dear universe, when i say that i need a vacation i was thinking more along the lines of somewhere on a beach with a fruity drink in my hand… NOT sitting in the heat because my power went out because of a stupid hurricane. can we please do something about our little miscommunication there? k? thanks.
y’all for real.
can i just tell you how miserable it is to be without power in the south in august? it is M-I-S-E-R-A-B-L-E. and i’ll be honest… the first day/night without power wasn’t horrible mainly because i had jacked my ac down before it went out and it was also still overcast and rainy. but then came day numero 2 AND the sun. all that semi-comfort i had from day 1 was gone in an instant. it was blazing. and i was sweating. if you know me, you know i’m not a particular fan of sweating. i mean there is reason i pay good money to go to a gym and sweat in the ac.
and with isaac coming at us, there has been no cooking to be had around my house. you learn after living with hurricanes your whole like that you could possibly have to throw out everything in your fridge/freezer so you try to stay minimal. that’s not to say i couldn’t have baked some food (and not heard a fair amount of grief from my coworkers) but let’s be honest, i have also been supremely lazy the past couple weeks. so that coupled with 72 hours of no electricity translated into me just getting back into the kitchen this week… well last night to be exact. and it was for a very special reason…
today is maddie’s birthday!!
see recently, i proposed making everyone at the office a special birthday treat for their birthday instead of going to a local bakery and buying a cake. this way, everyone could have their favorite treat and i could try something new for here. it’s a win win. and today it happened to be maddie’s choice and i couldn’t be more excited for it. i am pumped to say i geniunely like everyone i work with but maddie’s special. she’s like the absolute nicest person you could ever meet. for real. when i was trying to get her to tell me what treat she wanted, she kept saying “whatever everyone else likes”. it was a task to get a request out of her because it wasn’t about her, she was determined to make sure that everyone enjoyed it.
she finally settled on brownies and they needed to have nuts.
one other thing about maddie is that she’s a chocolate lover. and who can blame her? so i knew that if she kept giving me the “whatever everyone else likes” line that there would definitely be chocolate involved; heavily involved. so when she allowed me to take refuge to her air conditioned house on night 2 of no-power-thank-you-very-much-isaac, i grilled her and she mentioned brownies with nuts. what goes better with brownies that have nuts than some extra chocolate and caramel? ummmm not too much.
so i researched for the perfect recipe and stumbled across these turtle brownies from annie. you may remember that i made annie’s lemon layer cake and it was delish. i knew that anything she came up with would be a winner. and these are. i mean what could be wrong about a dense, chocolatey brownie topped with pecans and drizzled with homemade caramel and ganache? um ok… maybe that dense brownie all warmed up with some vanilla ice cream but just make sure that brownie is all up in that combination ok?
- 10 oz + 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1 c (2 sticks) butter, room temp
- 6 tbs cocoa
- 6 large eggs
- 2 1/2 c + 1 c sugar
- 4 tsp + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp + 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 c flour
- 1 c chopped pecans
- 1 1/4 c + 1/4 c heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- preheat the oven to 350F. spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- in a double boiler, melt the 10 oz of bittersweet chocolate, 2 oz of unsweetened chocolate and butter together until smooth, stir occasionally to prevent the chocolate from burning. whisk in cocoa powder until smooth and set aside to cool slightly.
- in a medium-large bowl, whisk together the eggs, 2 1/2 c sugar, 4 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp salt until thoroughly incorporated. whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until combined. stir in flour with a spatula / wooden spoon until just combined. pour the mixture into the greased pan and spread into an even layer. bake 20 – 25 min until the batter is beginning to set on top. remove from the oven and sprinkle with the pecans; press them slightly into the batter and return the pan to the oven for another 10 min until the brownies are slightly puffed on top. transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool to room temp while you make the caramel sauce and ganache.
- make the caramel: measure the 1 1/4 c of heavy cream into a measuring up. scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the heavy cream. spread the remaining 1 c of sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a heavy sauce pan. place over medium-low heat and watch it carefully. when the sugar begins to liquefy, gently stir it towards the center. continue to gentle stir (i swirlled rather than stirred) until the sugar is melted and the caramel has turned a deep amber. carefully whisk in half of the heavy cream mixture; stirring until well incorporated. whisk in the remaining cream, salt and vanilla.
- make the ganache: place the remaining chocolate in a double boiler until just melted. remove from heat and whisk in the remaining cream until you have a smooth ganache.
- once the brownies are room temp and both the caramel and ganache have been made, drizzle the brownies with caramel and ganache. place the brownies in the fridge for 2 hours before serving.
a quick note about the recipe…. yes, this requires a fair amount of steps but they’re totally worth it. if you didn’t want to make homemade caramel and / or chocolate ganache, you could sub ice cream toppings but nothing beats homemade caramel. like i cannot even begin to tell you how excited i am to have caramel left over for consumption straight from a spoon.
also, if you make the caramel and the sugar hardens, just place the saucepan back on a burner set to medium low and stir until everything melts and the caramel is gloriously liquidy.
p.s. sorry for the terrible iphone photo above… usually they are relatively decent but this one… eh.
oh and the birthday girl totally loved her brownies… see:
recipe from: annie’s eats