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Brownies with Irish Whiskey and Currants

From Nancy Silverton's Pastries from the La Brea Bakery

1 cup (5 ounces) hazelnuts
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 sticks unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups Irish whiskey (see note)
1-1/2 cups currants or raisins
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon (preferably kosher) salt
2-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or unbleached pastry flour
Unsweetened cocoa powder, optional

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325°F.

Spread the hazelnuts 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. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Gather the nuts into a clean kitchen towel and rub together to remove the skins.

 

Turn the oven up to 350°F.

In a stainless-steel mixing bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter together. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

In a small saucepan over low heat, heat 1 cup of the whiskey with the currants or raisins, stirring constantly to prevent the liquid from burning on the sides of the pan. Cook until the liquid is sticky, bubbly and reduced, about 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the sugar, eggs and salt on medium-high until thick and mousse-like, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the flour in 3 batches, turning the mixer off before each addition and mixing on low until combined. Stir in the currant mixture, hazelnuts and remaining 1/4 cup of 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, slice into squares. If desired, sift a fine layer of cocoa powder over the surface, brushing off the excess cocoa for a velvety finish.

Yields 15 (3/4-inch) brownies.

Note: The addition of whiskey means this is, of course, an adults-only recipe.

 

 

 


(Updated: 10/01/08 SN)


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