The verdict: These brownies are a lot of work, but they are so delicious...definitely more exciting than brownies from a mix! They start off with an ultra-rich layer of brownies full of chocolate chips and crunchy almonds. The brownies are topped with a marshmallow-chocolate nougat, and then mini-marshmallows and more almonds are pressed into the nougat before it cools. A chocolate drizzle is the perfect finishing touch. The finished brownies are a crazy-indulgent dessert. Although the directions say to chill the brownies before cutting into them, I strongly suggest sneaking a square while they are still warm...although it will be messy, you just can't beat gooey, warm brownies!
Once the brownies are cool, I recommend freezing half the batch (unless you're making these for a large event). They're rich enough that you'll want to stick to small portions, and at least for our little household of two, a 9x13 pan was way too much to eat in a week. Just slice into small squares and wrap well. Luckily, these treats freeze well and are just as good defrosted at a later date. Pop them in your lunchbox and they'll be good to go at lunch, or microwave for just 10-15 seconds.
You'd love this cookbook if:
You enjoy making multi-step recipes that are well worth the effort
You have some extra time to bake on the weekend (and a friend to wash dishes)
You want some extra fancy, super impressive brownies for a special event
You are addicted to chocolate and really want to indulge
You love pretty photos of tempting desserts
Skip this one if:
You're having a major brownie craving at 10pm and need a fix right away
You're not in the mood for a big baking project
You're on a budget (these will definitely cost you more than a box of brownie mix and a couple eggs)
Holy Heavenly Hash Brownies (adapted from Extreme Brownies)
Makes one 9x13 pan of very rich brownies
For the brownies:
Spray oil for the pan
2/3 cup roasted and salted whole almonds
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 sticks unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
1 cup 60% cacao chocolate chips
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
For the chocolate nougat:
4 T unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 7.5-ounce jar marshmallow Fluff
1/2 cup 60% cacao chocolate chips
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the topping:
1-1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1/4 cup roasted salted whole almonds
For the chocolate drizzle:
1 T unsalted butter
1 tsp light corn syrup
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp boiling water
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x13 pan with foil. Spray with oil.
2. Make the brownies. Cut the almonds in half (or roughly chop), and place in a small bowl with the semisweet chocolate chips. Set aside.
3. Cut the butter into cubes, and place in a saucepan over medium heat. When it starts to melt, add the unsweetened chocolate and the 60% cacao chocolate chips. Whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs lightly. Add the sugar and salt, and whisk until just incorporated. Briefly mix the melted chocolate mixture, and then whisk into the egg mixture along with the vanilla.
5. Sift the flour and baking powder into the batter, and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Gently fold in the almonds and chocolate chips.
6. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, even out the top, and then bake until a tester comes out clean, about 28 minutes (mine took more like 40 minutes, so test early and often).
7. Once the brownies come out of the oven, start the chocolate nougat. Cut the butter into small pieces, and combine in a saucepan with the sugar and evaporated milk. Cook over medium-low heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves, and then turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and simmer without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
8. Off the heat, vigorously (but carefully - the mixture is very hot!) whisk in the marshmallow Fluff. Add the chocolate chips, salt, and vanilla, and again whisk vigorously until smooth. Pour over the brownies and smooth the top quickly with a rubber spatula.
9. Sprinkle the mini marshmallows and almonds over the nougat and gently press on them so that they adhere.
10. Make the chocolate drizzle. Melt the butter and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula, until melted and smooth. Add the water to thin the sauce, and stir again until smooth. Drizzle over the brownies.
11. Let cool about an hour at room temperature. Then either enjoy warm and gooey (and messy), or pop in the fridge overnight for a neater-looking dessert.
Full disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this cookbook for review purposes, but all opinions and recipe testing are my own.