Here is a true fact about baking: recipes come out “wrong” or go awry or do something weird all the time – even for experienced bakers.
This is true of my own kitchen endeavors (witness Chocolate Toffee Biscotti and Lazy Girl’s Crack Pie just to point you to a few), and I’ve found that the key is to remember that it’s not about my kitchen-competence. It’s not because I’m a failure at baking or an idiot. It’s just how baking goes sometimes. And I can either try the recipe again until I get it “right,” or I can chalk it up as a lost cause and eat the generally tasty results anyway.
These brownies are one of those recipes. In my first attempt, the pretzel crust did not pan out. Ha. (It didn’t come out of the pan very well – get it?). This was probably related to the fact that I used pretzel chips (what I had on hand) rather than the normal pretzels that the recipe called for. The proportion expectation was also confusing – I used approximately 1 ½ cups of pretzel crumbs, when I think she means 1 ½ cups of whole pretzels. Either way, the crust was a bust. But the brownie filling is awesome.
So, a couple weeks later, I attempted the recipe a second time – skipping the crust and going straight for the good stuff. In that iteration, the brownies are outstanding: fudgy, dense, and distinctly Nutella without being overwhelming.
It’s also an interesting and differently messy approach – you make the filling in a saucepan after melting the butter. I like it. Easy to mix by hand, no waiting for butter to soften.
Though I prefer my adaptation of the recipe (without all the extraneous fuss of crust and frosting), I strongly recommend you click on the link to the original recipe on Bakingdom since her photos are incredible. Incredible. I didn’t even try with mine – both because the first attempt was a mess, but also ‘cause I can’t even come close to the glory that are her pictures.
Nutella Brownies (AKA Nutella Pretzel Brownies from Bakingdom)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup nutella hazelnut spread
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8×8 pan with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: cocoa, flour, salt, and baking powder; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Once melted, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the sugar until combined.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and the Nutella.
Whisk in the dry ingredients until combined and pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out relatively clean. The degree of cleanliness will relate to the degree of fudginess – I took mine out with a little bit of batter still on the toothpick.
(The original recipe calls for a much longer baking time, and I ended up with almost burnt edges. Without the crust, it only took 25 mins or so to get deliciously gooey brownies).