Thursday, March 11, 2010

Turtle Brownies

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 Now, I'm not a big chocolate fan myself. But I realize that most normal people are. And so, homemade brownies are my usual go-to gift idea for people. I recently needed to put together thank-you gifts for some neighbors -- without knowing anything at all about them, including food likes and dislikes -- and decided that a combination of two types of brownies would be a safe way to go.

My standby collection of brownie recipes comes largely from a feature article on brownies from December 1996, featured in Gourmet magazine. This time, I tried an old favorite, and a new variation.

I found the new variant -- the turtle brownie -- to have a topping that was tacky, and never really hardened. But I was told by multiple testers that it was delicious, and that the tackiness added a nice gooey texture to the cake brownie.

Turtle Brownies
Gourmet Magazine, December 1996

Brownie Layer:
4 oz semisweet baking chocolate, chopped
1 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
1/2 c unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 c + 2 T flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Caramel-Pecan Layer:
3/4 c sugar
1/3 c corn syrup
3 T water
1/3 heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c pecans (6 oz)

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a 9" square baking pan.

Make brownie layer: In heavy saucepan, melt chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth.

Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm. Stir in brown sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until glossy and smooth. In separate bowl, sift together flour, powder and salt. Add to chocolate mixture, beating just until batter is combined. Spread batter evenly in pan and bake in middle of oven 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan.

Make caramel-pecan layer: In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, bring sugar, corn syrup, water and a pinch of salt to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

Boil without stirring until it turns a golden caramel.

Remove from heat and carefully add cream and vanilla; mixture will bubble up and steam.

Stir in pecans and quickly pour mixture over brownies, spreading evenly. Cool in pan.

Brownies will keep up to 5 days. Wrap in layers of waxed paper in an airtight container kept at room temperature.

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