Fudgy Toffee Brownies w/ a Pretzel Crumble Crust

I’ve never even made brownies from a box before. But this recipe is so detailed and fail proof, that all those new friends you’ll get when they get a whiff of this won’t even know it. “Oh yea, I’ve been baking for YEARS…”

And if you’re type A like me and need some more research, this article has GREAT tips and troubleshooting ideas: http://www.dianasdesserts.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/bakingtips.Brownies/Brownies.cfm

Conquering my fear of baking, take 1: 

Adapted from this amazing recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
  • 16 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 bags heath toffee bits
Pretzel Crust
  • ~3-4 cups salted pretzels
  • 3/4 – 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

2. Line the inside of an 9×13 pan with foil. Lightly butter the bottom of the pan.

3. Melt butter in a large metal or glass mixing bowl, placed over a saucepan of water on low heat. Add the chocolate and stir by hand until it is melted and smooth.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla until combined. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Add the flour and stir energetically for 1 full minute—time yourself—until the batter loses its graininess, becomes smooth and glossy, and pulls away a bit from the sides of the saucepan. Stir in add-ins (toffee bits, toasted nuts, etc).

5. Crust: Melt butter. In a food processor, pulse pretzels until it becomes a coarse sandy texture. Add pretzel crumbs and sugar to melted butter. Mix until it forms a crumbly texture. Pack pretzel mixture into the bottom of the pan.

6. Scrape the brownie batter (it will be thick and difficult to spread) over the pretzel crumble and set in fridge for an hour or two. This supposedly helps create a crisp crust on top and a soft gooey center when baked. I like this combo in a brownie. feel free to skip the fridge step if you like.

7. Bake until the center feels almost set, about 30 minutes. Do not overbake. Toothpick should NOT come out clean from the center.

7. Let the brownie cool COMPLETELY in the pan. Lift the foil or parchment and the block of brownie out of the pan. Cut the brownie into squares. (The brownies will keep well for up to 4 days and can be frozen for 1 month.). Tastes better the next day! If you’re making this at night, tightly seal pan with aluminum foil and leave it on the counter over night and cut in the morning.

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