Why “wicked” for our Wicked Black Magic Brownies? Well…the wicked comes from the bourbon. Trust us. Just wait until you take a whiff of the pan after drizzling on the bourbon. Candles should come in this scent! Why “black magic”? Of course, this comes from the combination of deep, dark, bittersweet chocolate (we have used both Green & Black’s and Callebaut), fine quality unsweetened cocoa (to jack up the chocolate flavor), espresso powder (to enhance the chocolate flavor) and Muscovado or dark brown sugar to really make this brownie rich in flavor and totally take it to “the dark side”.
The first time I had ever come across a recipe for a “boozy brownie” was when friends of ours, when we were living in Lexington, Kentucky, gave us a recipe. I was amazed that the recipe called for a full ¼ cup of good bourbon, poured over an 8-inch pan of hot freshly baked brownies. How novel is that? I was fascinated by this. The brownie recipe itself was decent enough, but not to the level we had become used to for chocolate content. Once you have experienced exceptional brownies made the right way with plenty of good chocolate and real butter, with a fudgy yet ever so slight “cake-like” texture, your taste buds and brain immediately notice what is lacking.
Immediately, I set out to improve upon the recipe as I usually do to achieve what we were after. For our fine Kentucky bourbon (we use Blanton’s but have used Maker’s Mark as well), The Big Lug and I decided that we needed a brownie to hold its own with the bourbon. Furthermore, we wanted a rich brownie chock full of toasted nuts yet a very slight cake-like texture so the brownies would absorb the bourbon well. I added a tiny amount of baking powder and it helped achieve the texture we wanted. Still, I continued to play around with the recipe.
It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that I perfected the recipe. And, as usual, it was Maida Heatter, “The First Lady of Desserts”, to the rescue! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that Maida called for 3 tablespoons of bourbon in her recipe for Bittersweet Chocolate Brownies. And, yes…she poured it immediately over the baked brownies, fresh and piping hot from the oven, just like the Kentucky recipe. In Maida’s recipe, she calls for 8 ounces of chocolate as well. However, she splits it between 2 ounces of unsweetened and 6 ounces of semisweet. Since I go for the bittersweet, I made our recipe 100% bittersweet.
So, what are you waiting for? Venture on over to “the dark side” and whip up a batch of these bad boys, my friends. Our Wicked Black Magic Brownies are definitely dark side of the moon, wicked!
Happy First Day of Fall (tomorrow), Y’all!
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
- Yield: Makes 9 or 16 servings
Why are our Wicked Black Magic Brownies so wicked good? Duh!
- 8 ounces (227 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped;
- ½ cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter, plus extra for baking pan;
- ½ cup (70 grams) all-purpose flour, such as Gold Medal®;
- ¼ cup (28 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted, such as Pernigotti;
- 2 teaspoons (3 grams) instant espresso granules;
- ½ teaspoon (4 grams) kosher salt;
- ¼ teaspoon (1.2 grams) baking powder;
- ¾ cup (150 grams) organic granulated cane sugar;
- ½ cup (106 grams) firmly packed organic Muscovado (or dark brown sugar);
- 2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk (125 grams), slightly beaten & at room temperature;
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, such as Nielsen-Massey®;
- 1½ cups (110 grams) coarsely chopped or broken toasted walnuts or pecans;
- ¼ cup bourbon (or cognac, rum or scotch).
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil by first turning pan upside down. Center a 12-inch piece of foil shiny-side down over the pan. Carefully press down on the sides, folding corners, to shape the foil snugly around pan without tearing. Remove the foil keeping its shape. Place shaped foil into pan and press into place along bottom and sides. With a piece of plastic wrap, grease the foil along bottom and sides of pan with butter softened to room temperature or with melted butter. Set aside.
- In a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan containing shallow water (or in a double boiler), place chocolate and butter. Stir frequently over simmering water until nearly melted. Remove pan from heat; stir until completely melted and smooth. Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, espresso granules, salt and baking powder. Set aside. Once bowl of melted chocolate is cool enough to handle, transfer it to countertop lined with a terry cloth kitchen towel to wipe away the moisture from the steam. Stir in sugars, eggs and vanilla. Gently fold in flour mixture just until blended (do not overmix). Fold in nuts.
- With a rubber spatula, scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs (versus uncooked batter), about 40 minutes. Immediately from the oven, drizzle bourbon evenly over the top of warm brownies. (Don’t worry. The top will dry as it cools.) Cool completely in pan.
- Use the foil on sides of pan to lift brownies out. Peel away foil completely and discard. Chill the brownies in the freezer to make cutting them easier, about 1 hour. Cut brownies into 9 or 16 squares, depending on size of brownies or number of servings desired. Store in airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
To speed the cooling process for the toasted nuts, immediately transfer to plate and place in freezer for 5 to 8 minutes.
For Gluten Free Option: Substitute approximately ½ cup + 1 tablespoon (70 grams) Cup4Cup (C4C) Gluten-Free Flour, available at Williams-Sonoma.
Pernigotti Cocoa is truly an exceptional cocoa and is available at Williams-Sonoma. It is one of our favorites!