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Fudgy Brownies with Salted Caramel Brandy Glaze

  Disclaimer: No straight-up alcohol was consumed by underage bakers during the making of these sinfully-good brownies.

  Just sayin'.  I'm a good kid, and I only have the occasional half glass of moscato or rum and coke when my parentals are around.  I have posted a few boozy things on this blog, but they are adult treats to be made with adult supervision.  However, the finished treats generally contain a significantly less amount of alcohol due to reduction.  Thus, the consumption of those are an entirely different story...

  I just love the little kick of flavor that booze gives baked goods.  It's certainly not enough to inebriate you, but it's enough to make you aware of its presence.  These cupcakes, and this banana bread, for example.  Oh, and this very St. Patrick's-worthy pie.  But I respect alcohol, and always will.

  And come my 21st birthday, I most certainly will be enjoying one of these brownies with a finger or two of good brandy, and I will own a snifter.

  My excuse for these decadent things is the fact that I found out I'm 40% Irish.  The heritage from my mom's side has always been a blur, but we just recently we found out what it was.  She's fricken 80% Irish, and half of that runs through my veins.  AWESOME.

  Consequently, St. Patrick's Day has been taken into a whole new light.  We've always done a nice dinner of corned beef and soda bread, because we just love it that much.  But now I definitely feel the need to work up something of my own.

  These shakes were a good start, but they are largely an American thing.  Then again, so is St. Patty's...whatever.

  When Audra posted these brownies, I couldn't stop thinking about them.  And with a few adaptations to work with what I had on hand, I had the most delightful pan of chocolate-y goodness.  The original sauce bore whiskey instead of brandy, but I don't think the Irish would really object to my switch, do you?

Fudgy Brownies with Salted Caramel Brandy Glaze
Yield: about 16 brownies

Ingredients for the brownies:
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • A heaping 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Ingredients for the glaze:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream or half-and-half (I used about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
To make the brownies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the sugar and vanilla and whisk thoroughly to combine.  Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder.  In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs together.  Pour in the chocolate mixture and whisk until well combined.  Stir in the flour, salt, and chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the surface begins to crack and a tester inserted into the middle comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the glaze, combine the sugar and water in a dry, 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat.  Stir together the sugar and water just so the sugar dissolves, then leave it alone.  Allow the sugar to bubble and cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until it is a deep amber color.  Remove from the heat and carefully add the butter, whisking constantly.  When the butter is combined, add the brandy and salt.  Caramel will bubble and likely seize up, creating hard chunks.  Place over medium-low heat and whisk until smooth again.  Cool the sauce to warm.

Place the sauce in the bowl of an electric mixer, and add the powdered sugar on low, mixing until thick and creamy.  Gradually add the heavy cream to thin slightly, if desired.  Pour the glaze over the cooled brownies and let set in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Cut into bars and serve.  The bars are best at room temperature, in my opinion.   But store them in whatever way you're comfortable with.

Sources: inspired by The Baker Chick, brownies adapted from Good Life Eats