For the Pralines:
1 1/2 cups pecans (5 ounces)
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Brownies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups finely chopped dark chocolate
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, until golden. (Leave oven on.)
In a medium saucepan, combine both sugars with the butter and cream and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture registers 230 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 8 minutes. Stir in the toasted pecans and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 240 degrees. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Let the mixture cool down to 210 degrees. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until it stiffens and looks cloudy. Scrape the praline onto a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Spread in an even layer and let cool. Transfer the praline to a work surface and coarsely chop.
Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with baking spray. In a bowl, sift the flour with the cocoa powder and granulated sugar. In a medium saucepan set over another saucepan of gently simmering water, melt the butter with the chocolate, stirring until smooth, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the eggs with
the light brown sugar and salt at medium speed for 2 minutes. Beat in the dry ingredients scraping down the side and bottom of the bowl. With the mixer on, drizzle in the chocolate mixture and beat at low speed until well combined. Fold in the chopped praline. Scrape the brownie batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes up clean. Cool completely before cutting into bars.
Jan's Note for a simpler option! Make your favorite boxed brownie mixture. Prepare according to package instructions. Add chopped pralines. Follow pan size and oven temperature according to package instructions.