My ancestors would be appalled. In a recipe that clearly calls for Irish whisky I´m using, gasp, Scottish whisky. What can I say? It was all I had. Red Label.
As most bakers at some point or another, I set out to find the best brownie ever. That was many years ago and, having discovered that amazon shipped to Buenos Aires (a life-altering moment, cookwise), had piled up a great deal books by then.
This was before food blogging started. I made them all, everybody´s best, best-ever, definite, outrageous. For a long time I declared Nancy Silverton´s brownies the best of them all. They still hold a place high up in my brownie ladder.
My current project is to bake brownies with added ingredients, besides caramel. There are enough of those everywhere. That´s how these bars came to be. Funny I should start with these, considering they remind me of a chocolate bar, with lilac wrap, very British, that I used to hate when I was young.
I thought raisins and chocolate were a bad, bad idea.
Well, it goes to show how I´ve matured along the years.
Or my taste buds developed. I have to go with the former.
Or with St. Patrick´s day spirit and the whiskey.
BROWNIES WITH IRISH WHISKEY AND RAISINS
barely adapted from Pastries from the
La Brea Bakery, by Nancy Silverton
Makes between 9 and 12 squares.
This recipe can be halved. Use a 8x11-inch (20x30 cm) pan.
1 cup (140g) walnuts
8 oz/1 cup (225g) unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups whiskey
1 ½ cups raisins
2 cups granulated sugar
4 extra-large eggs
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 ¼ cups (320g) unbleached all-purpose or pastry flour
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting (optional)
Preheat oven to 325ºF/170ºC degrees.
Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Shake the pan halfway through to ensure that the nuts toast evenly. Set aside while they cool.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC degrees. Lightly spray or butter a 11x17-inch (28x43cm) rectangular pan. Line it with aluminum foil that hangs over the two longer sides. That way it will be easy to lift the foil and take the baked brownies out of the pan before cutting.
Melt the chocolate and butter together, in the microwave or over boiling water (be careful water doesn´t touch bowl).
In a small saucepan over low heat, heat 1 cup of the whiskey with the raisins, stirring constantly to prevent the liquid from burning the sides of the pan. Cook until the liquid is bubbly and reduced, about 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or a hand-held electric mixer), beat the sugar, eggs and salt until thick and mousselike, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the flour in three batches, turning the mixer off before each addition and mixing on low until combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the melted chocolate mixture. Stir in the raisin mixture, walnuts, and remaining ¼ cup whiskey.
Pour into the prepared pan and spread to an even thickness.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until firm to the touch.
Cool and refrigerate. Before serving, cut into squares. If desired, sift a fine layer of cocoa powder over the surface, brushing off the excess cocoa for a velvety finish.