Let me just go ahead and get all the goodies out of the way since it's Christmas and everything. I'll return to real food after the holidays.
These brownies are simply decadent. It took me several tries to get them the way that I imagined they should be in my head, but I think I finally succeeded. They have a strongish coffee flavor in the base that works really well with the salted butterscotch sauce. I poked holes in the brownies too, to let the sauce sink in. Toasted almonds and milk chocolate bits give a crunchy texture to the top.
Here are my notes:
--You could totally leave out or adjust the espresso granules. I think 2 teaspoons give them a good coffee flavor. Or you could use regular instant coffee granules.
--Chill these well before cutting.
--Cut them small. They are SUPER rich and sweet. I would cut them even smaller than what is shown here. Probably the size of a piece of fudge.
--I like dark cocoa powder, but you could use regular.
--You can use regular salt in the the butterscotch sauce, but be careful because it is more potent than sea salt.
Butterscotch Poke Brownies with Toasted Almonds and Toffee Bits
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon fleur de sel or other sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup dark baking cocoa
2 teaspoons instant espresso granules
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup toasted almond slices
1 cup milk chocolate covered toffee bits
Melt 1/2 cup butter in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 cup dark brown sugar, the heavy cream and 1 teaspoon fleur de sel. Whisk until well blended. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for five minutes, whisking often. Remove from heat and stir in two teaspoons vanilla. Let cool completely to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 3/4 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the cocoa and espresso granules until combined. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup sugar and 2/3 cup light brown sugar. Whisk in the eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Stir in the baking powder, salt, and flour, just until combined. Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Spread brownie batter evenly in pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Do not over bake. Let cool completely.
Using the end of a wooden spoon, poke holes in the brownie about 3/4 to 1 inch apart, all over the surface. Measure out 3/4 cup butterscotch sauce and spread over the top of the brownies, pushing into each hole. Heat the remaining butterscotch sauce over low heat. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar until smooth, then quickly spread over the brownies. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and toffee bits. Chill in fridge for at least 2 hours before cutting.