Pastry chef Kelly Fields of Willa Jean in New Orleans makes her delicious fudgy brownies with brown sugar, dark chocolate and cocoa powder, and studs them with crunchy bites of nutty pecan praline.
Slideshow: Best-Ever Brownies
1 1/2 cups pecans (5 ounces)
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, until golden. Leave the oven on.
In a medium saucepan, combine both sugars with the butter and cream and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture registers 230° on a candy thermometer, about 8 minutes. Stir in the toasted pecans and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 240°, about 2 minutes longer. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Let the mixture cool down to 210°. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until it stiffens and looks cloudy. Scrape the praline onto a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Spread in an even layer and let cool. Transfer the praline to a work surface and coarsely chop.
Step 3 make the brownies
Meanwhile, coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with baking spray. In a medium bowl, sift the flour with the cocoa powder and granulated sugar. In a medium saucepan set over another saucepan of gently simmering water, melt the butter with the chocolate, stirring until smooth, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the eggs with the light brown sugar and salt at medium speed for 2 minutes. Beat in the dry ingredients in 4 additions, scraping down the side and bottom of the bowl. With the mixer on, drizzle in the chocolate mixture and beat at low speed until well combined. Fold in the chopped praline.
Scrape the brownie batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs attached. Transfer to a rack to cool completely before cutting into bars.
The brownies can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
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Review Body: I made these a few weeks ago. I hv my baking diploma from Cordon Bleu, so I do know how to bake:) It is an easy recipe to follow. But to be honest,, I was not crazy about it. Perhaps it is just my taste. I felt there is just too much going on and you don't get the true chocolate flavor of the brownie, or the praline. And I also felt the brownie was way too dense. Call me a purist, but I rather hv a plain brownie with a rich chocolate flavor. And then have a plain praline. My praline hardened. I have read some of the reviews. Now I live in Charleston, and we are known for being humid. Altho, it was not a very humid day when I made the brownies. But the pralines are not supposed to be rock solid. They harden, and you can break them. Perhaps the pralines did not harden correctly because you did not let the mixture boil up to the 240 degrees. That is a must. You hv to use a candy thermometer and it has to go to a soft ball stage, otherwise it will not harden.
Review Rating: 3
Date Published: 2016-10-28
Author Name: Christopher Bromsey
Review Body: Praline did not harden. Now what do I do?
Date Published: 2016-09-24
Author Name: Derrie Moore
Review Body: My praline didn't harden very well either. I moved forward anyhow and the results were still quite good. I loved the brownie itself and once I refrigerated them, the praline was very good too. I would tweak the praline a little, but would definitely make them again.