Tuesday, November 20, 2012

nutty, fudgy brownies

You would think that when I'm ready for brownies that it might interest me to try a new recipe. I'm a fan of changing it up and I get bored of the same old recipe time in time out. Except when that same old recipe is this one that I`ve already used twice.

I`m fairly consistent in how I like my brownies: fudgy and crusty. I don't want a "cake like" brownie, because if I wanted something cakey well I'd just make cake. For me a brownie needs to be fudgy (maybe even gooey, sometimes) and it absolutely must have the brownie crust. Otherwise why bother? Having a recipe that I know gives me my necessities in a brownie makes me a little weary of trying any other recipe although I have about a dozen bookmarked to try later.

The problem I run into is that I don't want to always make the same brownies. Every batch doesn't need to be espresso brownies, even though the original recipe is perfection itself. Sometimes I want to change things up a bit. Maybe make mint brownies, or do something layered and with a cream cheese marble. Sometimes I just want some nuts with my chocolate.

There's this bag of pecans sitting around the house that's just been begging me to find uses for them. They made a great crust on a pork chop the other week but there were still plenty left over. It seemed to me that they wanted to go into some type of chocolatey goodness so clearly brownies were called for. Even more clearly it wouldn't be enough to just add pecan bits. If I was going to make nutty brownies, I wanted that flavour to be incorporated into the whole batter which was where the Nutella came in. Luckily Bunny knows that I have a secret love of chocolate hazelnut everything and occasionally grabs the giant Nutella jars from Costco to surprise me with so I already had a form of chocolate and nut flavour to go from. Adding a quarter cup of that to the batter just seemed like it would make everything better.

Nutella Pecan Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar (of your choice. I like brown here, but white works.)
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, or coarsely chopped semi- or bittersweet chocolate (depending on your tastes)
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cups butter
  • 1 /4 cup Nutella
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
  2. In a sauce pot, melt butter and sugar until fully incorporated. This should be glossy and somewhat melty by the time it's done, and is the single best method for brownie butter creaming I've ever encountered. Seriously divine.
  3. Remove from heat, stir in the chocolate and Nutella until fully melted. Let cool about ten minutes.
  4. When slightly cool, add eggs and vanilla, mixing until combined and glossy. At this point, mix things fairly well to ensure everything is fully incorporated. The longer you mix at this stage, the better your brownie crust ends up being. The whole chocolate mixture should be a big, glossy muck by the time you're done here. 
  5. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt until everything is evenly distributed and you have a uniform consistency. Things should come together fairly quickly, and you do not want to overmix at this point.
  6. Gently stir in the pecan pieces.
  7. Spread into a lightly greased 13x11" pan and bake about 30-35 minutes.
  8. Let cool for 10-20 minutes, then cut into bars and remove from the pan. Take half to a neighbour immediately, otherwise you will eat them all. (Which really may not be a bad thing, but still. Share the brownie love).
  9. Eat them. Do not frost, because these have that lovely crust and that just should not be ruined.

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