Plus, a chocolate pop-up, a Lawrenceville bar opening and a new Dormont coffee shop
If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so, too, is a girl swept away by a terrific handmade dessert. Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and this booze-infused brownie is just the ticket to guaranteeing a sweet end to your evening.
Raspberry vodka and a fresh berry garnish add a fruity flair, while three kinds of chocolate — semisweet, dark and unsweetened cocoa — make for a fudgy, totally decadent treat. This is one rich brownie.
I substituted pecans for the hazelnuts and took a shortcut with chocolate chips. Be sure to use the proper-sized pan; the recipe makes a lot of batter.
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for pan
10 ounces semisweet chocolate
4 large eggs at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup raspberry vodka
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
10 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons raspberry vodka
1½ tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup toasted and roughly chopped hazelnuts
Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Place butter and semisweet chocolate in double boiler over medium heat. Or pour a couple of inches of water in a pot and fit a heatproof bowl over the top. Place chocolate and butter in bowl. Stir constantly to avoid burning until the chocolate melts and butter is well incorporated. Set aside to cool.
In separate bowl, combine eggs, sugar, vanilla and vodka.
Mix cocoa powder into the chocolate. Stir egg mixture into the chocolate cocoa mixture to combine. Fold in salt and flour until just combined. Do not overmix!
Pour into prepared baking pan. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until brownies are set and slightly pulling away from pan.
Remove from oven and let cool completely before glazing.
To prepare ganache, place dark chocolate in a small heatproof bowl; set aside.
Slowly heat cream and vodka in a small saucepan until it just begins to boil. Pour over chocolate and let stand for about 30 seconds; whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is blended. Add butter and mix until smooth. Chill briefly until thickened, about 15 minutes.
Spread over cooled brownies. Top with berries and hazelnuts.
Refrigerate at least 1 hour to set ganache. Or eat gooey right away.
Makes 20 brownies.
— “Cooking With Cocktails: 100 Spirited Recipes” by Kristy Gardner (Countryman Press, Feb. 2017, $29.95)
Gretchen McKay: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1419 or on Twitter @gtmckay.