These sinfully rich little confections were inspired by a recipe I found years ago on Epicurious.com for Fudgy Brownie Bars. I've made this for years, with the addition of Nutella, vanilla, and whole hazelnuts to the batter, and for the shortbread base I use salted butter to give a sweet-salty contrast. These are always the first thing to go at holiday parties! —Anna Watson Carl
Test Kitchen Notes
The Yellow Table’s Nutella Shortbread Brownies are as decadent as they are delicious. This is an example of the-best-of-both-worlds kind of confection. It's hard to go wrong pairing a dark chocolate hazelnut brownie with salted butter shortbread—the result is a rich amalgam that starts out chewy chocolaty, sings of hazelnut in the middle, and ends with a crisp toffee like cookie. One note: I could not find vanilla in the ingredient list but the teaspoon I added was sufficient. Be sure to use a sharp knife when cutting to ensure that stubborn hazelnuts slice in half – otherwise you can lose a whole chunk out of the next brownie. —gingerroot
Salted Butter Shortbread
light brown sugar
salted butter, cut into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is full of pea-sized lumps.
Sprinkle the mixture into a 13"x9"x2" baking pan and press the mixture evenly into the pan with your hands (or a metal spatula).
Bake on the middle rack for 20 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before adding the brownie layer.
Hazelnut Nutella Brownies
Keep the oven preset at 350°F. Melt the butter and the chocolate in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and beat well with electric beaters (or a whisk). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until thoroughly combined. Add the vanilla and the Nutella and continue beating.
Stir in the flour and the salt, until no streaks remain. Stir in the hazelnuts. Pour the mixture over the shortbread base and smooth the surface with a spatula.
Bake on the middle rack for 35 to 40 minutes or until a tester comes out with moist crumbs attached. (The middle may crack a bit–this is normal.) Cool completely before slicing. Cut into 24 bars and keep in an airtight container at room temperature (or freeze).