I promise I do create more than just desserts in the kitchen. It's just that in recent weeks my most interesting, TERP-worthy recipes have been desserts. I swear I am only making these butter-soaked desserts for other people and only when you see them on the blog.
So yes, today's dessert is for other people. For someone who was so unpopular that in her younger years that even her imaginary friends excluded her, I seem to be invited to a fair number of parties lately. Parties mean a chance for me to bake something, and have the fun and tasty experience of baking something, then sharing it with others so I don't eat it all and get fat. Win-win situation, no?
The last party I attended I made a lemon cake, because it seemed more summer-appropriate. Even though we're even deeper into summer now and summer berries are in every market, I'm just too big of a chocolate fiend to not want to make a chocolate dessert at some time. Seeing as I'm such a chocolate lover, I will always gravitate toward a good brownie. I haven't made brownies in quite some time. I am in the mood for a good brownie variation.
Here is what I came up with.
This is a caramel-cinnamon-pecan brownie. My intention was to make a caramel swirl brownie, but my caramel sauce was just not sturdy enough to hold a shape. Instead I got some chocolatey, caramel-drenched, gooey, sticky, super-sweet concoction, relieved by the crunch of nuts.
I didn't say it was a bad thing.
The recipe is a bit time-consuming because you have to make the cinnamon-caramel sauce, and toast the nuts as well as make the brownies. You can certainly can take a shortcut and warm some jarred sauce with a cinnamon stick (or just sprinkle in some ground cinnamon). If you make your own caramel sauce, you will have some leftover for your ice cream - or to pour some extra over your brownie. Better yet, make a brownie-caramel sundae.
The recipe officially doesn't have chocolate chips in it, but I will confess I had about a quarter of a bag of chips in the cabinet and decided to throw them in there.
Cinnamon-Caramel Pecan Brownies
For the sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 6 Tbl butter
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup pecan pieces
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 oz unsweetened chocolat4
- 1 stick butter
- 1 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1/2 cup caramel sauce
Toast pecans. Heat oven to 225 degrees. Toss the pecans with 1 tsp cinnamon and scatter on a baking sheet. Toast about 15 minutes.
Raise oven temperature to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom of an 8" square pan with baking spray and line with parchment, leaving an overhang on the sides, and spray that too.
Melt chocolate and butter together in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. You can also put them in a microwave-safe bowl and melt them in the microwave on half power, putting them in for about 30 seconds and then checking them every 30 seconds. Remove your chocolate from the heat when there are just a few small chunks remaining. Stir until everything is melted and smooth.
Beat sugar into chocolate-butter mixture using a whisk. Then add your eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and salt. Mix in your flour. It's a good idea to trade your whisk for a sturdy spoon when you add the flour or you will have half your batter stuck in your whisk. Stir in your pecans.
Spread batter in a prepard pan. Pour caramel sauce over the stop. You can swirl your knife though it a bit. This won't swirl the caramel, but it will help it settle in more.
Bake for 35 minutes or until the brownies are set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out fairly clean with just a crumb or two on it. Watch this carefully. I have a wacky oven. You may need to bake your brownies for less time.