Friday, September 19, 2008

Black Bottom Walnut Praline Bars

Black Bottom Praline Bars

Black Bottom Praline Bars

These bars were a big hit at work. They remind me of Abigail Johnson Dodge's Chocolate Chip Brownie Double Deckers from The Weekend Baker, but they're a little more sophisticated. The chocolate layer is richer, and the topping has a stronger butterscotch taste. I used toasted walnuts, but I think I would have preferred pecans.

This is the best brownie variation i've tried in a while. Cook's Illustrated's Triple Chocolate Espresso Brownies were a close second. I like Alice Medrich and Emily Luchetti's brownies well enough, but I still haven't found a recipe I can call my favorite. I can never get the exact texture and flavor i'm looking for.

You can use any half batch of Alice Medrich brownie batter for this recipe. I've included the half-recipe for her unsweetened chocolate, "new classic" brownies.

Black Bottom Pecan Praline Bars
adapted from Alice Medrich's Bittersweet

Brownie Layer
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 cold large egg
1/4 cup all purpose flour

Place the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl set in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the skillet. Stir in the sugar, vanilla, and salt with a wooden spoon. Add the egg. Stir in the flour and beat with a wooden spoon until the batter is smooth, glossy, and beginning to come away from the sides of the bowl, 1-2 minutes. Proceed with the rest of the recipe.

Praline Layer
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp Baking soda
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 large egg yolk
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
9-inch square baking pan

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
Spread the brownie batter in a thin even layer in the bottom of the lined pan. Set aside.
Mix the flour and baking soda together thoroughly and set aside.
Combine the melted butter, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the egg yolk and vanilla, then the flour mixture, and finally the nuts. Drop spoonfuls all over the top of the brownie batter (they will spread and cover the brownies entirely during baking).
Bake until the edges of the topping are well browned and cracked, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completey in pan on a rack.
Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 25 bars.


Laurie said...

I made these Saturday. What a great cookie Thanks for sharing it with me.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I am making these soon, Lisa. I can see why they were a hit. :)

My Sweet & Saucy said...

How yummy do these sound!?!

Snooky doodle said...

this don t seem too difficult to make.They seem so delicious :-)

Anonymous said...

these sound absolutely delicious. this might have to be the next sweet treat recipe i try!

The Urban Baker said...

I just made these ( via patricia's blog) and my house smells amazing. if you haven't tried david lebovitz's brownies, you must ( so good.
thanks for the inspiration!