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Bourbon Fudge brownies
1 cup sugar
¼ cup + 1 ½ tbsp bourbon (I used Gentleman Jack)
2 tbsp espresso or strong coffee
2 tsp vanilla
3 oz chocolate (I used 2 oz chopped unsweetened + 1 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips)
¾ cup flour
¼ cup cocoa
¼ tsp cinnamon
pinch of cardamom
few grates of nutmeg… and possibly fingernail. Damn microplanes are sharp!
Chop chocolate. Do not forget to do this first and start cooking the butter and sugar because then you will realize that you do not have enough hands to both stir the butter/sugar mixture AND chop the chocolate and if you do not have the chocolate pre-chopped, the mixture might cool down too much and the chocolate won’t melt… so you’ll end up turning off the butter/sugar mixture, chopping the chocolate, then resuming the cooking… and you will feel a bit silly. Preheat oven to 350.
Melt butter and sugar in medium-large saucepan over medium heat. Cook until boiling and let boil stirring regularly for a few minutes until mixture is nice and foamy. At first it will look like the butter and sugar won’t combine, but with a few minutes of boiling and stirring it will be fine. Remove from heat.
Add espresso, ¼ cup bourbon and vanilla. It will bubble furiously, be careful not to let it splash you. The batter will be separated, but the recipe will assure you it will come together. Stir with a spatula for a while, get frustrated, then finally realize that's why the whisk was invented and whisk until it all comes together. Add chocolate and stir until melted. At this point the mixture may be quite hot and you may worry it will cook the eggs, so let it cool for a few minutes, stirring regularly to prevent it from hardening on top. Taste to make sure it’s ok. Taste again, just to be on the safe side. Meanwhile sift together the flour, cocoa and spices in a medium bowl. Taste chocolate mixture again… it might have gone bad in the few minutes you spent on the flour. Contemplate leaving it as is and dipping strawberries in it. Decide that wouldn’t be fair to the people you promised dessert this weekend…
Add eggs to chocolate mixture, beating well after each addition. Add flour and mix well until batter is smooth and shiny and thickened. Pour into prepared 8x8 pan. At this point notice the batter is kind of bubbly. Bang pan against the counter a few times in hopes of removing the bubbles (I did this, but it still ended up having some and cooking unevenly. If yours is bubbly you might want to stir it gently with a spatula to remove the bubbles or bang it against the counter more, or try tapping the side of your pan).
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until top is dry and sides are starting to come away from the pan.Cool for about 10 minutes, then prick all over with a toothpick. Pour extra bourbon over top and tilt to spread it evenly. Probably best eaten the next day (though I didn't actually try right away)
While brownies are baking, decide to make brown sugar shortbread since, well, the oven is on anyway… and they’re pretty quick to make (you should definitely forget they need to bake for 30 minutes)… and you’re obsessed with this shortbread… because it is the best thing ever.
Clean up while shortbread is baking, wishing once again that you had a dish-washing monkey… or that someone was home who you could bribe into cleaning with promises of brownies and shortbread. Realize you meant to leave for work about 5 minutes before shortbread will be done baking. Realize also that you haven’t eaten anything for lunch. Eat some challah and cheese. Pack up some shortbread for coworkers in hopes that it will distract them and they won’t notice you’re later than you said you’d be. Realize you should probably change your (flour-covered) shirt and wash your (chocolate-covered) face. Read new entry on Smitten Kitchen instead. Marvel once again at how cute her baby is. Check the time, swear, and get going!