Tuesday, May 26, 2009

TWD: Chipster-Topped Nutty Brownies


I know that there are strict divisions between those for whom nuts are a desecration in their brownies and cookies and those that believe that nuts are necessary for existence. That whole debate expands when you consider whether brownies should be cakey or chewy or fudgey. Oh, and what nuts should you put in if you want them? Should you use chocolate chips or chop up your own irregularly shaped bits? Gah - cocoa powder or unsweetened chocolate when making brownies?


I swear, it's enough to make a poor girl's head spin. Let me get a few things out of the way then. I am not a fan of chocolate chunks in brownies. I use chips in cookies because they're easier. Chewy over fudgey, which trumps cakey by a long shot. And nuts? I like 'em. All of them. Give me pistachios, peanuts, walnuts, and pecans. Let me repeat that. And pecans. Nutty, wonderfully crunchy, toasted just |thisclose| to being burnt.


So when Beth chose Chipster-Topped Brownies, I knew I couldn't just leave well enough alone. Idea after idea rolled through my brain - brownies with PB cups embedded in it, topped with pb cookie batter; dulce de leche swirled into the brownies, topped with a brown sugar cookie with butterscotch chips; brownies with a hefty dose of espresso powder, topped with cookie dough studded with cappuccino chips... But in the end, I stuck with what I had around the kitchen. Whole walnut halves in the brownie batter, cookie dough sprinkled with mini chocolate chips, and an army of pecan halves in the middle. Nuts everywhere. Little bit of chocolate on top, intense chocolate below. Pure awesomeness.


Oh, and my other change? I wasn't really digging the ratio of brownie : cookie that I saw on other blogs when they made these. Not to mention that really?!? 3 1/2 sticks of butter?!? *ahem* So I changed it up. I baked in an 8x8" pan, using a quarter of the brownie batter and a half recipe of the cookie dough. Baked for 40 minutes, they were just perfect. And then were promptly wrapped up and sent back to Madison with the boyfriend. Those things are dangerous!



Last Week: Fresh Mango Muffins
Next Week: Cinnamon Squares

51 comments:

Gillian said...

Hi there, so, let's talk... 'cause I'm living in Argentina, and while pb is a scarce commodity, dulce de leche is a natural resource. Help a brownie-craving girl out, por favor... I'm at gilliang[at]gmail.com, should you be feeling a bit of international love. :-)

Marie said...

Oh gosh....those look fabulous!! Lucky you to have a boyfriend to send them home with. I would not dare to have them in my home.

Lien said...

Oh that's totally yummy!!

Marthe said...

I love that you left the pecans whole and put them between the brownies and cookie batter!! It looks really good!

Manggy said...

Honestly, I don't think I've ever met a brownie recipe I didn't like (though I have encountered some store-bought ones that... hmm, a story for another time). Maybe I'm just not that fastidious, but also because I'm very appreciative of the amount of chocolatey goodness that goes into a pan. This looks like it would be off the charts! Yum! :)

Amanda said...

They look absolutely picture perfect wonderful! I wasn't sure how impressed I was with this recipe until they sat overnight. Very tasty!

NaTy said...

great job! i also gasped with the large amount of butter :)
heart clogging and all, these were yummy!
erin@glutenfreewithapurpose

Jacque said...

Wow, looks like yours turned out beyond perfect! Good call, cutting down the brownie layer. That was a lot of brownie, even before adding the CCC topping.

Nice work!

Madam Chow said...

I agree with you on the ratio (and the nuts) - great job, Caitlin!

Pamela said...

Those are fantastic, Caitlin! I love the pecans in the middle were a really wonderful addition. You were smart to get rid of them, too. Very dangerous!

Teanna DiMicco said...

That is the exact ratio that I used! I was like NO WAY am I using 3 1/2 sticks of butter right now! LOVE your pecan layer... I knew you'd make this into pure perfection!

berrybushel said...

Those look amazing--I'm really loving the higher cookie to brownie ratio! And I'm feeling culinarily inspired by all of your alternative ides...

Bridget said...

Ah, see, I can go either way on nuts in my brownies, depending on my mood. But I'm definitely against nuts in chocolate chip cookies.

Beryl said...

I used the 8inch pan and halved both recipes. No nuts for me but I love the pecan halves in yours.

Y said...

I like nuts in brownies too. This sounds utterly ridiculous. Ridiculously tasty!!

Judy said...

Terrific variation! I love the whole nut layer. At least you can nicely send the temptation away.

Jules Someone said...

I actually put nuts in mine, which I used to think was wrong. They were tasty. Nice job.

Karen said...

mmmmm. All of those different combinations sound delicious! These were dangerous weren't they?

Banjo said...

They look lovely of course... well done!

