When I was contemplating what to give, BFF suggested "Those brownies you make" at first, I'd forgotten which ones she was referring to, I make several kinds of brownies, because I like brownies.
She reminded me of the brownies that had all sorts of chunks in them, candy bars, chocolate chips and marshmallows. Heart of Darkness Brownies, they're called. They're a recipe from the book "Sticky, Chewy, Messy Gooey" by Jill O'Connor, my friend Beth gave me for my 30th birthday. And they really are the definition of chewy, messy, gooey and sticky. Caramel drizzled over the top, gooey marshmallows topping them off the decadence never ends. These are so full of stuff, you make them in cupcake tins, because trying to cut and divide them later on would be a disaster nearing impossible levels. [actually, since discovering this recipe, I love making any kind of brownies in cupcake tins, or mini-mufffin tins]
So I baked up a batch, pausing to send N to the store for eggs [short 1] and brown sugar. The recipe says it makes 24, but I easily get 30 out of every batch. After baking and cooling, I needed a cute, personal way to package them, I didn't just want to toss them in a plastic bag, so I grabbed these two round containers I had from a gift of dessert plates and covered them in paper, packed in the brownies and carted them off to school.
All tied up with a pretty ribbon, they were a big hit.
24 30 brownie cups
what you'll need
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup very coarsely chopped raw almonds or pecans, toasted [I omit]
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
5 full-size (2.07 ounces each) Snickers candy bars, cut into small chunks [I use a bag of mini milky way bars instead, to omit the nuts]
3 cups of mini marshmallows
For the caramel drizzle:
6 ounces (about 25) unwrapped caramel candies
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Spray two standard 12-cup muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.
Melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and stir until smooth. Pour the chocolate mixture into a bowl and stir in sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Sift flour and salt into the chocolate mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in the cooled chopped nuts, chocolate chips, and chunks of candy bar.
Fill each cupcake cup halfway with batter. Bake until the surface of the brownies has a glossy, cracked surface, about 20 minutes. Remove the brownies from the oven and top each one with 1/4 cup of the mini marshmallows. Return the brownies to the oven and cook just until the marshmallows start to melt and puff up a bit, but not browned too much, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool just enough to handle, then remove from the cupcake cups, running a knife around the edge of each brownie to loosen it from the cup. Let cool completely on the wire rack.
While the brownies are cooling, make the caramel drizzle: Combine the caramels, cream, vanilla, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. If the caramels are not completely melted, continue heating in 30-second increments, stirring until smooth.
Drizzle the brownies with melted caramel and let cool completely for the caramel to harden. Do not chill. Serve immediately or store for up to 3 days in a covered container.