Brownies paired with whiskey. True Love.
Last summer we made a batch of cherry bounce – cherry-infused bourbon – from sweet summer cherries. We shoved them to the back of the refrigerator and promptly forgot about them – or at least tried to forget about them. It’s hard to forget about bourbon and ripe, deep red cherries even when they’re hidden behind the milk and eggs.
Remember this beautiful stuff? We made it again.
The results were ready for Christmas. We shared the wine-dark bourbon with family and friends. The burgundy liquor was festive: a good color for deep winter holidays.
But what of the cherries? The cherries were for us.
Red and delicious
The cherries lost the edge off their vibrant red, but retained their juicy flesh and took on the complex aromas and psycho-pharmacological qualities of Kentucky bourbon. Boozy cherries? Don’t mind if I do.
Big chocolate chunks for big chocolate ooze
The cherries had a different fate. Fortified by their alcohol content, they waited in the dark recesses of our fridge. Now it’s Valentine’s Day, another holiday for baking. It’s time for warm, gooey bars and cookies, eaten straight from the oven with your love. It’s time for brownies eaten in slow sensuous bites. So, the two were united in an act of love: boozy, drunken cherries and dark, bitter chocolate slowly heated side by side in a fudge-y brownie batter. The bourbon cooked off slowly in the oven, leaving a hint of fruity sour mash. A new beginning for a new love.
Warm brownies for a cold day
We recommend pairing the brownies on a romantic evening. Pair them after dinner with straight bourbon whiskey. Pair them at midnight with champagne. Pair them in the morning with Irish coffee.
Share some warm boozy brownies when you snuggle up on a cold Valentines' Day
Summer 2011 has been a bad season for cooking in New York City.
Last summer's batch of cherry bounce went very quickly
Record heat and humidity have kept Raphe and I cloistered in our sole air-conditioned room. We’ve filled our bellies (and emptied our wallets) with local Pakistani fare rather than heat up the apartment a tenth of a degree.
Oh, and did I mention the grad school applications? Those aren’t exactly conducive to kitchen bliss either. I have been slaving away on my personal statement and harassing college administrators for transcripts while Raphe has had to put up with my bad moods and periodic cursing at the computer.
Between the heat and the pressure the Kensington Kitchen has literally been a hot mess. Raphe has been the only culinary presence and he hates doing dishes more than I do. When we traded in a toasty 103 degrees for a downright chilly 90 degrees he roasted potatoes and braised chicken legs and sausage in white wine. When it finally cooled down to, oh, 85 degrees, he saw fit to roast a whole chicken and whip up some gravy. (Must be something from his early years in New Orleans kicking in.) Both times dishes sat for the rest of the week, until it was cool enough to spend more than 15 minutes in front of the sink. Neither time was I adventurous enough to photograph Raphe’s creations.
The good news is that half of the applications are in. The other half aren’t due until November 1st. Rain is returning to the Big Apple. I’m heading to Zamboanga City to eat my weight in mangoes. Raphe is heading to Seattle to relearn how to sleep without the AC hum in the background.
And when we get back we’re going cook up a storm.
In the mean time I present you with a no-cooking summertime recipe. Have patience: you’ll reap the benefits around Christmas.