Bourbon is an American whiskey distilled from corn mash, malt, and rye and aged in oak barrels, which give it a distinctive flavor. It’s a bit strong on its own for my tastes, but it actually goes extremely well with other flavors. For instance, it goes very well with toasted nuts, which work well with the oak flavors in the whiskey, and it makes a very nice pairing with both dark and milk chocolate, where it cuts some of the intensity and brings out some of the more subtle flavors in the chocolate.
I used a little bourbon in this recipe for Bourbon Brownies with Sea Salt to give a good chocolate recipe a more grown-up spin. The bourbon doesn’t dominate, but it does give them a hint of oakiness that you definitely wouldn’t get without it. There isn’t enough in the brownies to require a designated driver after eating them, although they do pair very well with bourbon drinks if you are so inclined. The brownies have a great chocolate flavor and a nice chewiness to them, without being too “wet” or overly rich. They use both dark chocolate and cocoa powder to get a balanced chocolate flavor. I topped them off with a sprinkle of salt as a finishing touch.
You don’t need to top these brownies with a sprinkling of sea salt (or other coarse salt) if you don’t want to or don’t have any coarse salt on hand, but it adds a nice bit of contrast to the chocolate in the brownies and helps to highlight the flavor of the bourbon just a bit. You can use any kind of bourbon – by which I mean whiskey and not bourbon vanilla, which is just a type of vanilla – in this recipe. I used Maker’s Mark, but just about anything will be good. If you don’t want to use the bourbon then you’re just making plain fudgy brownies, and I recommend checking out this recipe and maybe adding some chocolate chips to up the chocolate flavor and make up for the lack of booze.
The corner piece from a batch of brownies is a sought-after piece. The edges are firmer and chewier than the center of the brownies, so they not only have a good texture to them, but they present a welcome contrast to a very fudgy brownie. Not everyone likes the corner pieces, just as not everyone likes the center pieces, but those who do often lament that brownies do not have more edges. Wilton’s Bar Pan is a pan for everyone out there who likes the corner piece because it is designed to bake square bar cookies or brownies with a very high corner-to-center ratio. Each of the square cavities is about 1.5 inches deep and has slightly rounded corners, which gives anything you bake in it a nice look and also helps to ensure that nothing sticks in the pan. The heavy duty pan does have a nonstick finish, which helps make it easy to pop out brownies once they’re done baking.
Baking directly in the pan will give you the best, crispiest edges on your bars, but you can use square muffin wrappers in it if you prefer not to bake directly in the pan or just want ensure that it is as easy as possible to get your baked goods in and out of the pan.
When I think of combining sweet and savory flavors in a dessert, I usually think about increasing the salt so that there is more of a contrast with sweet ingredients like sugar, caramel or chocolate in a recipe. I don’t usually think about adding pepper to make things even more savory, but I recently tried some Organic Stone Ground Salt and Pepper Dark Chocolate from Trader Joe’s and was very pleased (and surprised) at how well all of the flavors came together. I liked it so much that I was inspired to use it as the base for a little baking, and I featured it in these Salt and Pepper Brownie Bites.
The bite sized brownies are baked in a mini muffin pan, making them a perfect one bite snack. They’re slightly fudgy (small brownies are rarely as fudgy as full sized ones) and very tender, so they quickly start to melt in your mouth as you bite into them. They have a good dark chocolate flavor – and they also have a hint of salt and spice to them. Don’t worry: the salt and black pepper notes in these are mild and they don’t overwhelm the chocolate. Instead, the salt adds a nice contrast to the sweet brownie batter and the pepper adds a little kick that makes the dark chocolate seem more complex. I added a few grains of coarse kosher salt to the tops of my brownies to highlight that sweet-savory contrast a bit more, as well.
The chocolate I used to make my brownies already had a distinct salt and pepper flavor, since I used salt and pepper chocolate from Trader Joe’s. If you don’t have this particular chocolate on hand, you can easily the effect by using regular dark chocolate and doubling the amount of salt and pepper given in the recipe below (increasing each to 1/2 tsp). I wouldn’t skip the sprinkle of salt on the top of these brownie bites, even if you’re hesitant about the pepper, since those few grains of salt will make your mouth start to water right away and will make the brownies that much more addictive.
If you want to bake a full batch of these, the batter can also be poured into an 8×8-inch baking pan and baked for 30-35 minutes, following the directions for my Fudgy One Bowl Brownies.
I think that everyone should have one go-to brownie recipe. This One Bowl Brownie recipe is mine. The recipe takes just a few minutes to put together and I typically have everything that I need to make it on hand at any given time. Brownies are a huge crowd pleaser, so they’re perfect for almost every situation when you need or want a baked good. Plus, you can put any number of spins on the basic recipe by adding nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, frosting or ice cream to it, which means that it never gets boring.
The brownie recipe is very straightforward, using cocoa powder and dark chocolate to give them a rich chocolate flavor. I’ve seen brownie recipes that have a lot more chocolate in them than these do, but believe me when I say that you get a lot of chocolate into every bite with these. Sometimes, I find that adding more chocolate can just make the brownies heavy and more like a block of fudge than an actual brownie. And, for those times when I am really craving chocolate, I can always stir in some chocolate chips for even more chocolate in these. There is no leavening in the recipe, which keeps the brownies dense and moist.
To me, a one bowl recipe means that everything can be measured out straight into one bowl and easily mixed together. These brownies definitely fit that definition and I frequently measure things out directly into the mixing bowl. Plus, you don’t even need a mixer for this recipe because it comes together fast with a simple whisk or spoon. In fairness, if you don’t have a microwave-safe mixing bowl, then you should melt your butter and chocolate together in a smaller microwave-safe bowl first. This adds a second bowl if you need to do it, but fortunately small bowls always seem easier to clean than the big ones, so it won’t make much of a mess.
To demonstrate just how easy to make these are, I even put together a short video that will walk you through the process:
Lemon and dark chocolate may not always sound like a match made in heaven, but the two flavors are a surprisingly good combination. The bright and tart flavor of the lemon really highlights the richness of chocolate by contrasting with it. You get a lot of chocolate flavor, and a much more refreshing finish from the lemon. Of course, both lemon and dark chocolate are strong flavors, and you need to balance them to get a good mix in the finished product. Sometimes this means adding just a hint of chocolate to a lemon dessert. In this case, it means giving a hint of lemon to a chocolate dessert in these Lemon and Dark Chocolate Brownies.
This recipe definitely delivers a rich chocolate brownie with a pop of lemon to it. I used a favorite recipe for Chocolate Mint Sticks as the inspiration for these brownies, as that recipe introduces mint in a subtle way and seemed like the perfect fit for a lemon twist. The brownies have a fudgy dark chocolate base and they’re topped with a very thin layer of lemon icing, made with fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. They’re finished with a very thin drizzle of chocolate glaze, which really serves to drive home the chocolate flavor and is also a nice way to temper the sweetness of the icing.
The brownies are baked and cooled, before being spread with the lemon icing. The iced brownies should spend a few minutes in the refrigerator to set the frosting, before the chocolate glaze is added to finish them, too. The brownies can then sit at room temperature until the glaze sets up – but it is much quicker to pop them into the fridge or freezer for a few minutes (especially on a hot day!) to make slicing easier and neater. I think that fresh lemon juice and zest is going to deliver the most refreshing lemon flavor for this frosting, but you can substitute milk for the lemon juice and use lemon extract to add lemon flavor. +Continue Reading