Smoky Single Malt Whiskey Brownies


Back when I was a teenager, my household duties included the usual: shoveling snow, lawn-mowing, stuffing things under my bed tidying my room, walking the dog, and making dessert for Sunday dinner. This was somewhat problematic as my Mom may be an amazing cook but not only is she a terrible teacher

“When you pour it out it should have this consistency [plop. plop…. plop.]”

but desserts weren’t really something she made. So how did I get started? My sister handed me a recipe and said

“Make this, we’re eating at 5:30.”

I guess you could say I attended the culinary school of “Here’s a penlight, have fun spelunking.” But seriously, one of my favorite brownie recipes came from yet another slip of paper my sister handed me, this one torn from a magazine and titled River Oaks Brownies. Since I was still in high school at the time and considered Doritos and Coke a meal, how was I to know just how decadent and heart unfriendly these babies were? And it’s a good thing too cuz I might have been too worried to try them and that would be a shame. While overall I engage in a pretty healthy lifestyle, I also believe in moderation. Too much exercise and too ascetic a diet can be just as harmful as excessive junk food and becoming rooted to your sofa. So take a look at the ingredient list, gasp in shock, and them realize that baking these a few times a year will give you a happy stomach, happier friends, and closer neighbors. And with all the kickboxing and cycling, my heart is fine too 🙂

These are possibly the most popular of the baked goods that the hubby brings in to share with his coworkers, although the madeleines are surprisingly popular. The brownies are so chocolatey they’re almost fudgey and so moist that if they ever made it past day 4 they’d still be tender. I’ve substituted the vanilla extract for single malt whiskey to give it a rich smoky flavor (don’t worry, it won’t taste like something you barbecued) and omitted the nuts cuz while I like nuts with my food I don’t like them in my food. Why? It’s a textural thing, they lose that lovely crunch and become chewy and gritty from absorbing moisture and being cooked 😦

Words to the wise:
1) Holy crap, I’m having chest pain just from reading the ingredients! Do you really need all the butter and eggs? Yup. These brownies are very decadent and the butter and eggs make them so incredibly moist that you may never want to buy another brownie again when you can make these babies at home. And while it may be tempting to hoard them all to yourself, think of all the friends and people you can influence with just a little chocolate? These are an indulgence that you make to share with friends, not a snack for the 2AM munchies, unless you’re Jabba the Hut but then you’d probably have other problems to deal with at 2AM, right? Seriously though, they make great house-warming gifts cuz they’re so moist they stay tender for a long time. These in fact will be winging their way to 2 hungry out of state college students 🙂
2) Do I have to use whiskey? Nope, they taste great with just vanilla extract too. I like the subtle dark smoky flavor the whiskey imparts to the chocolate and with only 2 tsp, you’re not getting much in terms of alcohol, especially after baking them for almost an hour.

1 1/4 c unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp sea salt (or kosher salt–if using regular salt decrease to 1 tsp)
24 tbsp (3 sticks) unsalted butter
3 c sugar
6 large eggs
2 tsp whiskey

Preheat oven to between 350-375F if you have the option (I just turn my knob so it’s between the two settings). Why? I’ve measured the temp of my oven and the oven setting and it’s accurate to within a few degrees and 350 is just a little too low (doesn’t rise enough) and 375 just a scosh too high (too dry outside). Yes, you can just call me Goldilox 😉 Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together cocoa powder, flour, and salt. Set aside.

In ~2 quart pot over low heat melt butter. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Mix in eggs, 2 at a time. Stir in whiskey.

Pour egg mixture into cocoa mixture. Mix together with a spoon or rubber spatula till just incorporated (no lumps or streaks of flour visible). The batter will be thick and slightly lumpy.


Pour into baking pan and bake till cracks appear on the surface and a cake tester or toothpick comes out with little crumbs attached but not liquid batter–it’s better to slightly undercook than over cook these ~45-60 minutes. With a glass baking dish and convection it takes me 45 minutes. Since these are so rich, I cut them into 1 1/2 x 2 inch squares. Makes ~36 servings and 2 happy teenagers.

About Cam

Enjoying the hippie life in Portlandia :)


  1. Whiskey + chocolate = yes!!! 🙂

  2. Oh man … single malt in brownies sounds like a sacrilege … but I have to confess to being intrigued 🙂

    • Cam

      I guess I shouldn’t tell you about the time I used the hubby’s Johnny Walker Blue for these, huh? (It was an honest mistake that he still won’t let me forget LOL) I used to think that chipotle and chocolate was strange but the spicy smokiness really enhances the bitterly sweet chocolate. So you never know, you may be sneaking whiskey in your baked goods soon 😉

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