Anne said...

Yours look a lot more like I envisioned them- awesome job Caitlin! (I think I just needed to be more engineer brained to make this work, maybe next time!)

Lillian said...

I like your proportions much better than the recipe's -- the cookie layer wasn't nearly thick enough for my taste. And yours looks so neat -- mine cracked and fell apart. And the pecans? Brilliant touch!

chocolatechic said...

Lots of chocolate.

No nuts.

Fudgie brownies.


Uncooked TWD recipe.

Di said...

I'm not a big fan of nuts *in* brownies, but I love your idea of sandwiching the pecans between the two layers. Plus pecans with chocolate is an awesome combo. I'm seriously thinking some of my brownies (8" pan here, too) need to go to the daycare this afternoon before I eat them all...

Nancy/n.o.e said...

I used to be anti-nuts-in-brownies, but I say if you add them, do it boldly! Love your nut halves - perfect cross section, btw!

Clivia said...

Wow. Walnuts and pecans. You are evil and wonderful. Don't forget that other debate - ice cream or whipped cream.

pinkstripes said...

For some reason I didn't notice all the butter. Maybe I'm immune to it now that i've been Dorie-fied. I think because I looked at as two separate recipes baked together.

I love all nuts and nuts in everything. Love the pecan layer. Your brownies look perfect.

lasinthekitchen said...

That's a great adaption of the Chipster-Topped Brownies - especially the addition of the toasted pecans between the layers! Looks wonderful!

dharmagirl said...

brilliant touch to layer pecans on top of the brownies and under the cookies:) delicious!!!

Katrina said...

Woah! I LOVE nuts, too and I love the way you've lined up the pecans in between the layers. Yep, these are a little too dangerous! I served them to company last night and most of them are gone!

Kayte said...

Oh, that looks so amazing with those nuts in there...how beautiful is that? Mark would love it that way, next time, I am doing that...and there will be a next time very soon as they were such a hit here. Yours are very lovely.

Tammy said...

they look wonderful! it was certainly a recipe with lots of room for experimentation

Erin said...

These look delicious! I am also a fan of nuts in brownies :)

What's for Supper? said...

Dangerous indeed. Yours look great though.

Jamie said...

yum yum...yours look delicious!!!

Deeba @Passionate About Baking said...

Just awesome. I love the choices, the dilemmas 7 the butter in baking. How much is too much...7 then this indulgent brownie cookie. YUM...well worth every crumb!

Leslie said...

Great way to change up the recipe and make it better! I also love pecans that are extra toasted and slivered almonds are great that way, too.

Cakelaw said...

I like your army of pecans - I enjoy nuts in brownies myself. I do know what you mean about them being dangerous - all that butter and chocolate - delicious but evil!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

i'd say your tweaks made these just right! instead of sending them to madison, you can send them to NY next time! :)

spike. said...

I love the pecans all lined up!

Jessica said...

Those brownies look delish. I really like the way you modified the ratio of brownie to cookie for your recipe. I'm definitely making a note so that I can remember to try that next time.

TeaLady said...

I love the layer of pecans in the middle. Fantastic.

I like mine with nuts, chewy, gooey.

Jaime said...

i'm in the no-nut camp! they look so thick and chunky!

PheMom said...

Oh my! You have seriously got me going with all your ideas for modifying the recipe! Yours look fantastic (mmmmm.... pecans!)

Tracey said...

Yeah, this recipe had an insane amount of butter. It made me think twice about making the whole recipe. Your brownies look terrific! I wasn't so lucky with mine. The cookie dough sank into the brownie batter.

Lynnylu said...

Your layers look very pretty. I agree there was too much brownie, but my husband thought they were great.

Cathy said...

Looks like you knocked this one out of the park! I had all kinds of trouble, plus there was the 3.5 stick of butter issue to contend with. I think next time I make these I'll visit here first!

The Food Librarian said...

This is crazy pretty. I love how engineeringly you placed those nuts. :)

Elyse said...

Whoa--those were some awesome ideas you had for this week's TWD. I love what you ended up doing--a nut extravaganza! I'm usually a purist when it comes to my brownies (okay, chocolate chunks are fine by me), but I would never reject a nut-studded brownie. Now, that being said, I must say, your brownies sound so darn delicious that I might just have to throw some toasted walnuts and pecans into my next brownie bake!

pigpigscorner said...

My hubs will go crazy over this! He loves nuts in his brownies.

April said...

The possibilities are endless with these, so many choices. And they are very dangerous, the amount of butter is pratically lethal. I really like your layer of pecans!

Jen said...

I just wanted to let you know that I have had these on my top 10 list for a while now. I finally made them. Check them out: http://www.beantownbaker.com/2009/07/chipster-topped-brownies.html