I’m learning quickly that recipes can often be deceptive. I found a recipe on MyRecipes.com from Cooking Light for brownie bourbon balls which I looked interesting. This one sounded super easy and like a fun spin on a dessert, especially as I’m also taking these to the SEC football party on Saturday. No need to put in all of the ingredients to fully make the brownies. Just grab one of the Duncan Hines mixes (recipe endorsed Double Fudge), some egg substitute, water, applesauce, chopped walnut pieces, and, of course, bourbon and you have a tasty dessert. Sounded easy enough!
I started reading the comments in the recipe online. The common one was that the mixture came out too wet in the end, so the brownies just weren’t baking enough to give you something to eventually crumble into the food processor. Lots of people were knocking the Double Fudge, saying that the pouch of the pudding in the mix made it too liquid. I was honestly relieved I also had the Duncan Hines Peanut Butter Cup mix in case the other was a bust. Since everyone seemed to think the recipe needed to be drier, I put in 1/4 cup of applesauce rather than the suggested 1/3 in the recipe. I also only did 2 tablespoons bourbon in the Double Fudge mix and 1 tablespoon in the Peanut Butter Cup (as I found it to actually be runnier than the Double Fudge) since the comments noted that the 3 tablespoons were too overwhelming. I actually found both to probably be too little, so I’d recommend the suggested 3. So it all started off simple enough. A pan of brownies into the oven.
I pulled out the first batch, the Peanut Butter Cup, out of the oven after 30 minutes. I moved it slightly from side to side, watching the jiggle jiggle business going on in the middle. Back into the oven it went for 10 minutes. Back out. Jiggle jiggle. Argggggh. I noticed that the edges though were cooked nicely, bordering on too done. So as a compromise, I pulled it out and broke off the border in the pan, broke it up, and threw it into the food processor. The rest went back in for another 10 minutes. At that point, some of it was just a hopeless gooey (yet tasty) mess. I crumbled up whatever was somewhat solid and left the rest in the pan. Some of it just was never going to cook, and it was time to acknowledge that!
After I added in the bourbon and turned on the food processor, it looked more or less like I’d never cooked the darn brownies to begin with. Huh?
Some of the other user comments had noted that they had to further bake the brownies after the food processor step, which seemed to be my scenario. I decided I’d make little balls with the batter, place them on a cookie sheet, and bake them for 8-10 minutes. Maybe that would be the finishing touch I would need. And this is what I got… Cookies! Not exactly what I was hoping for. And I ended up baking these a good 10 minutes before they would stop jiggling. Some of them seemed a bit crispy around the bottom, but all-in-all not too bad. Hard to go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate. I think this batch showed the Double Fudge is the way to go, and also that the nuts do play an important role in the process. I was making this batch to take to another party where some of the people don’t eat nuts. I’d say don’t make them sans nuts.
I actually almost didn’t make the Double Fudge mix after reading the reviews. Thankfully I did, since they were the ones which actually worked out! When I pulled these out of the oven, I could tell it was totally different than the Peanut Butter Cup. No jiggling. I was actually concerned at first that they were too dry or stiff, although they proved to be perfect. I didn’t have to cook much longer – somewhere around 35-40 minutes until they came out looking done. I allowed them to cool about 10 minutes before crumbling them up for the food processor. This time, the end result was far less runny (even though this one had a greater amount of bourbon in the mix). The brownies became very sticky though, which would be a challenge when trying to form the mix into the end product. As you can imagine there were walnuts (you can see traces in the photo here) and drops of brownie goo everywhere.
The recipe makes no mention of refrigerating the brownie balls or anything to assist in the hardening process but it seemed to be a no-brainer. I put them on a cookie sheet in the fridge overnight, and found they actually came out quite good. Phew! I’ll report back after tasting both but I’d definitely recommend following the above alterations for the Double Fudge mix and doing the 3 tablespoons of the bourbon if you want to give this one a try.
Stuffed with Brownie Batter