Sunday, August 7, 2016

Poke Turtle Brownies

Poke Turtle Brownies - made June 25, 2016 from Carlsbad Cravings
I took a brief break from cookies to make brownies. Brownies have long been my go-to desserts but lately it’s been easier to make cookie dough to freeze and bake later. Whereas brownies I usually bake right before I need them to bring into work or a party so they require a trifle more timing and planning.
Turtle brownies are always a favorite since they involve chocolate and caramel. I’m not a fan of nuts in my brownies but on top of them is okay. This version had the added decadence of poking holes into the top of the baked brownie so there was room for the caramel layer to dribble inside the brownie itself. I loved that concept and poked with abandon (and a wooden chopstick) when the brownie came out of the oven.

I cheated and used a jar of salted caramel sauce from Trader Joe’s rather than making my own caramel. I don’t have good experience with making my own caramel so I don’t even bother to try anymore, not when Trader Joe’s is right there and they make a spankin’ good caramel. I warmed up the jar a bit so that the caramel would pour more easily. I used about half of the jar to fill in the holes and saved the other half for the final topping.
Surprisingly, I even liked the frosting in this recipe and you know I’m not a frosting person. Let the caramel set before you frost the brownie or else they’ll intermingle. Not that that’s a bad thing but it’s easier to frost without sticky caramel getting in the way. Toast the nuts (always) to bring out the flavor and add some crunch. I used mini chocolate chips for looks and to get more chips on there but you can also use the regular size. Once you’ve sprinkled enough nuts and chocolate chips to your satisfaction, drizzle the remaining caramel over the brownies and there you have decadence personified.
I haven’t met a turtle brownie yet that I didn’t like and this was no exception. Cut the pieces small as they are rich. The caramel didn’t drip as much as I expected into the brownie itself although it certainly added to the moistness and richness. Next time I think I’ll use 2/3 of the jar to fill in the holes instead of just half a jar.
1 cup butter (2 sticks), melted
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups pecans, roughly chopped
3/4 cup caramel sauce (I used salted caramel from Trader Joe's)
1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Chocolate Frosting
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2-3 tablespoons milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13" pan with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Cream together butter, sugar and cocoa powder in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs to the batter, one at a time, beating after each addition just until incorporated. Beat in vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon if using then beat into batter just until combined. Add 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips and stir until just combined. Pour batter evenly into pan. 
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the middle comes out with moist crumbs. Let pan cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes then poke holes all over with the handle of a wooden spoon or a chopstick. Pour 1/2 cup caramel over brownies and spread into holes with a spatula. Refrigerate brownies for one hour or freeze for 30 minutes to let the caramel set. 
  5. Meanwhile prepare the chocolate frosting: beat butter, cocoa, corn syrup and vanilla in a small bowl until blended. Add powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons milk; beat until smooth, adding additional milk if needed to reach spreading consistency.
  6. Once caramel has set, frost brownies. Sprinkle evenly with 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips and drizzle with 1/4 cup caramel.

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