These brownies are “genius,” which is appropriate as we celebrate Albert Einstein’s 136th birthday. They not only combine chocolate, flour, eggs and sugar, but add vanilla, cinnamon, cayenne and Jack Daniel’s Whiskey! Along with raisins and pecans: you have “genius!”*
And it’s also Pi Day, but I made brownies. I’m OK with that.
Today’s paper (Wisconsin State Journal, A4), had a brief about Pi Day: “Today is Pi Day, a once-in-a-year calendar date that this time squares the fun with a once-in-a-century twist. The date, 3-14-15, is the first five digits of the mathematical constant pi: 3.141592653. The best times to celebrate are at 9:26 and 53 seconds, morning and evening. The next time that happens is in March 2115.” That is ONE HUNDRED years from now. Wow!
Back to Einstein: Albert Einstein’s birthday has a special significance for me because I remember reading about his struggles early on in his education (a Mr. Brickman in 2nd grade assignment). When I started elementary school, I did not speak, read or write English, only Spanish. I had some struggles, but reading what he had to deal with inspired me. He obviously did great, and I think I am doing just fine.
Mexican Chocolate Brownies
1 cup raisins
½ cup Jack Daniel’s Whiskey
¾ cup unsalted butter
10 – 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Ghiardelli 60% Cacao chips, no chopping!)
3 large eggs, beaten
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used Mexican)
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup lightly toasted pecans (you can use walnuts or hazelnuts)
Vanilla Ice Cream, on the side (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 9-in baking pan or a mini-muffin pan.
Place the raisin in a small bowl and pour the Jack Daniel’s Whiskey over them. Soak the raisins for 2 hours.
Select a heatproof bowl that fits securely over a sauce pan. Place the chocolate and butter in the bowl and put the glass bowl. Add water to the sauce pan, but make sure it is not high enough to touch the glass bowl when you place it.
Bring the saucepan with water on the stove to a simmer. When the water is simmering, place the bowl over the sauce pan and blend the butter and chocolate. Remove from the heat and let it cool.
When the chocolate is cool, whisk in the beaten eggs and then then the white and brown sugar. Stir in the vanilla, cayenne and cinnamon. Add the reserved raisins and Jack Daniel’s. Stir in the flour and pecans and mix evenly.
9-inch Square Pan: Grease and flour the pan. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until set at about 25 minutes. Let it cool and remove from the pan and cut into squares.
Mini-Muffin Pan: Grease and flour the muffin pan. Divide the dough equally in a 24-muffin pan. Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool and remove from the pan.
This is my favorite way to make these brownies because I love the the crunchy, toasted corners of brownies. In a mini-muffin pan you get a lot of that delicious crunch!
NOTE: I came across this recipe in a cookbook I checked out from our amazing Madison Public Library. The cookbook, Mexican Flavors, has a lot of delicious recipes that I an hoping to try.
*They are delicious combination of flavors for brownies.