ben Finds A Friend.

This has got to be the most depressing children’s book ever written. Poor Ben is a lonely little boy who just wants a pet but the parents from Hell have excuses for every pet suggestion he brings to them. A dog? Nope; too messy and tears up the furniture (Hello? Obedience training anyone?). A cat? C’mon dad, how about a soft tiny purring kitty? No way Ben they scratch and bite and steal food from the refrigerator (Ummm… if that cat opens the fridge and gets food, teach the son of a biscuit to COOK darn it! You can make a mint! Frodo, the cooking kitty!) The picture then shows poor Ben walking off, looking totally dejected, shoulders slumped. I wanted to reach in there and give the kid a hug (and buy him a kitty).

So then he goes back to mom and asks for a Monkey. Hey, I want a Monkey too; I can understand the desire! I want a Monkey that I can name Stash and teach him to stand on a street corner to make money for me. But noooooo, mom says no to a Monkey too because they are dirty and messy and have fleas. The Evil Wench! So it was back to dad and asking for a parrot. Again; no. Even though Ben explained that they didn’t do any bad things or have any of the above mentioned bad habits, it was nil, nada, zilch on a fine feathered friend  cause dads response was that they screech and squawk and say terrible things. Ummm… they will only say terrible things if you TEACH them terrible things. Though in Bens defense, the parrot may end up saying “Mom and dad are evil parents who don’t let me know the joy and responsibility of raising a pet”. As for screeching, two words; CAGE COVER.

Then he wanted a Hamster. A small teenieeeee tinyyyyy Hamster that he could keep in his room and take care of. But Mommy Dearest said she doesn’t like hamsters because they sleep all day ( sounds like a good day to ME plus  mom, you cretin, the kid isn’t asking YOU to love on it and give it a name. HE wants it… duhhhh.) So he goes to his room where we find out he is sick and when the doctor (who does house calls) arrives, doc says Ben has a bug. The boy gets excited because he assumes it came to be a pet for him. Then he begins to daydream about having a pet…ANY PET *sobs for poor Ben*

So how does this ultimately end as you’re trying as a reader to figure out how to call fictional CPS for emotional neglect? The kid sees a Pigeon on his windowsill and asks mom for some bread crumbs for it. A PIGEON!  Poor little lonely Ben, who has no parental interaction,  has to settle for a wild smelly mite and vermin carrying Pigeon for a pet. WAHHHH!!!!!

Ben needs chocolate. Lots of chocolate. And since this book was written before sweet and salty caramel was around written and Ben is now grown (and needing massive amounts of therapy thanks to his parents) and probably doesn’t get new food treats in the asylum, I made a treat in Bens honor. This is a buttery shortbread crust covered in a sweet/salty sea salt homemade caramel that has been given a nice shot of rum (as was the creator of the recipe because I was so damn depressed over Ben) and then smothered in a thick chocolate ganache. This isn’t HARD to make but the caramel is a precise recipe and takes time. This also has to chill for hours so you need to pre-plan when you want to make this. But oh my; it’s worth it. Sweet, salty, caramelly (yes that is now a word. I said so.) , chocolatey and buttery with a nice crumbly crust. This makes extra caramel. Just store it in a covered container in the fridge and use it for anything you’d use caramel for…like eating it straight from the spoon.

Rum Infused Salted  Caramel/Chocolate Wedges

On A Buttery Shortbread Crust

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream minus two tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • more sea salt for sprinkling
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. To make the crust, combine ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix until it is well blended and crumbly. Press down into a foil lined and greased 9 inch pie pan (you can also use a 8 or 9 inch square pan but I like the look of the wedges better). Bake at 350 until lightly browned around the edges, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. For the caramel- While the crust is cooking (don’t forget about it and burn it; I’ve done that lol) melt the 1/2 cup butter in a large saucepan. Add the sugar and sea salt and cook over medium high heat, stirring very often, until the mixture is a deep golden brown, anywhere from 7 to 12 or so minutes. The darker you get it (before you burn it lol) the more intense the caramel flavor is so if you want milder don’t cook as long).
  4. Add your vinegar and rum to your cream and add the mixture to the pan of sugar (do NOT stir). Cover the pan and let cook over medium low heat without stirring until most of the caramel bits dissolve, about 8 minutes or so.
  5. Uncover and whisk until sauce is slightly thick, deep brown and reduced to about 2 1/2 cups, stirring often. If there are still any caramel bits that haven’t dissolved, just fish them out with a slotted spoon. Then eat them; they are yummy!
  6. Let cool for about ten minutes then pour over the shortbread crust. Cover with foil and refrigerate for about an hour.
  8. In a microwavable bowl, mix the chocolate chips and heavy cream. Melt at half power, stirring often, until mixture is smooth and thoroughly combined.  Let cool for about 3 minutes (no longer or it will firm up and become unspreadable and you’ll have to reheat it )
  9. Carefully pour over the caramel mixture and smooth. Sprinkle with more sea salt. Let this cool until the caramel has firmed up. This can take about 4 to 5 hours so plan ahead.
  10. Cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream (and maybe some of the extra caramel sauce if you’re really into excess.
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70 thoughts on “Ben Needs This Dessert Cause His Parents Are Mean

  1. Funny-no pets for me when I was growing up, yet here comes one grandkid and she is welcome to bring her pet to my parents house any day.
    That is fine though-this dessert will make me forget all about it and the niece will not get any. Delicious post.

