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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Sugar Crusted Brownie Sundaes with Whiskey-Pecan Caramel Sauce
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for the muffin tins
2 cups sugar, plus extra for the muffin tins
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped finely
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 large eggs
2 TBSP vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
About 1 ½ quarts vanilla ice cream
Whiskey Pecan Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)
Brush all but two of the cups of two standard 12-cup muffin tins with melted butter. Spoon about 1 TBSP of sugar into greased cups and shake and tap around to cover the bottom and the sides of the cups completely with a thick coat of sugar. Tap out any excess sugar.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F.
Combine the butter and chocolates in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove from the microwave and stir until completely melted. If the chocolate is not completely melted, continue to microwave for 30 second intervals and stir smooth.
In a large bowl, gently whisk together the eggs, 2 cups sugar, and vanilla just until combined. Stir in the chocolate mixture just until combined. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt over the chocolate mixture and fold in just until combined.
Spoon about ¼ cup of the batter into each of the prepared cups. (If you run out of batter before you fill all the cups, make sure to wipe out the butter and sugar of any empty cups before baking the brownies, as otherwise they will melt and burn and, in general, make a huge mess.)
Bake until the tops of the brownies are firm and a toothpick inserted in the center of a brownie cup comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, 20-25 minutes. Be careful not to over bake. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
When pans are cool enough to handle, run a thing, sharp knife around the edge of the one brownie, then carefully tip it out and catch in your hand. Place the brownie on the wire rack to finish cooling. Continue releasing the brownies, on at a time, form the pans.
Serve slightly warm with ice cream and Whiskey Pecan Caramel Sauce.
Whiskey-Pecan Caramel Sauce
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup of water minus 2 TBSP
2 TBSP whiskey (the original recipe calls for ½ cup of whiskey but that is too much whiskey flavor for me!)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 cups heavy cream
½ tsp salt
1 TBSP vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans (or any nut of your choice)
Combine the sugar, water, whiskey, and lemon juice in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Cook, gently swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and start to turn color. Increase the heat to thigh and boil until th syrup turns a deep amber color, 4 to 5 minutes. Watch carefully, as it can burn quickly.
Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour int the cream and salt. Use a long-handled wooden spoon to carefully stir in the cream, as caramel has a tendency to hiss and splash as the cold cream hits it. Place the pan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the caramel thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. The mixture should be the consistency of very thick cream. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and pecans.
Let boiling sauce cool until it is just warm before serving. To store, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week. To reheat the sauce, microwave, uncovered, for about 1 minutes on high. Stir until smooth.
Source: Adapted from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor
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