Double Dark Chocolate Bourbon Brownies are fudge brownies taken up a notch with bourbon bringing its unique subtle flavor to the party. With a soft texture and chewy bite, this is chocolate and bourbon for the win!
Why this recipe works
- This is a soft and fudgy brownie with deep, dark chocolate flavor
- By choosing your favorite bourbon or whiskey, you can subtly change the brownie's flavor profile
- You can reduce the chocolate intensity by using semisweet chocolate instead of dark chocolate
With the Kentucky Derby rolls around, we think of fast horses, fancy hats, and cool Mint Juleps.
Me, I think of food and drink (naturally) – fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, Derby Pie (or Pecan Bars)…and, of course, bourbon.
It was fortuitous then that I acquired two bottles of whiskey from Ken Gordon at Gordons DTX. He was doing a “spring cleaning” at Whisky Wednesday, and I offered to take a couple of nearly-empties off his hands.
As thanks for letting me have them, I promised to bring in Double Dark Chocolate Bourbon Fudge Brownies to share with the group.
When I saw that the two bottles were completely different styles, I decided that the Great Bourbon Brownie Bake-Off Battle was about to begin.
Try saying that 3x fast!
About the bourbon choices
Ironically enough, neither of these two bottles are from Kentucky, and one isn't technically a bourbon. There are specific criteria as to what defines a bourbon.
Clyde May’s Alabama-style whiskey is the official Alabama state whiskey, aged in oak and finished with a hint of apple.
Meanwhile, Berkshire Bourbon Smoke & Peat (from my adopted state of Massachusetts) is straight bourbon whisky aged in oak and finished in Laphroiag and Ardbeg casks, adding a smoky quality to the taste. Here are my tasting notes for both these expressions.
So even though these samples weren’t Kentucky bourbons, I wasn’t going to split hairs. I think we can be flexible for the Derby.
Besides, who is going to argue the technicalities when there are brownies to be had?
What you need
Besides choosing your favorite whisky or bourbon, you need the standard brownie ingredients, flour, butter, eggs, and salt. Using dark brown sugar instead of granulated sugar adds moistness, and the molasses tones complement the whisky.
Perhaps the most important brownie ingredient to consider (besides the bourbon, that is) is the chocolate. Dark Chocolate brings an intensity to the proceedings, and here it's used as both solid chocolate and as cocoa powder.
Baking to compare the bourbon brownie flavor
In order to have an even playing field for both brownie batches, I made sure the brownie ingredients were weighed carefully. They were the control group, after all.
I also tried by best to see that the brownies themselves were prepared simultaneously.
The only things I couldn't mimic exactly was the size of the saucepans I used to melt the chocolate and butter. Also my 9- x 9-inch baking pans didn't have the same finish (light vs. dark).
On the other had, having different finishes to the pans helped me distinguish pan held which bourbon brownies. That, and looking at the pictures.
How to make bourbon brownies
Step 1: Mix the dry ingredients
Mix the flour, cocoa powder, and salt together in a small bowl. Sifting the flour and cocoa powder aerates them and eliminated lumps.
Step 2: Prepare the chocolate
Melt the dark chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat (photo 1).
Step 3: Add the rest of the ingredients
Remove the saucepan from heat and whisk in the dark brown sugar, then the eggs one at a time. Whisk in the bourbon and vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture just until combined, trying not to over-mix the batter.
Step 4: Bake the brownies
Bake at 350°F for 22 to 24 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached (photo 2). Cool completely in pan on a wire rack .
My recipe for Dark Chocolate Bourbon Brownies yields a rich and fudgy bite, and the difference in flavor for the two samples is…well, let’s wait for the results, shall we?
Questions asked and answered
Here are some questions you might have...
You can tone down the chocolate intensity by using semisweet chocolate an regular cocoa powder for the dark chocolates. Whatever chocolate type you use, make sure to use the best quality you can. You don't want odd flavors overwhelming the bourbon.
When a brownie recipe has more fat than flour ratio, then the brownie doesn't rise as much giving that fudgy texture to. the brownie. Also, the less baking powder used the fudgier the brownie will be. A cakey brownie will use more flour and baking powder in its batter.
Like baking with wine, use whatever spirit you like to drink! The subtle flavor from the whisky or bourbon you choose will peek out under the chocolate, especially a peated whisky. You can experiment with different versions of your favorite whisky or bourbon, or try a liqueur like Kahlua, an Irish cream whiskey, or your favorite spirit. Have fun!
If you want an alcohol-free fudge brownie, you can substitute strong coffee or espresso (which will give the brownies a subtle mocha flavor), or just leave it out altogether.
Judging the bourbon influence
My tasting panel consisted of myself, my husband, my older daughter, and her fiancé. First we sampled the bourbons, then the brownies. You have to be thorough about these things.
Both of these Double Dark Chocolate Bourbon Brownie recipes were rich, and fudgy, with a deep chocolate flavor.
We all agreed that, while subtle, there was something different about each one. The Clyde May’s brownie was almost sweeter with a presence of baking spices, while the Berkshire Bourbon brownie had more body and support for the dark chocolate from the peat.
If you didn’t know that two different whiskey espressions were used, you might have missed the subtlety and just proclaimed these as “really good brownies,” as my daughter put it.
But I was looking for the difference, and I'd say that these are the best ever bourbon brownies that you'll ever have, no matter which bourbon you choose!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
Remember, even though these recipes use dark chocolate, you can generally substitute the chocolate type of your choice. Go ahead and use your favorites!
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Double Dark Chocolate Bourbon Fudge Brownies
- Using a sifter, mix the flour, cocoa powder, and salt together in a small bowl.
- Combine dark chocolate and butter in a heavy saucepan and melt over low heat, stirring until smooth.
- Remove pan from heat and whisk in the dark brown sugar, then the eggs one at a time. Whisk in the bourbon and vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture just until combined (do not overmix).
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
- Just before cutting, chill the brownies in the freezer for 10 minutes. Carefully lift the parchment to remove the brownies from its pan and place on a cutting board; cut into 1- x 2-inch pieces with a sharp knife. Serve and enjoy!