Taking a bite out of National Bourbon Heritage Month
We’re at that time of year when late summer and fall do their dance of warm days and cool nights. Fall is my favorite season because I love that crisp coolness in the air – and no matter how much baking I do in the kitchen it never gets too hot. This season, I decided I can’t say goodbye to September (National Bourbon Heritage Month) without baking up a new concoction to mark the occasion.
I recently (and happily) discovered an organic bourbon made right here in Chicago at Koval Distillery. According to their website, Koval is the first craft distillery within Chicago’s city limits since Prohibition. You don’t have to be a history major to know that Chicago’s DNA has a strong influence that can be traced back to Prohibition. Wanting to incorporate Koval’s organic bourbon, I decided to update my Bourbon, Bacon & Pecan Brownies recipe, which was one of the top 5 most popular recipes in the Baked Chicago’s Simply Decadent Brownies Cookbook (the Kindle version is available on Amazon for free until October 2).
In addition to adding cinnamon to the recipe, I also adapted the dark chocolate ingredient by using Scharffen Berger’s 70% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate. Besides being decadently delicious, your kitchen will never smell better. Enjoy!
In a medium skillet, cook the bacon until crispy. Reserve 1/4 cup of the bacon fat and set aside. Let the bacon cool and chop roughly. Set aside.
Preheat your oven to 350° F. Lightly grease the bottom of a 9×9-inch baking pan with butter or shortening.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
In a large heatproof bowl set on top of a small saucepan of simmering water, melt the dark chocolate and butter. Stir constantly, until smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until frothy (about 1 minute). Beat in the melted chocolate mixture, bourbon and reserved bacon fat. Fold in the flour mixture and pecans, just until combined.
Spread the batter in the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the chopped bacon on top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out nearly clean. Cool the brownies completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 4 rows by 4 rows to make 16 brownies.