When I signed up for my subscription with Better Homes & Gardens, I was emailed a copy of their best desserts (all with pictures to go along with the recipes!). This is the first one I tried, and it turned out beautifully. Not only does it taste great, but it looks a good, too. Normally I don't like recipes that require blind baking (I don't want to wait that long!), but this did not end up being too difficult or time consuming. The shortbread layer bakes on its own (just very lightly browned) for eight minutes, giving me precisely enough time to prepare the brownie portion of the recipe. The mix of textures is my favorite part of this dessert. The edges are particularly good (super chewy and crispy all in the same bite)! I fully intend to bake just the brownies or just the shortbread on its own since both portions are so tasty.
1 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄4 cup packed brown sugar
1⁄2 cup butter
3⁄4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate pieces
1 1⁄3 cups granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄3 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9×2-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan. Set pan aside.
For crust, in a medium bowl stir together 1 cup of the flour and the brown sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the 1/2 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1/4 cup of the chocolate pieces. Press mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake
for 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl stir together the remaining 3/4 cup flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, the 1/3 cup melted butter, and vanilla; beat by hand until smooth. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate pieces. Carefully spread mixture over crust.
Bake for 40 minutes more. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Use the foil to lift brownies from pan. Cut into bars.
Yields 16 servings.