New Orleans Praline Brownies

Happy Mardi Gras everyone! Today is Fat Tuesday and if you’re lucky enough to be in New Orleans today, I’m extremely jealous! ;) But even if you’re not in the Big Easy today, doesn’t mean that we can’t celebrate! The brownies I am bringing you today are absolutely perfect for your Mardi Gras celebration (or any celebration, really!) Chewy, fudgy double chocolate brownies studded with chunks of chocolate and topped with an incredible praline pecan frosting. So rich, so chocolately, so irresistible!

I used my favorite brownie recipe as the base for these addicting brownies, however, feel free to use your own favorite fudgy brownie recipe (just make sure that it’s baked in a 9×13-inch baking dish). Laissez les bon temps rouler! :D

New Orleans Praline Brownies

Yield: 24 brownies

Ingredients:

For the Brownies:
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1 ½ teaspoons instant espresso
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ½ cups sugar
1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon table salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

For the Praline Frosting:
1/2 cup whipping cream
6 tablespoons butter
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×13 inch metal baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up two sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. Place another piece of parchment paper in the same manner, perpendicular to the first sheet. (This will make it easy to remove the bars from the pan after they have baked.) Butter the parchment.
In a large bowl, whisk cocoa, espresso powder, and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. Add eggs, yolks and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in chocolate chunks.
Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 1½ hours.
Using parchment overhang, lift brownies from pan. Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.
To make the frosting, in medium saucepan, combine cream, butter and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Continue cooking 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in pecans, powdered sugar and vanilla. Cool 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Spread frosting over brownies. Allow to stand 30 to 45 minutes, or until frosting is set.

Recipe Notes:
For the chewiest texture, it is important to let the brownies cool thoroughly before cutting.
If your baking dish is glass, cool the brownies 10 minutes, then remove them promptly from the pan (otherwise, the heat retention of glass can lead to overbaking).
Use high-quality chocolate for best results.

Source: adapted from Betty Crocker and Cook's Illustrated's Chewy Brownies, March 2010