When I first tasted these years ago at Rebecca Rather's former eatery - Rather Sweet - I thanked the dear Lord her restaurant was over an hour and a half from my house. Only distance could keep me from buying and eating these damn bars by the truckload.
They're so rich that after your first bite you're like 'holy sh*t - this is too much. No self respecting person would ever finish one of these.' Only the weird thing is the brownie has already disappeared. Into your stomach.
The problem was I bought her cookbook. And there the little vixens were again staring at me from a glossy photo all cute and wrapped up in wax paper.
It took me years to pull the trigger and make them for two reasons. One - I was afraid they wouldn't live up to my memory of them and two - I was afraid that if they did I'd be in BIG trouble.
They lived up.
The bad news of course is what this means for my backside. And my frontside. All my sides really.
But who cares! It's almost Valentine's Day.
Little sidebar real quick... For years I insisted on cooking on Valentine's Day (in hindsight I believe I was possessed.) Luckily the demon has left me and I now insist on going out to eat. Dirty dishes = UNSEXY TIME. As does making something your husband doesn't even like like filets with artichoke gruyere fondue like last year (he thinks gruyere smells like something I can't repeat on a food blog.)
Like I said I learned my lesson. That said I have no problem with making dessert for Valentine's Day. Particularly one that can be made ahead like these butterscotch brownies.
They truly are the stuff dreams are made of. And wether your spending Valentine's Day with your luva or spending it solo on the couch watching Nashville on DVR (ideally I'll be doing both!) - these bars will ensure it's a happy one.
Rich & Chewy Butterscotch Brownies with the Smooth Criminal Caramel Icing
Makes 2 1/2 dozen (30) 2 x 3-inch bars
* Rebecca uses unsalted butter in both the brownies and the icing. I use salted because I adore the sweet/salty thing when it comes to caramel recipes. It still won't be too salty, IMO.
2 sticks salted butter at room temperature
3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups chopped pecans, toasted (I omit them but it's up to you!)
2 sticks salted butter
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
4 cups confectioners sugar
1/3 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
To make the brownies:
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 13 x 18-inch pan with foil and coat with cooking spray.
- Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium high until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat 1 minute.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture on low speed until incorporated. Stir in the pecans and pour into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake until just set and slightly puffed, 25-30 minutes. Cool completely before icing.
To make the icing:
- Melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan set over medium heat. When the mixture bubbles lightly, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 more minutes. Set aside.
- Using the paddle attachment on the electric mixer, beat the confectioners’ sugar, half-and-half and vanilla on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the melted butter mixture and beat until combined. Pour over the cooled brownies and spread evenly. Allow the brownies to sit at least 30 minutes for the icing to set. Cut into squares.