Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Salted Nougat Brownies

Fudgy Centers...
      There is a beauty in brownies that I hold dear to my heart. Their rich, chocolaty decadence, their simplicity, and their comforting fudgy, yet gooey quality speak strongly to memories of childhood sweets. Yes, brownies are one way to get me to stay in one place for a while.
Glossy Tops...
        I do have some requirements for my brownies though. Nothing over the top picky, but heck, I think there are things that do make your brownie over the top better. First of all, leave the cake brownies to cakes. In other words, just make a cake, and indulge in icing if that is what you like in texture. I find nothing more disappointing that buying a brownie only to find out I really just bought a slightly dense square of cake with no frosting. Nu-uh. I want a thickset, fudgy, chewy square of goodness if you are going to call it a brownie. The other main requirement, I do not want every bite to be the same. Texture, bursts of flavor, exciting finds of variety strewn through a brownie are what make me a happy camper.
Gooey and Crunchy Surprises...
       These two things are very important when it comes to biting into the famed-classic dessert. So when I recently looked through The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook for the first time, I was about five pages into the recipes when I saw these and stopped. I went to the store to buy the missing ingredients and make them immediately. There was no need to finish looking at the book to see if there was something I would rather make later on. I did not want any delays. When these brothers called something a Salted Nougat Brownie and promise me a fudgy center, I was all in from the moment I read their glossy text on a page.
Pockets of melted carmel and chocolate...
       I have to say, I was right not to delay. These brownies smelt amazing, with the rich, intense chocolate dancing its scents around my tiny apartment. Then I pulled them out of the oven and they had a perfectly, glossy sheen to the top, making them look even more delectable and irresistible. Finally, after a true test of patience, I cut into them. Oh they were fudgy all right; even at first glance you could see these were the brownies the Beekman Brothers had promised. The pockets where the caramel, nougat and chocolate had melted were tantalizing. The promised crunch of the peanuts were calling my name. Finally, I indulged in one of the little squares and I could not have felt more satisfied. Now these, my friends, are brownies.
Got to eat them now!
       I brought the cookies (oatmeal-coconut chocolate chip from last week) and brownies to the final night of the Rooster Cat Romp, a variety show in Denver that ran in the alleyway of a trendy coffee shop all summer. The crowd's verdict was to make the brownies. You have got the try them out. My only sadness is that they all disappeared so quickly. I think I have another batch in store very soon, because to be honest, I cannot get enough of an outstanding brownie.
Adapted from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook
Oven Temp: 350 F
Equipment: 8X8 Square Pan 
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
6 TBSP unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C packed brown sugar
2 TBSP light corn syrup
3/4 TSP salt
1 TSP espresso powder
2/3 C all-purpose flour
3/4 C dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 package "Snickers 2 to Go" (3.3 ounces) roughly chopped
1. Preheat the oven and prepare your baking dish by pushing aluminum foil down and around the sides, then greasing the foil.
2. Place a heatproof bowl over a pot of gently simmering water. Make sure the water in the pot is not high enough to touch the bowl. Add the butter and chocolate and stir to melt.
3. Once melted, remove from heat and mix in espresso powder and salt.
3. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, sugars, corn syrup, and vanilla until combined.
4. Mix in the cooled chocolate mixture, and then the flour.
5. Fold in the nuts and candy bars, and then scrape the batter into the pan.
6. Bake for 40 minutes until edges are set and an inserted toothpick comes out only with moist crumbs. Let the brownies cool in pan before lifting out with aluminum foil. Cut into squares with a pastry cutter or sharp knife.
         Make yourself a brownie sundae with one of these while its still warm. Let that vanilla ice cream melt slightly and pool around the edges to make soft, chewy, chocolate crumbles. Top with some refreshing berries so with each bite you get the deep, warm chocolate, cold, sweet ice cream, and tart, bright fruit together in harmony.  Dig in deeply with your spoon and enjoy one of my favorite childhood treats. 
Happy Baking.
Love, Boulder Butter

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