Monday, March 29, 2010

Caramel-Hazelnut Brownies

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 2/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups butter, melted
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 14-ounce package vanilla caramels, unwrapped
2 T milk
1 cup toasted hazelnuts*, chopped
2 T hazelnut liqueur
2 cups dark or bittersweet chocolate pieces

*To toast hazelnuts:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread nuts in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until nuts are light golden brown, stirring once or twice. Wrap warm nuts in a clean kitchen towel. Rub nuts in towel to remove any loose skins; cool.

Preparing the brownies:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13 x 9 by 2-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over edges of pan. Generously grease foil; set aside. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In an extra-large bowl combine sugar and melted butter. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until well mixed. Beat in eggs and vanill until combined. Add flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (batter will be thick). Spread batter evenly in prepared baking pan.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine caramels and milk. Microwave on 100 power for 1 1/4 to 2 minutes or until caramels are melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in 1/2 cup of the hazelnuts and the liqueur. Drizzle caramel mixture over batter in pan.

Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Immediately sprinkle with chocolate pieces. Let stand about 2 minutes or until chocolate is softened. Spread chocolate over brownies. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup hazelnuts.

Cool in pan on a wire rack. If necessary, chill until chocolate is set. Using edges of foil, lift uncut brownies out of pan. Cut into bars.

Makes 36 brownies.

Store in a single layer in an airtight container, cover. In refrigerator for up to 3 days.


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