February 5, 2012

Sweet & Salty Nutella Brownies

Pin It

As a native Jersey girl, let me offer you the obligatory "Go Giants." I'm not actually a football fan (I watch the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet in between the commercial breaks) but the Giants are from New Jersey...

What's that, you say? The Giants are from New York? Haha, you're so adorable when you believe stuff like that. The Meadowlands are in New Jersey.

...and I'm always up for showing some Jersey pride. So let's go Blue, and all of that.

Now for the important thing happening today: it's World Nutella Day! And I have just the thing to celebrate: Sweet & Salty Nutella Brownies! I got the idea for these while munching on pretzels and Nutella. I wanted to make brownies and I thought Nutella brownies sounded delish.

But Nutella brownies have been done to death, I thought, crunching on my pretzels. I need to do something different. Munch, munch, munch. Something that maybe hasn't been thought of. Crunch, crunch, crunch. But it has to go well with the Nutella. Om nom nom.

I looked down at the jar of Nutella in one hand and the bag of pretzels in the other. Eureka! I decided I would make a pretzel crust for the brownies. Which turned out to be an awesome idea because I'm now in love with this crust. Srsly. It's totally awesome. I want to have it's little pie crust babies.

It doesn't hurt that it's super simple to make, too. Just three ingredients: pretzels, brown sugar, and melted butter. You'll want to pulverize the pretzels in a food processor a few times to get an even crumb out of it. You don't need the pieces too small, but small enough to press together into the baking dish.
This is my little cooking supervisor, Jake. Jake does not like when I make this crust because the food processor freaks him out. He's not allowed on the table, but he'll put his chin on it and watch me closely. Then, when he thinks he can get away with it, he tries to get on to the table to investigate the food processor. He's never as stealthy as he thinks he is.
Once you've successfully shooed the furry menace, combine the three ingredients in a big mixing bowl, and press into the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish. Let it come up the sides. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes, then let cool completely

While that's cooling, move on to the brownie batter.
Flour, butter, brown sugar, eggs, Nutella, vanilla extract and chocolate chips. Mix it all up and you get:
Nutella brownies! (Okay, so I was a little lazy this week and I didn't take step-by-step photos. Hey, you get Nutella brownies, what more do you want, eh?) I decorated them with some more pretzels and some Valentines M&Ms. Why Valentines M&Ms? Why not more chocolate chips? Because who wouldn't want a chewy Nutella brownie with a yummy pretzel crust for Valentine's Day? C'mon.
Would you look at that? Chewy brownie with a hint of hazelnut, crunchy pretzel crust, pretty little festive candies, the sweet and the salty balancing each other out. These brownies are yumtastic if I do say so myself. And I'm pretty qualified; I ate the majority of the 2 batches I made testing this recipe all by my lonesome. Yum.
Happy World Nutella Day! And enjoy watching your little game while I watch puppies cavorting. *Snorts* New York. Some people will believe anything.

Sweet & Salty Nutella Brownies {Printable Version}
Yield: 15 brownies

For the crust:
2 cups pulverized pretzel crumbs
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup butter, melted

For the brownies:
2 ½ cups flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 ¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 cup Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)
½ cup butter, softened
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk chocolate chips, or chopped hazelnuts

Prepare the crust: Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, mix together pretzel crumbs, butter, and brown sugar. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9 x 13” baking pan, allowing it to come up the sides. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes. Let cool completely

For the brownies: In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and Nutella at medium speed until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla extract, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture and mix until well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spread the batter evenly over the prepared crust and bake 30 minutes at 350°, or until the brownies are firm to the touch. Let cool on a wire rack before cutting.

Recipe by Kim