Kahlua Brownies with Pecan Shortbread and Buttercream Frosting
Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a big drinker. I’ve been known to nurse a tall glass of club soda for an hour or two (bartenders love me). I just never really developed a taste for alcohol. Wait–scratch that. Reverse it. I never developed a taste for hard alcohol. But sweet, sticky, desserty booze like Bailey’s and Kahlua? Oh yeah. I’ve definitely got a taste for that.
And years ago, I stumbled on a recipe that made me drunk with glee–Kahlua Brownies. I found it in my mother’s copy of a fantastic cookbook called Stop and Smell the Rosemary, a compilation of recipes from women in the Houston Junior League. Not only can those ladies volunteer like champs, they can also cook and bake like pros. I think this is my favorite cookbook ever.
Kahlua Brownies with Buttercream Frosting
Step 1: Crust
1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed; 5 1/3 tbsp unsalted butter at room temp; 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted; 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch square baking pan. Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add flour and continue to mix until blended. Add pecans. When completely combined, press crust into bottom of prepared pan and set aside.
Step 2: Filling
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate; 1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening; 4 tbsp unsalted butter; 2 large eggs; 1/2 cup sugar; 1/2 cup light brown sugar firmly packed; 1 tsp vanilla extract; 1/4 cup Kahlua; 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted; 1/4 tsp salt; 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Combine chocolate, shortening and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Cool. Combine eggs, sugars, and vanilla in a large bowl and mix until blended. Stir into cooled chocolate mixture. Add Kahlua. Slowly add flour and salt, mixing until batter is smooth. Stir in pecans, then pour filling into prepared crust. Bake 25 minutes or until tested in center comes out smooth. Let cool.
Step 3: Buttercream Frosting
6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp; 2 cups sifted powdered sugar; 1 tbsp Kahlua; 1 tbsp heavy whipping cream
Cream butter, sugar, Kahlua and cream in a small bowl until smooth and creamy. Spread over cooled brownies and refrigerate 30 minutes. More Kahlua may be added to make spreading easier. For a less sweet brownie, use half of Buttercream Frosting. (I made only half a batch of frosting).
I’ve made these for several groups of people over the years and for my friends Jen and Jackie most recently (don’t worry: I carded them first) and after the buzz wore off, they all gave me an enthusiastic two thumbs up. The Kahlua punches up the chocolate flavor in a major way and the pecan crust adds great texture. But the real standout is the Kahlua-infused buttercream frosting. If you can mix up a batch of this stuff without draggin’ your finger (or your tongue) along the rim of the bowl, well, you’re a better person than me.