Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Turtle Brownies

Carmel Sauce & Filling
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon light-coloured corn
1/2 cup whipping or heavy
1 tablespoon vanilla extract,
   optional (or substitute with
   bourbon, rum,Grand Marnier,
   or a favourite liqueur)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1 heaping cup pecans

1/2 cup butter
6 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brewed coffee (leftover or cold coffee is okay), optional but recommended
1 teaspoon instant espresso granules, optional but recommended or alternatively a
    pouch of cappuccino mix
salt to taste
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecans

  • Carmel Sauce - In a medium to large saucepan (use a pan much larger than you think you'll need because the sauce will bubble very vigorously at the end), add the sugar, water, corn syrup and bring to a boil over high heat, whisking until sugar has dissolved.
  • Allow the mixture to boil for 5 to 12 minutes, or as necessary, for it to turn carmel-coloured, at which point it will likely be smoking slightly. The final stage where the mixture turns from pale amber to that perfect shade of caramel can go quickly, in less than 30 seconds, so keep a watchful eye and don't let it burn. 
  • As soon as the sauce has turned caramel-coloured, reduce the heat to low.
  • Very carefully and slowly, add the cream. Stand back because mixture will bubble up considerably.
  • Add the vanilla and salt, to taste. Mixture will bubble up again.
  • Whisk until sauce is smooth and combined, and let it boil another 1 minute, which helps thicken it up.
  • Transfer sauce to glass jar or heat-safe container (easiest to pour into a 2-cup measuring cup and then easily pour into glass jar). Allow sauce to cool uncovered to room temperature; sauce thickens considerably as it cools. 
  • Sauce will keep airtight at room temp for at least 1 month, although will likely last much longer.
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with high-quality aluminum foil leaving overhang and spray with cooking spray (recommended!), or grease and flour the pan; set aside.
  • Brownies - In a large microwave-safe bowl, add the butter, chocolate, and heat on high power to melt, about 2 minutes. Stop to check and stir after 1 minute. Heat in 15-second increments until chocolate has melted and mixture can be stirred smooth. 
  • Allow mixture to cool momentarily before adding the eggs so they don't scramble.
  • Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla, coffee, espresso granules, salt, and whisk vigorously to combine.
  • Add the flour and stir until smooth and combined.
  • Turn half the batter out into prepared pan; reserve remainder.
  • Bake for 15 to 16 minutes, or until top has just set in the centre; don't over-bake because pan is going back into oven. While brownies bake, prepare the filling.
  • Filling - In a medium bowl, add caramel sauce (microwave it for 10 seconds if your is very thick or hard to get out of the jar), pecans, and stir to combine; set aside.
  • Combine - After brownies have baked for about 15 minutes, remove pan from oven and using a spatula carefully and evenly spread the filling mixture over the brownies, taking care to not let the filling plop down in one spot because it will be difficult to spread without disturbing the brownie layer.
  • Evenly top with reserved brownie batter, smoothing it lightly with a spatula. It's normal for it to have thickened up some.
  • Topping - Evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips.
  • Evenly sprinkle the pecans.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes, or until centre has just set and is no longer glossy.
  • Allow brownies to cool in pan on top of a wire rack.
  • Cover with a sheet of foil to prevent fridge smells, and place pan in fridge for about 2 hours.
  • Lift brownies out using foil overhang, slice, and serve. 
  • Brownies will keep airtight at room temp for up to 1 week, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.