Thursday, June 23, 2011

PK's Fudge Brownie with Salted Caramel and Pecans

I have strong emotional feelings for the salty caramel brownies at Prepkitchen in La Jolla. I know everyone is doin a salty caramel dessert these days, but I don't really care because they're my favorite. PK's brownie is perfect because its gooey and fudgy without being overly sweet and the salty caramel-pecan topping is outta control. They sort of resemble the chocolate pecan pie from Frontera in Chicago, which is one of my favorite things to eat in life.

Make these and enjoy a little taste of La Jolla!

PK Fudge Brownies with Salted Caramel and Pecans
Recipe from Jojo Rossi of Prepkitchen and The San Diego Union-Tribune

Yields one 9-by-13-inch pan of brownies

For the brownies:
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) butter
3 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (chopped)
5 large eggs
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted (Optional. I added these into the batter because we love pecans and they give the brownies great texture. Totally not necessary though.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter and chocolate in small heatproof bowl. Heat over a water bath until melted. Set aside until room temperature.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, combine eggs, brown sugar, salt and vanilla. Whip until mixture is thick and holds a ribbon with the whip.

Take bowl off mixer and pour in chocolate and pecans (if using) and sift flour over mixture. Gently fold mixture with a spatula.

Spread into 9-by-13-inch pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray or greased with butter and then dusted with flour. Bake about 25 to 30 minutes. Brownies will still be fudgy, but the top should be shiny and cracked. Cool completely in pan.

For salted caramel layer:

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup glucose or corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted
1 tablespoon Fleur de Sel (sea salt)

In a medium-sized saucepan combine sugar, glucose (or corn syrup) and just enough water to make the mixture the consistency of wet sand. Wipe down the insides of the pan with a wet brush so that no granules of sugar remain. Cook this mixture over high heat until it is a deep amber color.

Immediately take off heat and slowly pour cream in (mixture will bubble and expand vigorously, so use caution).

Add vanilla extract and salt. Add pecans and stir to coat with caramel. Immediately pour over baked and cooled brownies. (Be careful when doing this. Spoon the topping evenly over brownies.)

To cut, refrigerate brownies for 30 minutes so that the caramel firms up.

* These are great zapped in the microwave for a few seconds before serving and are amazing with vanilla ice cream or Kahlua whipped cream. Thank you, Rick Bayless for teaching me the wonders of Kahlua whipped cream.