I can’t sew. I can barely thread a needle. I would like to be able to sew, but it turns out that I have neither the patience or ability. Really, in this day and age, I do not need to be able to sew. But there is one time that it would come in handy. My husband’s uniforms. Every now and again, a patch needs to be sewn on a flight suit (my husband is a pilot in the USCG). Instead of even bothering to ask me to do it, he turns to an unlikely source. The rescue swimmers. Have you ever seen the movie The Guardian? Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher? Well, parts of that movie were filmed where we lived in Elizabeth City, NC. Rescue swimmers are brave, courageous, and as it turns out, amazing sewers. Not to mention the highlight of the Christmas party every year. There was a time when the payment for some sewing was beer. Now that people have caught on that I tend to bake a lot, they send very specific requests. This Caramel Pecan Brownie was made for Mac, he would like me to mention him in this blog post and remind people that he is a true Guardian. Are we square now?
This brownie recipe is really delicious on its own, but the addition of the caramel frosting and pecans bring it to a new place. Word of caution though, you need to work quickly with the caramel frosting. It hardens in seconds, so you need to spread it as soon as it is ready.
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate baking bar
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup dark brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
1/2 cup milk
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Toast the pecans in a dry saute pan over medium heat until they are slightly golden brown. Or you can bake the pecans in a single layer in a 350 degree oven for about 6 minutes. Roughly chop and set aside.
Microwave the chocolate and butter on high for 1 minute. Stir and continue to microwave in 30 second intervals until it is completely melted and smooth.
Whisk in the sugar and eggs.
Whisk in the flour and stir until just blended.
Pour the batter into a 9×13 inch pan. I lined mine with parchment paper and sprayed the paper with cooking spray.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes. To make sure they are done, use a toothpick to check. There should be moist crumbs on the toothpick. Cool on a cooling rack.
In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, milk, butter, and salt.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, then lower the heat to medium low and let the mixture simmer for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is slightly thickened. Take the mixture off the heat at let stand for 5 minutes.
Pour the sugar mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer (or you can use electric beaters) and add the powdered sugar and vanilla.
Beat until smooth.
Pour the caramel frosting over the brownies. Work fast, this frosting hardens quickly. Spread it out to the edges. If it starts to harden on you, heat an offset spatula with hot water to help spread it out.
Sprinkle the top with the reserved pecans.
This recipe is adapted from Southern Living, April 2011.