A fudgy and decadent chocolate brownie topped with a sweet and crunchy layer of pecan pie is a match made in heaven. To ensure the layers stay distinct when these two classic desserts come together, the brownie is baked first then the nut filling is layered over it and baked again. In the oven, the syrup seeps into the brownies, keeping them moist and rich. Try serving them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
For the brownie layer: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides. Spray the parchment with nonstick cooking spray.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the eggs, cocoa powder, vanilla, salt, baking powder and espresso powder, if using. Beat on medium-low speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the sugar and stir until mostly dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the melted butter mixture to the bowl and mix on medium-low speed until the batter is smooth and shiny, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and carefully add the flour and chocolate chips, mixing until the flour is fully incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the brownie layer is cooked through, 32 to 34 minutes.
For the pecan layer: While the brownie layer is baking, whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, vanilla, salt, eggs and bourbon, if using, in a medium bowl until well combined and the sugar is dissolved. Add the pecans and stir until the nuts are completely coated.
Gently pour the pecan mixture over the baked brownie, using a spoon or small offset spatula to carefully spread all the way to the edges. Bake until the pecan pie layer is golden, set and no longer jiggly, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool completely, about 3 hours, before slicing into 9 squares.
When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)
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