Caramel Pecan Brownies

The lovely Sarah O, in whose kitchen I baked scones last week, graciously lent me her Macrina Bakery & Cafe Cookbook and I am adoring it.  The Macrina Cafe is located in downtown Seattle (there are other locations in Seattle as well).  I like it because it is a local chef but mostly because the bakery is delicious and so are these recipes.  These brownies are amazing.  Trust me, you should probably make them right now and be transported to gooey chocolate caramel heaven.

These brownies are so far away from the standard out of the box brownies (which, don't get me wrong, are also delicious) that I almost feel bad calling them the same thing.  Take a pan of really delicious brownies and then stud it with pecans.  I love pecans in my brownies and cookies and my oatmeal and just straight out of the bag.  My mom hates nuts in cookies and things so she never made brownies with pecans and so I don't think it was until the 4th or 5th grade I realized you could have pecans in brownies.  That was a good day.
By the way, this is a picture of the amount of butter in the brownies, so you know they're good.  It takes an entire pound of butter, which is one box, 4 sticks.  That is a lot of butter.  The yield for the recipe is 12 brownies, but that means one brownie has a third of a stick of butter in it.  I could only have a couple of bites at a time, it was so rich.  But then I had to keep going back for more.  But that makes it less calories, right?
Okay, so you have your rich chocolate, pecan-studded brownies which would probably be good enough on their own, but that isn't enough.  You then take 2 cups of homemade caramel sauce and pour it on top.  Yes, you have to make the caramel sauce, but I promise it is not that hard and totally worth it.  Just keep your eye on the caramel.  I always have a problem because it seems to take a long time to get going but then once it starts to turn color it happens really quickly and I've always found something to distract me and go racing back to the pan in a panic. 
Anyway, the caramel sauce is amazing.  I could eat it with a spoon (not that I did that or anything).  But wait, rich chocolate, pecan-studded, caramel-soaked brownies are still not quite ridiculous enough.  We need to then sprinkle two different types of chocolate chips on top to melt into the caramel.  If your mind isn't blown from just reading the description you have to go make them because then it totally will be.

Caramel Pecan Brownies

1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 eggs
2 tsps vanilla
1 3/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1 recipe Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)
1/4 cup white chocolate chips, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, coarsely chopped
1. Sift cocoa powder and flour into a medium bowl and mix with a whisk until combined. Set aside.
2. Combine sugar and butter in a bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and pale in color.
3. Add eggs 1 at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding another. Add vanilla with the last egg and continue mixing until incorporated, about 1 minute.
4. Using a rubber spatula, fold half of the cocoa powder mixture into the batter. After the first half is fully incorporated, fold in the rest of the mixture and continue folding until all of the flour has been absorbed.
5. Pour the batter into an oiled 13x9-inch baking pan. Bake in a 325F degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until center is just set. The center should still be slightly soft. Let cool 15 minutes. This is a good time to prepare the caramel sauce.
6. Pour warm Caramel Sauce evenly over the pan of brownies. Sprinkle the chopped white and bittersweet chocolate chips over the top of the caramel. The chocolate will melt into the caramel: drag a skewer through the caramel creating horizontal lines 1/2 inch apart, then vertical lines 1/2 inch apart. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours to set the caramel.
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
4 tbsps unsalted butter
1. Combine sugar and water in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Mix with a whisk to dissolve the sugar, then bring to a simmer over medium heat. While the mixture is heating, brush the sides of the pan with a pastry brush to keep sugar crystals from forming. Repeat this process often, about every 3 minutes, while heating the sauce.
2. After a few minutes the liquid will start turning light brown and then a deep amber color. If one side of the pan darkens quicker then the other, jiggle the pan to mix the liquid.
3. Add cream, taking care to avoid the steam that will rise from the pan. Mix with a whisk until cream is incorporated and the sauce has thickened. Add butter and continue whisking until combined. Let cool slightly, but use while it is still warm.
Recipe from Macrina Bakery & Cafe Cookbook by Leslie Mackie
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  1. This looks insane, I think I just had a heart attack reading, but WANT.

  2. I'm gonna dream about these tonight.