Thursday, July 24, 2008

Blog Party #36: Happy 3rd Birthday with Blogger's Choice

I can't believe that Blog Party is three years old!

This lovely get together is hosted every month by my fellow Daring Baker and Bakeanista partner in crime, Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness.

Every month, Stephanie picks a theme for the party, brings the tunes and party favours and then invites us food bloggers over to share the fun. We have to bring some small finger food and a drink to pass around.

I've been participating on and off in this event since the Black and White Party and even the months I find I just can't put a little something to share and drink together, I always crash the party by reading the round ups. This month to celebrate thirty-six successful parties, Stephanie has let us party goers pick our own theme, with Blogger's Choice.

Badge for Blog Party 36

Now, something you may not know about me is that I am a bit of a retro nut. I have a large collection of old cookbooks ranging from the late 1800s through the swinging 60's and 70's. I collect glassware from the 30's and I've got quite a nice collection of hats from the 40's and 50's. I like old cars with fins and sometimes long for the days when ladies who lunch wore hats and gloves and carried smart purses. I'm not alone in my little inner posse of food bloggers either who share a love for all things retro as our hostess Stephanie and our fellow sister in arms Laura Rebecca, the hostess of the Retro Recipe Challenge (which a little birdie told me will be making a reappearance soon!), both have the same quirky affinity for these retro things.

So, it will come as no surprise to either of them that I am enthralled by the AMC hit series, Mad Men. While I've been recuperating from my back injury, I've been rewatching the entire first season on DVD in preparation for Sunday's debut episode of Season 2. I would like to think I'm a cross of Joan with Don Draper's wife Betty's Kitchen but the truth is I'm Peggy (minus the office affair and the resulting surprise of course!).

Taking my cue from the office open bar of Mad Men, where creme de menthe and bourbon flow free, I'm bringing Mad Men Brownies to Blog Party 36.

Blog Party 36:  Mad Man Brownies

These brownies are a recipe from the 1960's edition of Better Homes and Garden's Homemade Cookies Saucepan Brownies that I adapted several years ago by using a combination of unsweetened chocolate and German's Chocolate. I also add 1/3 cup of dark chocolate chips. For my Man Men version of these brownies, I added 1 jigger of Maker's Mark Bourbon along with the vanilla. I also added 1 Tbsp of bourbon to the chocolate frosting. To add the green of creme de menthe, I sprinkled some toasted pistachios over the frosting before it set. These brownies are the definition of fudge brownie and the addition of the bourbon and pistachios took these from a kid's treat to an adult indulgence.

Now, no Blog Party is complete without bringing a drink. I'm keeping it simple to go with my Mad Men Brownies, I'm bringing the rest of the bottle of bourbon so we can enjoy it neat with a brownie.

Blog Party 36: Mad Man Bourbon

Congratulations Stephanie on Three Years of hosting the hippest and most happening parties on the web!

Mad Men Brownies

For the brownies:

1 stick butter
1 once square unsweetened chocolate
1 once German's chocolate
1 cup minus 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/3 cup good chocolate chips (60% cocoa or higher)
2 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1 Tsp vanilla
1 jigger good bourbon

In a large heavy saucepan, melt butter and chocolates over low heat stirring occasionally to prevent chocolate from burning. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and chocolate chips. Let mixture cool for 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until completely combined. Stir in flour, vanilla and bourbon. Spread batter into a prepared 9 x 9 x 2 inch pan and bake for 25 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.

For Frosting:

1/2 cup of good chocolate chips (60% cocoa or higher)
2 Tbsp salted butter (if using unsalted butter add pinch of salt)
1 cup 10X confectioners sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp good bourbon
dash of milk or heavy cream if necessary

In heavy sauce pan, melt chocolate chips and butter over low heat, stirring constantly. Add confectioner's sugar, vanilla, and bourbon and combine completely. Add milk or heavy cream if necessary to get to spreading consistency. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and spread onto top of slightly warm brownies.

Top with 1/2 cup of chopped toasted pistachios, pressing pistachios gently into frosting.

Put brownies into fridge for 30 minutes to allow frosting to firm.