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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Praline Pecan Brownies

Praline Pecan Brownie

After making these as part of my early morning baking ritual I am under strict orders not to bake delicious smelling goodies in the middle of the night. According to Michael the scent of baked goods and especially chocolate from the kitchen make him hungry. So, I guess I will have to switch my baking time to mornings on the days he works or afternoons.

Anyway, these Praline Pecan Brownies were inspired by a recipe I found at Betty Crocker. The topping sounded delicious but I really do try to keep box mixes out of my kitchen if at all possible. So instead of using a mix for this, I used a classic double cocoa brownie recipe with pecans. These are rich and decadent with a big brownie portion topped by caramel and butterscotch flavored icing mixed with toasted pecan pieces. Brownie heaven!

The only caveats I will give with this recipe would be that an 8-inch square pan fills up quite fully with this brownie batter. You might want to divide it in half between two pans so that you will have more room for your icing. Otherwise, you can do what I did and simply place some cardboard pieces around the edges of the brownies and then pour your icing over them so that it doesn't escape down the sides of the pans before it sets up. The choice is yours... a bit thinner brownie in two pans or a really thick one in one pan.

4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
8 ounces melted butter
1 1/4 cups cocoa
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour, sifted
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 300°. Butter and flour an 8-inch square pan.

In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow. Add both sugars. Add remaining ingredients, and mix to combine.

Pour the batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square pan and bake for 45-60 minutes. When cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, brownies are done. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

Praline Frosting

1/2 cup whipping cream
6 tbs. butter
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

In medium saucepan, mix cream, butter, brown sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Continue cooking 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in pecans, powdered sugar and vanilla. Cool 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Spread frosting over brownies. Allow to stand 30 to 45 minutes, or until frosting is set.

Notes: Brownie recipe makes very full pan of brownies. In order to frost the brownies you can either divide the batter into two pans to leave room for the icing to set up or place pieces of cardboard along sides of brownies in pan to keep icing from running off the pan.

To toast the pecans, take whole pecans and place in skillet over medium-low heat. Toast, shaking occasionally, until pecans are golden and fragrant. Allow to cool and then chop.

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