Boozy Brownies

Gojee.com - this site has me forgetting about anything diet-resolution like and wishing I had a bigger pantry. The coolest thing about this site is that they have a function where you can plug in items you have in your pantry and then the site curates recipes that include the ingredients you have - it's not an exact science, but it's pretty impressive all the same.

Thanks to the fact that I always have chocolate and booze on hand (because all bakers need to have chocolate and booze in their pantry), I plugged in the "ingredients" into the Gojee recipe finder thingamajig and came across a boozy brownie recipe.

Of course, I decided to alter it a little to make it more chocolatey and I substituted brandy for whiskey, as that's what I had on hand at the moment.

Boozy Brownies (modified recipe)

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
4 oz of 60% Callebaut chocolate, chopped up
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup of stout (I used Murphy's here - but any stout beer will do)
3 tablespoons of brandy
3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degs F. If you're using a regular brownie pan, butter it and dust it with cocoa powder. I used a non-stick pan here and just buttered it for good measure. I also used a standard brownie pan, 9x12 inches.

Melt the butter over low heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until completely melted and incorporated with the butter. Remove from heat and add the sugar - granulated and dark brown - mixing well. Set aside to cool a bit until it reaches lukewarm or room temperature.

In a larger mixing bowl, beat together egg yolks, eggs, vanilla stout and brandy until smooth. Sift into the mixture flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine - try not to over mix it.

Add the chocolate + sugar mixture to the flour/egg/booze mixture, folding to combine until all is incorporated. Add the chocolate chips, fold into the final mixture.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Cool, cut and enjoy! I like it with cold milk.

Caramel Apple...Tarte Tatin

I've always wanted to make a Tarte Tatin - it's a simple enough recipe, essentially an upside-down apple pie, but somehow it's also more. The beauty of the caramelized apples, arranged in a soft amber patter, the rich pie crust and the fact that it's baked in a skillet (yes, this latter point always fascinated me) makes it an especially special dessert.

I googled my way to a recipe, one that Epicurious was happy to provide - a Tarte Tatin with Brandied Caramel Sauce. First a medley of apples - I used a mix of Granny Smith, Golden Delicious and the last of my Jonagolds - arranging them into a circular pattern.

Next, the brandy caramel sauce - this is what gives the apples that lovely amber color, rich and sweet, yet the tartness of the apples do match up well with it.

Finally, the pie crust goes over the sauced apples, like a blanket, and into the 400 deg F oven it goes for about 55 minutes. (see recipe for more detail)

The tricky part is the flip - I used a large pie plate as my base for the flip so in case anything decided to crumble apart, it was safely ensconced in the pie plate.

This was what I made for Thanksgiving last year  - let's just say I might not be going back to traditional apple pie anytime soon.