I'm going to go ahead and say it: these brownies are not particularly pretty until totally frozen (and they take a little more effort to assemble than your average chocolate bar cookies). In fact, even though it's my week for Project Pastry Queen (and this was, indeed, the recipe I chose), I debated whether or not to post pictures until tomorrow simply for aesthetic reasons (as impatient husbands with brownie-shaped holes in their stomaches do not allow for total brownie cooling periods). BUT these brownies are very tasty. If you're not too worried about how evenly a square you can get out of the pan within a few hours, you should give them a try! They're definitely a crowd pleasurer!
Please go check out what the other members of PPQ did with this week's recipe at our main entry! Next week, Buttermilk Pecan Pie is on the menu! ♥
From The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather
• 1 1/2 c. pecans
• 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
• 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
• 1 1/2 c. sugar
• 4 large eggs
• 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
• 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 14 oz. caramel candies, unwrapped
• 1/3 c. heavy whipping cream
• 1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange the pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast for 7 to 9 minutes, until golden brown and aromatic. Coarsely chop the nuts.
2) Line a 9" x 13" baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving several inches hanging over the short ends of the pan. Grease the foil with butter or cooking spray. Be sure to grease the sides of the foil-covered pan thoroughly, or the caramel layer in the middle of the brownies with stick.
3) Combine the butter and chocolate in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan set over low heat, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth. (Do not leave the chocolate mixture unattended for long or it may burn, and you'll have to throw it out and start over.) Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large bowl. Add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla mixing until thick and glossy. This will take 1 to 2 minutes of vigorous mixing with a wire whisk ([Rebecca Rather's] implement of choice) or about 1 minute using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment set on medium-high speed. Whisk or stir in the flour and salt.
4) Transfer half the batter (about 2 1/2 c.) to the baking pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20 minutes. Let the brownies cool about 20 minutes.
5) Stir the caramels and cream in a heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in half the pecans. Immediately spread the caramel mixture over the brownies (if you let it sit, it will get hard and difficult to spread).
6) Pour the remaining brownie batter evenly over the caramel mixture and spread gently to cover (do not pour it in a clump, or it will be difficult to spread over the hot caramel without mixing up the layers).
7) Sprinkle the chocolate chips and remaining pecans on top of the brownie layer. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool the brownies completely in the pan (for quicker cooling, set the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes).
8) Grab the foil edges and lift the brownies out of the pan. Cut them into squares. If individually wrapped in plastic wrap, the brownies will keep for 1 week at room temperature or for 1 month in the freezer.
For those interested: this post is featured in the "Sweets for Saturday" post over at Sweet as Sugar Cookies". Feel free to check it out and see what other sweets have been baked up this past week.