Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Turbo-Charged Brownies with Praline Topping

Oh wow. Look at all that delicious praline topping. Do you say pray-leen or prAH-leen? Joe and I have an argument going on that. I'm from Texas, so I say pray-leen. He went to college in New Orleans, so he says prAH-leen. Anyway, I grew up on pecans (the state tree of Texas!), and we even had a pecan tree in our backyard, so I love anything that calls for pecans. They're even better all mixed in with butter and sugar on top of a delicious fudge-y brownie.

When I first saw this recipe, I knew it would be perfect for two things: 1) using up the pecans and heavy cream I had left and 2) Super Bowl dessert. We went over to our friends' the C's to watch the Super Bowl game and eat chili and drink beer. They have a killer sound system and TV, and Mrs. C and I definitely share foodie interests. I thought these brownies would go over quite well, which they did. They're also kind of addictive, so watch out.

Turbo-Charged Brownies with Praline Topping
as seen on Dinner and Dessert


3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar (I used light brown sugar.)
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon boiling water
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

Praline Topping
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 tablespon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking sheet with foil, leaving several inches hanging over the short ends of the pan. Grease the foil with butter or cooking spray.

In a large metal bowl set over a pan filled with 2 inches of simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has completely melted. Stir in both sugars. Add the eggs and vanilla all at once and stir until the batter is smooth and shiny. In a small bowl, combine the espresso powder and the boiling water; stir into the brownie mixture. Stir in the flour and salt.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it evenly. Bake about 30 minutes, or until the brownies have just begun to shrink slightly away from the sides of the pan. Do not overbake; the brownies should be slightly wet inside. Cool completely while making the praline topping, about 1 hour at room temp or 15 minutes in the freezer. Leave the oven at 350.

To make the topping: Arrange the pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast for 5-7 minutes, until golden brown and aromatic. Break the nuts into large pieces.

Combine the cream, brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in a 2 1/2 quart saucepan and stir over medium-low heat until the mixture is smooth and the butter has melted. Bring to a slow boil; boil without stirring about 6 minutes. (If the mixture starts to boil over, you’ve set the heat too high. Turn the burner down a notch.) Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool about 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and pecans. Pour the topping over the cooled brownies, spreading it with a knife or spatula to cover evenly.

Let the topping cool at least 15 minutes at room temp. Lift the brownies, still in the foil, out of the pan and cut them into pieces.