Heart of Darkness Brownies
My husband (Picky Apple) surprised me on Valentine’s Day with two new cookbooks. It was really the perfect gift, as I keep adding cookbooks to my Amazon cart for “pretend” orders. (Do you do that with online shopping, or is it just me? Add all the things you want to your cart, just for fun….then never order it? Or order some of it? Or order all of it, and get in trouble, because you went a little overboard? Maybe it is just me.) Anyway, the cookbooks: I’ve already got lots of recipes I can’t wait to try. This brownie recipe comes from Sticky, Chewy, Messy Gooey, by Jill O’Connor. It is actually the very first recipe in the book, and I’m tempted to just cook my way through this cookbook, recipe by recipe. They all look so yummy! This recipe in particular caught my eye because, like the Banana Crunch Muffins I make, they are packed with extra add-ins. In fact, they are so Sticky, Chewy, Messy Gooey that they must be cooked in muffin tins so you don’t have to deal with cutting up the brownies. These are definitely the Ben & Jerry’s of the brownie world. They’ve got chocolate chips, Snickers, marshmallows, caramel, and toasted pecans. I made half with pecans and half without, as requested by The Picky Apple himself. I had really high hopes for these brownies, because I love brownies and love all the components. Chocolate? Good. Pecans? Good. Snickers? Good. Marshmallow? Good. Caramel? Good. Think Joey from Friends, here (I think from the episode when Rachel made the trifle with meat in it) You get the picture. I’m not sure if it is because I wasn’t feeling that great when they finally came out of the oven or what, but they almost seem TOO rich. And that’s something I never ever say, nor ever dreamed possible. The Picky Apple agreed, and thinks they might be better sans marshmallow at the very least. (UPDATED 2/22/08: I tasted the brownies again today, and I think they taste great! Not too rich at all. I think I was just having some pre-migrane sensitivities when I was finishing up the brownies the other night…my vision and hearing always get extra-sensitive right before and during a migrane, and apparently my tastebuds were also affected this time. Bleh to migranes.)
Heart of Darkness Brownies
Makes 24 brownie cups
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
- 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup very coarsely chopped raw almonds or pecans, toasted
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 5 full-size (2.07 ounces each) Snickers Candy Bars, cut into small chunks
- 3 cups mini marshmallows
For the Caramel Drizzle:
- 6 ounces (about 25) unwrapped caramel candies
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Spray two standard 12-cup muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.
Melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and stir until smooth. Pour the chocolate mixture into a bowl and stir in the sugars, eggs and vanilla. Sift the flour and salt into the chocolate mixture and stir just until combined. Stir in the cooled chopped nuts, chocolate chips, and chunks of candy bar.
Fill each cupcake cup halfway with batter. Bake until the surface of the brownies has a glossy, crackled surface, about 20 minutes. Remove the brownies from the oven and top each one with 1/4 cup of the mini marshmallows. Return the brownies to the oven and cook until the marshmallows start the melt and puff up a bit, but not browned too much, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool just enough to handle, then remove from the cupcake cups, running a knife around the edge of each brownie to loosen it from the cup. Let cool completely on the wire rack.
While the brownies are cooling, make the caramel drizzle. Combine the caramels, cream, vanilla, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. If the caramels are not completely melted, continue heating in 30-second increments, stirring until smooth.
Drizzle the brownies with melted caramel and let cool completely for the caramel to harden. Do not chill. Serve immediately or store for up to 3 days in a covered container.