2/3 cup pecan halves; coarsely chopped if very large
2 teaspoons butter
heaping 1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
½ cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon salt*
1 3/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar, dark or light
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla; OR 6 drops butter-rum or butterscotch flavor, preferred for best flavor
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2/3 cup butterscotch chips
*If you use salted butter, reduce the salt to ¼ teaspoon.
1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) a 9" x 13" pan.
2) To prepare the pecans: Melt 2 teaspoons butter with a heaping 1/8 teaspoon salt; add pecans, tossing to coat. Bake the nuts in the preheated 350°F oven for 8 to 9 minutes, till they're a rich, golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and turn them out of the pan to cool slightly while you make the brownie batter.
3) In a microwave-proof bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt together the butter and chocolate chips, stirring to melt the chips.
4) Put the espresso powder, salt, brown sugar, baking soda, and flavor in a mixing bowl. Add the chocolate/butter mixture, stirring to combine.
5) Add the eggs, mixing till smooth.
6) Stir in the flour. Then quickly stir in the chips, and toasted pecans. You want to work quickly; stirring the still-warm batter too long will melt the chips.
7) Spoon the thick batter into the prepared pan. Use a spatula (or your wet fingers) to spread it to the edges of the pan, and level it as best you can.
8) Bake the bars for 22 to 25 minutes; the edges will just barely be pulling away from the edges of the pan, and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean.
9) Immediately loosen the brownies from the pan all around the edge, and gently press down the edges; this will help prevent tall edges and a sunken center.
10) Serve warm, or at room temperature. Wrap airtight and store at room temperature.