Baker Beware: Bourbon Pecan Pie Brownies

DSC_0052I always seem to conveniently forget that I like chocolate. That is, until something like these Bourbon Pecan Pie Brownies are plopped down in front of me in all their rich, gooey glory. In my defense, I usually do prefer other flavors to chocolate if given the option, but lately there’s just something about that rich depth of flavor that’s tough to resist, especially when it’s paired with other flavors and textures to balance it out. Enter: these brownies.

With so many typical fall flavors in this season’s baking queue, I wanted to give y’all a break from the “pumpkin” this and “spice” that for a hot second and switch things up a bit. These definitely feel like fall with their warm, deep, rich flavors and dense texture, but are a great alternative to the overabundance of pumpkin this time of year (not that there is anything wrong with pumpkin, as evidenced by last week’s post as well as some upcoming ones, but no one likes burn-out, especially when there are still six weeks ’til Thanksgiving). As an added bonus, these are also a fresh take on another fall favorite: pecan pie. Now let me warn you, these brownies are not for the faint of heart. They are super rich and decadent and are best washed down with a glass of milk, so you should probably make sure you have some of that on-hand. I’ll give you a second while you double check your fridge.

DSC_0015Ok, so these bad boys start with a dense, fudgy, brownie base. If you like “cakey” brownies, these are not for you. Well – scratch that – these are for you. They’re for everyone. There is no one on Earth that could possibly fail to appreciate these to some extent. But the brownie layer is fudgy, and the chocolate is dark and indulgent. To balance out the richer chocolate flavor, a sweet, gooey pecan pie filling is piled on top of the brownie layer. It has the same taste and texture as regular pecan pie, so it’s the perfect complement. I want to say it “lightens” up the overall effect a little bit, but the topping itself is pretty decadent too so I’m not sure that’s the appropriate word. You’ll just have to try them for yourself and then you’ll understand! These were actually relatively easy to bake, and went exactly according to the recipe.

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These were a huge hit with my coworkers. In fact, their reactions upon hearing “Bourbon Pecan Pie Brownies” were actually pretty comical. If you’re looking for something with a shock factor, you should probably make these immediately. Just the sound of them seems to force jaws to drop. Then when people taste them – well, I promise the anticipation isn’t all for naught. You will definitely have some new friends after baking these. Like I always say, baking facilitates bonding.

And as far as election season goes, baking also facilitates coping. Everyone at work has been enthusiastically welcoming treats lately – more so than usual (which I, of course, love). It tends to help us all better deal with the long hours, and is a no-fail way to perk up a day otherwise filled with mild to moderate insanity. The Pumpkin Spice Monster Cookies and Bourbon Pecan Pie Brownies did just that, and made for some very happy coworkers. I’m all about the positive vibes going into November 4th, so I guess it’s incumbent upon me to keep giving the people what they want. Yeah maybe we’re all getting “election season fat” in the process, but with brownies like these, it’s totally worth it.

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Bourbon Pecan Pie Brownies (from How Sweet It Is)

INGREDIENTS

Brownies:

1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups sugar
10 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

Pecan Pie Topping:

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 cups chopped pecans

INSTRUCTIONS

1. First prepare the brownies. Preheat oven to 325 and line a baking pan with foil, allowing for some excess to hang over the edges on each side (I find that lining the pan with foil makes for much easier removal and slicing once everything is properly set).

Beat eggs and vanilla in a small bowl and set aside. In a double boiler (or in a metal bowl set on top of a sauce pan of simmering water), add butter, cocoa, sugar and salt. Mix until the mixture becomes a batter. This may take around 10 minutes, but once the butter starts to sufficiently melt, the mixture starts to come together like magic. Once incorporated, remove the bowl from heat and whisk in the egg mixture until combined. Finally, stir in the flour until batter is smooth. Pour into the prepared baking pan (I used a 9×9, but the original recipe used a 6×10) and bake for 20 minutes. Cool completely before adding pecan pie topping.

2. Now for this topping. Using an electric mixer, cream sugar and corn syrup until smooth. Add in the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Add melted butter and whiskey, and mix until thoroughly combined. Fold in chopped pecans, then pour evenly over the brownies. Bake for another 30-35 minutes (yes, the whole thing goes back in the oven!), or until the pecan pie topping is set. Cool completely, and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours to fully set.

3. Use excess foil on the sides of the pan to carefully remove the entire brownie from the baking dish (it should come out like one giant, solid brownie block). Slice and enjoy!

Tip: To help get extra clean slices, run your sharp knife under very hot water for 15-20 seconds (and quickly dry!) immediately before slicing. The heat keeps things from sticking to the knife as easily. I do this a few times throughout the whole slicing process. Works great when slicing cakes too!

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