My friend Nicolette shares my love for cooking and baking, and tracking down irresistible recipes which she kindly share with me. This one comes from a whole entire book of brownie brilliance, entitled The Brownie Experience: A Cookbook for Brownie Lovers, by Lisa Tanner. Nicolette adds a little espresso powder to make these mocha rather than merely chocolate, and I loved the little edge that gives to a sublimely sweet, rich confection.
I used a whisk, since amounts were small, but a hand held mixer would work too. If you’re a brownie maker, you know the supremely thick batter will need help in spreading to cover the baking pan, and that walnuts would work in place of pecans if you prefer them, though you would be stepping away from the truly “Turtle” designation these earn made as directed.
There’s some in-and-out-of-the-oven in this recipe, which means I really need to set a timer and follow its urgings. The reason is that you make two layers of lusciousness which need to be spread over the brownie pan at incremental stages. First is a simple brown sugar-butter syrup, which covers the pecans, and the second is a chocolate icing made from chocolate chips melted with half and half or evaporated milk. Do those shortly before you need them, as neither one holds well.
Above is the half-baked brownies, and you’ll see where a portion of the parchment paper with which I lined my 8-inch baking pan fell onto the batter and left a mark; caramel and chocolate icing took care of that real quick. Below is the caramel sauce and you’ll see there’s not a ton of it. Be ready to spread it out quicky as soon as you get it onto the brownies; don’t fret about evenness, not one bit. This can’t not be fabulous.
Below you see how the caramel syrup cooks into the brownie layer wonderful.
Here’s my pan of brownies, pecan scatter, caramel syrup-covered, and chocolate ice : TA-DAH!!!! There’s the turtle part in place, with sensational results.
Best to let these cool to room temperature, and to refrigerate them for an hour if you have time, just so they set really well. Once done and cut, they keep well for 2 or 3 days, and need not be refrigerated.
Pecans are the true Turtle-component, but walnuts would be mighty tasty here.
Don’t expect fluffy icing as you woudl see on a cake — just a shiny, super-chocolate layer of richness to crown the turtle layer. Inspired and so very good.
Cut these fairly small, as they deliver rich goodness and give you something wonderful to share widely.
- For the Brownies:
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder optional)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanila
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup flour
- 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- For the Caramel:
- 5 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces
- ⅓ cup brown sugar, light or dark
- 2 tablespoons evaporated milk or ½ and ½
- For the Chocolate Icing:
- 1¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons evaporated milk or half-and-half
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8-inch baking pan with butter or vegetable oil.
- In a small pot, melt butter and chocolate over medium heat, stirring to encourage them to melt evenly and quickly. then stir in espresso powder if using and beat it in well.
- In a medium bowl, beat two eggs with a whisk or an electric mixer until very thick and lightened to a rich, golden hue.
- Add sugar, salt, and vanilla and continue beating until very thick, velvety, and increased in volume.
- Add melted chocolate-butter mixture and stir well.
- Add flour and stir, scrape, and mix well.
- Scrape thick, rich batter into prepared pan, spreading to every corner in as even a layer as possible.
- Bake in preheated oven at 350 for 15 minutes.
- While brownies bake, about 5 minutes before this 15 minutes is up, make a caramel syrup, combining the 5 tablespoons brown sugar with t the ⅓ cup brown sugar in a medium saucepan.
- Whisk constantly until melted and combined and let it come to a boil; then cook 1 minute and remove from heat.
- Remove brownies from oven (they will not be done yet) and scatter pecans evenly over the top, then cover them with caramel syrup, spreading gently, very gently, to cover pecans mostly.
- Return to oven and continue baking at 350 for 15 minutes more.
- White brownies finish baking, about 5 minutes before they are done, make chocolate icing.
- Combine chocolate chips and evaporated milk or half and half in a medium saucepan over medium heat, or in a microwave oven. Cook until chocolate melts, and stir or whisk well to mix them evenly into a smooth icing.
- Remove brownies when time is up and immediately spread chocolate icing all over the top, spreading it to the edges and covering pecan caramel layer as evenly and completely as you can. Don't worry if it's not perfect, just do what you can, they will be fabulous!
- Cool to room temperature.
- Cut into small or large squares and enjoy!