Monday, December 8, 2014

12 Days of Christmas Cookies - Day 5: Brownies topped with Nutella Crunch

Day 5: Brownies with Nutella Crunch - made November 29, 2014, recipe adapted from Cravings of a Lunatic
Ah, nutella crunch topping, how do I love thee? Let me count the multiple brownies I've made with you. All different brownie bases but only roped in so the nutella crunch topping has something to sit on. You might not consider a brownie to be a "cookie" but I'm taking liberties and counting it since technically, brownies are bar "cookies".
Seriously, it almost doesn't matter which brownie recipe you use for this as long as you use good quality chocolate (choose recipes that call for more semisweet or unsweetened chocolate in the base batter, not sweet or milk chocolate) and don't overbake it. Avoid cakey brownie recipes that call for beating the eggs a lot and/or use chemical leavening like baking powder or baking soda. You want fudgy brownies. And for once, I don't advocate making a thick brownie because the topping is literally another layer on top of it and too thick of a brownie layer plus the crunch topping layer makes for awkward eating and contortions of your mouth that just won't be pretty.
Fortunately, this recipe fit the bill. The brownie layer probably got a bit compressed when I was smoothing the crunch topping over it but that's okay. It contributes to the fudginess. If you want a smoother, more "flowy" topping, cut back on the chocolate chips and increase the nutella in equal proportions, i.e. decrease chocolate chips by 1/4 cup, increase nutella by 1/4 cup. I also like to cram in a fair amount of Rice Krispies, almost like I'm making Rice Krispie treats because I like the crunch.

8 tablespoons of butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt

Nutella Crunch Topping
1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup Nutella
1 tablespoon butter
1 to 1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal (more if you prefer)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 8 x 8 pan with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate together over low heat in a medium saucepan. Stir until melted and smooth. 
  3. Remove from heat and add the sugar. Stir well. 
  4. Add eggs and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Add chocolate chips, flour and vanilla salt. Stir until well blended. 
  5. Pour into pan and place in oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes, toothpick inserted in the center should come out with a few moist crumbs. Remove and cool on a rack.

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