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Monday, April 18, 2011

Breakfast Brownies

Brownies...for breakfast? This isn't your Monday morning "starting fresh after an unhealthy weekend" breakfast. No, this is more like your "got home at 3 am, craving some eats before I crash" breakfast. With cream cheese, peanut butter, and bacon, it has at least some elements of breakfast foods, legitimizing its name, or so I've decided.

Although I didn't serve this for breakfast, the friends I shared this decadent dessert with over the weekend had fun analyzing the components of the dish and dubbing it the breakfast brownie. These days, I'm more likely to be waking up closer to 3 am than going to bed at 3 am, but I wouldn't complain about eating this at breakfast, or anytime really!

This isn't the first time I put bacon in a baked good, but I was inspired to try it again when I receive a Foodbuzz email about a contest sponsored by Denny's. The only rule was to include bacon in a recipe but naturally, I found myself concocting dessert recipes in my head. This was the byproduct of my daydreaming: a rich brownie base topped with peanut butter cream cheese frosting, chopped peanuts, and candied bacon.

This "breakfast" dessert is not for the fainthearted...a small slice satisfies even the biggest sweet tooth (and I rarely think that). The contrasting sweet and salty elements provide the best of both worlds. I found the brownie was even better the second day!

Served with a tall glass of cold milk, this breakfast brownie is a grand slam!

One Year Ago: Crispy Tilapia Sandwiches

Breakfast Brownies
*serves 10-12

for the brownie-
-6 tbsp unsalted butter
-2 cups (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
-3 eggs
-1 cup granulated sugar
-1 tbsp instant coffee
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
-1/4 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp salt

for the frosting-
-5 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese, at room temperature
-4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
-2 1/2 cups powdered (confectioners') sugar
-1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

for the candied bacon-
-2 slices smoked bacon
-brown sugar & turbinado sugar (approximately 1-2 tsp of each)

for topping-
-1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

1. To prepare the brownie, grease and flour a 9-inch tart or pie pan. Preheat oven to 350F. Melt the butter in a bowl over simmering water. Add chocolate chips, remove from heat, and stir until smooth and melted. Set aside to cool.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, coffee, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Mix in cooled chocolate. Add flour, baking powder, and salt, mixing just until combined.
3. Pour batter into the pan, baking for 35-40 minutes, until the middle puffs up (the top may crack). Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
4. While the brownie is baking, make the bacon by cooking it in a skillet over medium heat. Once bacon is lightly browned but still flexible, remove bacon from skillet and drain on paper towels. After pouring the fat off of the skillet, return bacon and sprinkle with brown and turbinado sugar. Cook bacon over low heat, turning occasionally until sugar is dissolved and looks to be caramelized on the bacon (8-10 minutes). Remove bacon from skillet and set aside.
5. To make the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter in a medium-sized bowl until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in peanut butter, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until all is combined.
6. Once brownie has cooled, spread frosting atop brownie (there will be some extra frosting). Crumble bacon and sprinkle over the frosting. Top with chopped peanuts.
7. Refrigerate until serving, removing from the fridge approximately 10 minutes before serving.

**This post is my submission to the Foodbuzz and Denny's BACONALIA challenge.
This post is linked to Eat at Home.