Sunday, March 14, 2010

Butterscotch Brownies with Caramelized Cocoa Nibs

I read and own a lot of cookbooks but lately have tried to curb my urge to buy them on a regular basis.  When my friend Meagan gave me a copy of Salty Sweets by Christie Matheson I literally drooled onto the pages. This is a book I'd have bought myself in a heart beat.  75 recipes for sweets dotted with a bit of salt to create that perfect balance I happen to adore when I eat dessert.

I finally had the chance to try it out today and zeroed in on the Butterscotch Brownies.  Also known as "Blondies", these are buttery brown sugar bar cookies, usually filled with chopped nuts and, occasionally, chocolate chips. I've tried many in my time and usually find them cloyingly sweet or way too dry.  I figured this version, with the addition of extra salt, might cut that sweetness a bit, so I gave it a try.

I was making my batch for some no-nut eaters so I turned to the pantry for a crunchy alternative.  I still had a stock of caramelized cocoa nibs and thought they'd make a great substitute-not too sweet with a nice cocoa flavor and crunchy texture.

I followed the recipe using 1 cup of cocoa nibs instead of the chopped nuts and sprinkling the top with a bit of extra salt.  The verdict?  Butterscotchy Goodness!  They're still a bit sweet but not overly so-cut 'em small and you'll be very happy.

( the finished product-they were so yummy)

I'm anxious to try more recipes from the book but what to do next-Butterscotch Caramel Pudding, Kickass Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting, or Salty Sweet S'mores??  Tori tried the Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Butterscotch Icing from the book cover and they look amazing too.

Butterscotch Brownies with Caramelized Cocoa Nibs 
"Excerpted from Salty Sweets, by Christie Matheson. (c) 2009, used by permission from The Harvard Common Press. "

2 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp fine sea salt, divided
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
10 tbs butter, melted
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup caramelized cocoa nibs (or chopped toasted nuts)
pinch of coarse sea salt, optional

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Butter and lightly flour a 13 x 9 glass baking dish.

Combine the flour, 3/4 tsp of the salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together the brown sugar and remaining 1/2 tsp of salt until well combined.  Add the melted butter and whisk until well blended.  Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk well.  

Slowly add the flour mixture to the bowl, whisking until it's just incorporated.  Fold in the cocoa nibs.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan evenly and sprinkle with the pinch of coarse sea salt, if using.   Bake until the batter is completely set and the edges just begin to brown, about 30 minutes.  A toothpick should come out of the center with some moist crumbs on not overbake.  

Let the brownies cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes then transfer the pan to the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes-this will help the cookies set before cutting them.  Cut the brownies into squares and serve.  They will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature or up to 1 month int he freezer. 


1 comment:

Amelia PS said...

ohhhh!!! I love salty-sweet. How I would love a bite of these delectable bites. I imagine the crunch from the nibs is intoxicatingly yummy. m-m-m

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