Brownies are omni-season treats, perfect for the lunch box as well as the holiday desert buffet. Chocolatey and usually dense and chewy, the brownie comes in as many varieties as there are enthusiasts who bake them. For the originalists, the genesis brownie likely hailed from Chicago and consisted of butter, semisweet chocolate, cake flour, baking powder, eggs, sugar, and crushed walnuts. They were finished with apricot glaze and refrigerated. The brownie was allegedly created at the request of one Mrs. Bertha Palmer who asked the chef of the Palmer House Hotel to make a cake-like treat she and other ladies visiting the Colombian Exhibition could cary with them without getting messy. Considering the time (we’re talking 1890s), Mrs. Palmer and her lady friends likely wore gloves. So it’s hard to imagine a hand-held chocolate brownie with sticky glaze fitting the bill, but who are we to judge?
Our take on the brownie packs a big bold wallop of rye flavor from whisky and flour. We start by soaking cocoa nibs in Bulleit Rye whisky for about a week. The softened cocoa nibs are strained out and used to top off the batter where they retain the delicious, boozy flavor of the rye in spite of the heat of the oven. Rye flour add complexity and deepens the flavor of the dark roasted chocolate. And to guild the lily, we top the brownies with a cocoa crumble before they go into the oven, so every bite has a little crunch.
We use brown sugar and granulated sugar to deepen the brownies’ flavor as they cook and their edges caramelize. Baking brownies individually in mini-muffin or cupcake tins ensures every bite includes both the soft, chewy center of a rich brownie and the crunchy edge that brownies in the center of the pan never develop. They’re also much easier to pick up and eat then those Mrs. Palmer and her lady friends ate.
We served the bites along with Bourbon Apple Blondies (post to come soon) at the 2016 Whiskeyfest in San Francisco at the Bulliet Bourbon Booth. They’re the perfect brownie bite! Or at least we think so.
Double Rye Brownies with Crumb topping
Cacao Nibs and Rye
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
2 tablespoons Bulleit Rye
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup rye flour
1/8 cup cacao nibs, (drained from the cacao nib and rye concoction)
1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
6 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons or less Bulleit Rye, (from cacao nib and Rye concoction)
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60 to 70 percent cocoa), chopped
3/4 cups rye flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cocoa Nib Rye:
Soak cacao nibs in rye for at least a day and up to a week.
Whisk granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, rye flour, cacao nibs, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl until blended. Work in butter with your fingers to form large clumps.there should be no dry spots. Cover and chill.
Do ahead: Crumble can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and sift cocoa over small muffin tins.
Using a double boiler, or in a metal bowl set over a saucepan containing an inch of simmering water (do not let bottom of bowl touch the water), melt the butter and chocolate, stirring with a heatproof rubber spatula. Add the rye whisky and sea salt. Let cool.
In a separate bowl, whisk together rye flour, cocoa, and baking powder.
Using an electric mixer, beat eggs, granulated and brown sugars and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in melted chocolate mixture until smooth. Beat in flour mixture.
Pour batter into prepared mini pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with crumb top and bake until brownies are mostly firm, but with a very slight wobble in the center, about 13-15 minutes. (Note that a tester inserted in the center will not come out clean.) Let cool in pan 3 minutes before removing.
Allow the brownies to cool completely before devouring.