Heart of Darkness


Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to bake a recipe called Heart of Darkness Brownies? Especially when they’re chock-full of Snickers and chocolate chips, then topped with caramel-drizzled marshmallows? Jill O’Conner is my girl. She’s the author Sticky Chewy Messy Gooey, and it’s one of the best over-the-top dessert cookbooks out there. BUY IT!! Not only are the recipes new, inventive, and downright sinful, but the art direction is amazing.  I look at food photography and art layouts so much differently now that I work for a food magazine, and the book is just so visually pleasing to read. If my house looked like a book, I think it’d look like this one. Anyway, enough of that, here’s Jill’s great recipe.

(Because most things are cuter in miniature, I baked some in a mini muffin pan.)


Makes 24 brownie cups


  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup very coarsely chopped raw almonds or pecans, toasted
  •  1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 5 full-size (2.07 ounces each) Snickers Candy Bars, cut into small chunks
  • 3 cups mini marshmallows

For the Caramel Drizzle:

  • 6 ounces (about 25) unwrapped caramel candies
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Spray two standard 12-cup muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.

Melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and stir until smooth.  Pour the chocolate mixture into a bowl and stir in the sugars, eggs and vanilla.  Sift the flour and salt into the chocolate mixture and stir just until combined.  Stir in the cooled chopped nuts, chocolate chips, and chunks of candy bar.

Fill each cupcake cup halfway with batter.  Bake until the surface of the brownies has a glossy, crackled surface, about 20 minutes.  Remove the brownies from the oven and top each one with 1/4 cup of the mini marshmallows.  Return the brownies to the oven and cook until the marshmallows start the melt and puff up a bit, but not browned too much, about 2 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool just enough to handle, then remove from the cupcake cups, running a knife around the edge of each brownie to loosen it from the cup.  Let cool completely on the wire rack.

While the brownies are cooling, make the caramel drizzle.  Combine the caramels, cream, vanilla, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave, uncovered, on high for 1 minute.  Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth.  If the caramels are not completely melted, continue heating in 30-second increments, stirring until smooth.

Drizzle the brownies with melted caramel and let cool completely for the caramel to harden.  Do not chill.  Serve immediately or store for up to 3 days in a covered container.



9 thoughts on “Heart of Darkness

  1. I didn’t know she had a dessert book! I’ve read her Sweet Potato Queens series, I have made her “chocolate stuff” so many times, can’t wait to see these recipes.

  2. I seriously went out to check out, Sticky Chewy Messy Gooey, because of this blog post. Now I’m excited to try out some of the recipes!

  3. I recently borrowed this book from the library, and contrary to the adage, I judged it by its cover, and I don’t regret it one bit! This is definitely on my to-do list, along with her ‘All-Grown-Up S’mores’ and chocolate chunk-pecan cookies.

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