    • Thanks Erin. yeah, it turned out. A little thinner than I would have liked but it tastes so good, I don’t care 😛

    • Lol! If I have another child (which at almost 47 is doubtful) I’ll have to name him Ben, buy him a pet and tell him that you said he was lucky to have me 😛

    • Thanks so much Lindsey. I love homemade caramel and had fought getting on the sea salt bandwagon but today decided what the heck and tried it 😀

  2. Poor Ben…the recipe…amazing! I love the salt & caramel combination. That made me try things like salt & chocolate. Salt with cheese….stuff of legends!

    • This was my first foray into the salted chocolate trend. I tend to hate trends and avoid them just because I’m ornery lol but I decided to give in on this one 😀

  3. I am so happy I found myself stumbling to your site! These looks absolutely fabulous and what a horrible childhood poor Ben had. .was there actually a moral to that story or was it to make kids hate their parents if they’re not allowed a pet!? ha I want to make these bars immediately.

    • I think the book was just meant to thoroughly depress any parent reading it to their kids… it was probably written by some poor soul who was refused a pet when they were growing up 😀

  4. Ha. I think Ben’s parents and my parents may have had a few conferences about the whole I-want-a-pet discussion. (Actually, mine eventually gave in and let me have goldfish, because they don’t shed or ruin the furniture… which, of course, also meant they were the most boring pets EVER since we couldn’t cuddle them or play with them. Sigh.)
    Maybe if I’d adopted a pigeon, they’d have given in and let me trade it in for a kitten. 🙂 That Ben is smarter than he lets on.
    Obviously, I am in dire need of these bars. Now. They certainly look much tastier (and cheaper) than therapy. 🙂

  5. Aw poor Ben, that IS a depressing book!! He should have lived in my house. Though I never got the baby pig I wanted when I was 5 I did live in a house with 4 dogs, a cockatoo and parakeets at one point, fish at one point and I think my brother had a turtle for a bit!!
    This dessert sounds absolutely ridiculous! Everything in it is just so yummy!! It would be dangerous to have around, thats for sure!

    • Thanks Stephanie! I aim for sinful most of the time hehehe

      Thank you Jenn! And I hope poor fictional Ben is grabbing a piece of this at the asylum 😛

  6. Holy cow! What a depressing story! You’re right…Ben did need this dessert! Tell him he can come over and pet my sweet, but slightly looney, puppy!

  7. O.M.G.!
    Do you know what you just did to me with this picture? I mean, seriously, I don’t think you could have made a more perfect dessert. This looks soo… Anyway, forget about how it looks, someone just give me a piece!!! :-))!! Amazing dessert!

  8. Lol! I love your comical description of the book! These wedges are just to delicious sounding, seriously I am going to start drooling if I look at the picture too long. I love the addition of the rum!

  9. Depressing kid’s book, indeed?!?!?!?!? The author need s some of this confection!!! Looks wonderful. (Having revisited some of my own childhood favorites with my nephews, I wonder what I ever saw in some of these books?)
    Great post!

  10. Doesn’t it sometimes completely blow your mind the junk that people will publish?! My 1st grader just checked out a book where these kids found some cigars and smoked them. All the kids (who were talking animals) hated it because it made them sick except the one who like it because he thought it made him look cool. Seriously?! In a book for first grades?

  11. How the heck did I miss this delicious post (and poor Ben’s story…LOL)?! I need these wedges in my kitchen ASAP! Congrats on your Top 9!!!

  12. how could any parent be so mean, even in a book! sounds like the book was meant more for parents than kids….and pigeons are basically flying rats….sigh

    your caramel chocolate wedges look spectacular! Congrats on the top 9!

  13. Ann, I wish I could dive into the book and do fictional kid napping lol. I’d swipe him and he could play with our seven cats and your puppy 😀

    Christine, Thanks! And I know!! I want to give poor Ben a big hug!

  14. Thanks Elyse!! The oozing caramel was the best part 😀

    W&GF, I used just a plain light rum. I bought a little airline bottle cause normally rum isn’t something I drink lol

  15. Amy, computer photo induced drool is why I always keep a towel handy. I’m honored that I made you drool! Hmmm… is it just that thinks that sounds really strange? 😛

    Eliot, same here! I swear, some of the books written for kids are amazing in their total idiocy.

  16. Yikes, Jen!! You shouldn’t have to read a small childs book before they do to make sure it’s acceptable! That’s a horrible sounding plot line for a kids book!!

    Happy, we always had pets when I was a kid and I love having them still… even though they drive me insane lol

  17. Thanks so much Liz!!! I say we all get together and jump into the book and rescue poor Ben!! Whadda ya say? And thank you so much!! 🙂

    Chef, thank you so very much! I always feel honored when you stop by. As for the book, you wanna join in the fictional Ben napping? 😛 he needs a new family… preferably of a lot of animal loving food bloggers

  18. Thanks Cassie! I had to laugh at how the rum was what pulled you in first lol

    Thanks Mercedes! And depressing was an understatement hehe

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