Coffee Pecan Brownies

October 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

J:  I have a confession to make.  Our usual dessert here in the Nombudsman household is cookie dough — we have a standard recipe (from the Joy of Cooking, of course) memorized and we have each made it so many times that we can probably throw it together in 5 minutes, tops, at this point.  More often than not, we don’t have the patience to bake anything and we just end up nibbling on the dough.  But, the other night, we were feeling a little bored with our standard, so we tried to think of something else we could make.  Something not too complicated but delicious and, of course, chocolatey.

just the ticket

Brownies seemed an obvious choice, particularly because neither of us had made them in ages.  We’d recently made an entrée that involved toasted pecans (don’t worry, it’ll be up soon), and I was still remembering the mouthwatering smell those nuts gave off while they were toasting, so another obvious option presented itself in the form of toasting more pecans and adding them.  And, for the final touch, we threw in some instant coffee, because come on, chocolate, nuts, and coffee?  Match made in heaven.

Coffee Pecan Brownies
(modified from original recipe, found here)
1 c unsalted butter
2 1/4 c sugar
4 large eggs
1 c cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp (approximately) instant coffee — if you have Starbucks Via packets, we just used one of those
1 tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 c roughly chopped toasted pecans

First, preheat your oven to 350.

Toast your pecans in a dry skillet.  This is pretty straightforward — you’ll know about when they’re done by how they smell.  When they’ve got a fragrant, slightly sweet, almost caramel-y scent, you’re good.

scratch and sniff would be really useful here

Set them aside.  In a small saucepan, melt the butter, and when it is melted entirely, add the sugar.  This mixture is just absurd.  Keep heating this, stirring fairly constantly, until it is shiny, but not bubbling, like the picture below.  According to King Arthur Flour, which is where the recipe comes from, this technique dissolves more of the sugar and gives you a shinier top crust for your brownies.

butter and sugar: what can't you do with them?

While this is happening, crack the eggs into a bowl and beat them with all remaining ingredients EXCEPT the flour and pecans.  It might be easier to beat the eggs for a second or two to break the yolks and get them more uniform before you add everything else — we didn’t do this and it was a bit annoying at first to try to incorporate everything.  Beat this mixture until smooth.

ohmygodchocolate

To this mixture, add the melted butter/sugar and whisk in well, until it smooths out again.  This is just obscene.

obscene.

Finally, add the flour and the pecans, incorporate fully, and carefully pour the batter into a lightly greased baking pan.  The recipe called for a 9×13 pan, but we only had an 8×12… so, we just had to endure thicker brownies.  It was torture, really.

ready for baking

Bake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean (depending on how gooey you like your brownies, feel free to adjust this).

Let the brownies cool for a bit, then slice into them, sprinkle with powdered sugar if you like (because really, what harm can a little more sugar do?), and melt into chocolatey goodness.

powdered sugar: unnecessary but delicious

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