Double Rye Brownies

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.

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Double Rye Brownies with Crumb topping
yield 24

Cacao Nibs and Rye
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
2 tablespoons Bulleit Rye

Crumb Topping
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.

Garam Masala & Rye Peach Crisp

Peaches are ripe and at their peak in July and August. Found just about everywhere at this time of year, the heady perfume of locally ripened warm weather stone fruit is intoxicating. Sweet, tree ripe peaches are perfect on their own. “Enriched” with sugar, spice and butter, they’re sublime.

This garam masala scented crisp is sweet, crunchy and complex. Flavors of cinnamon, clove, cardamom, nutmeg, cumin, and black pepper, pair beautifully with the floral, honeyed flavors of ripe peaches. The crispy topping has a terrific bite and adds texture to the soft stewed fruit. Add a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of Three Twins dad’s cardamom ice cream for an easy, laid-back summer dessert.

We’re in the peak of Summer’s hot weather, and now’s the time to get those peach crisps and cobblers into the oven, or grill, before the best of them disappear from the market. That is, if you can stand the heat!

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Garam Masala Peach Crisp
Adapted from: epicurious


1 1/2 cups pecans
3 pounds peaches (about 8 medium)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Ice Cream, for serving

Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until slightly darkened in color, 8–10 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop. Set aside.

To peel the peaches. Prepare an icebath in a medium bowl. Fill a medium sauce pan half way with water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Score the bottom of each peach with an x. Drop a couple of peaches in the water for about 30 seconds. Scoop out with a spoon and immediately place into ice bath. When the peaches are cool enough to handle peel with a knife or fingers. Repeat with the remaining peaches. Once all the peaches are peeled, slice in half and remove the pits. Cut each peach half into thirds, and then half or thirds again. About 1/2″ pieces.

Smear bottom and sides of a 10″ round baking dish with butter. Toss pecans, brown sugar, granulated sugar, garam masala, flour, and salt in a large bowl. Add the peaches and lemon juice, toss some more until incorporated. Transfer to baking dish. Set aside.

To make the topping, whisk flours, brown sugar, garam masala, and salt in a medium bowl. Rub in butter with your fingers until no clumps form and no dry spots remain, like coarse sand.

Bake crisp until topping is golden brown and juices are thick and bubbling around the edges, 25–35 minutes. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or to increase the spice add a scoop of Three Twins dad’s cardamom ice cream.

Do Ahead:
Crisp can be made 1 day ahead. Store lightly covered at room temperature.