Ultimate Turtle Brownies~

Ultimate Turtle Brownies...adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

¼ cup heavy cream plus 2 additional tablespoons
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/4 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 8 pieces
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

2 teaspoons Dutch process cocoa powder

¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup toasted pecans + 25 whole halves, toasted
1/3 cup good quality chocolate chips

Make the caramel first.

Measure the cream. Add salt, stirring to dissolve completely. Set aside.

In a small saucepan (preferably non-stick), mix together water and corn syrup. Using a funnel or spoon, carefully add the sugar to the middle of the sauce pan making sure NOT to touch the sides. Sugar crystals on the side of the pan can cause the mixture to crystallize and become grainy. Put mixture over medium high heat stirring gently until the sugar just begins to dissolve and the edges just begin to boil.

Cover with a tight fitting lid and allow to boil until the mixture is completely clear. Covering the pot allows for steam to roll down the sides of the pan and dissolve any sugar crystals. If you do not have a lid, use a cup of water and a pastry brush. Brush down the sides all the way to the sugar sigh the damp pastry brush. If you are using raw sugar the mixture will be honey colored but clear. Remove the lid and continue to boil until the mixture reaches 290 degrees on an instant read or candy thermometer. Lower the heat to medium low and continue to cook, swirling occasionally until the mixture is lightly amber and reaches 360 degrees.

Remove caramel from heat and stir in the cream. The mixture will bubble, hiss and release a lot of steam. Do not stop stirring, making certain to scrape the bottom and sides as you do. Once the mixture stops bubbling add the room temperature butter and vanilla, stir until smooth, thick and incorporated.

Set aside (this can be done several days in advance)

Toast pecans both whole halves and pieces and set aside. Select 25 perfect pecan halves to go on top. Chop the rest finely.

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x9 inch baking pan. Take a sheet of heavy duty foil and fold the edges so that you have an 8 ½ inch strip. Lay the strip down, folded side down into the middle to the pan, smoothing it to the sides. Secure the overhang and grease the foil lightly. This will create a sling to help remove the brownies more easily.

Combine chocolates and butter in a microwave safe bowl. Gently heat till chocolate melted. Stir in the unsweetened cocoa powder

Whisk or sift together the flour and baking powder.

In a larger bowl beat the sugar, salt, vanilla, and eggs until pale. Whisk in the chocolate and blend until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in the flour with a rubber spatula until almost combined but some white streaks show. DO NOT over mix. Add the pecan and stir just until incorporate and no white streaks of flour remain. Do not over mix.

Pour half of the mixture into your pre-prepared pan and smooth. Rewarm your caramel by microwaving it for a few seconds until it is pourable or by immersing the bottom of the pan in hot water. Dribble a quarter cup of the warm caramel over the brownie batter. It does not have to be smooth. Pools and glops of caramel make a nice surprise when bitten into. Add the rest of the brownie batter on top, smoothing so that it is even.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and evenly sprinkle chocolate chips on top of the brownies. Cover with a plate or foil and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Remove cover and evenly spread the melted chocolate chips over the surface until it is smooth. Allow brownies to cool for at least an hour and a half.

Rewarm the caramel until it pours easily. Do not boil. Pour the caramel over the top of the brownies. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or over night.

To server, run a knife around the edges of the pan then remove using the foil sling. Peel the foil off and discard. Cut into 25 pieces, topping each with a toasted pecan half.