Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Man Cave Cuisine

The Man Cave. That boys only room or haven used to escape the wife/girlfriend and any feminine decorating (and commentary). I always envision men drinking beer while sitting in their black leather Lazy-boy and watching the Laker Girls on a 100-inch flatscreen TV or reading the "interviews" in a certain men's magazine (because, of course, I haven't been invited to one to verify this). I have several start-up medical device companies as clients, which are almost always comprised of a small team of male engineers stuffed into a tiny office where they spend incredibly long hours together working on the next great innovation. In many ways, I suppose that is a Man Cave too. . . just not the good kind.

As I was putting together my holiday gift list, I was wracking my brain for something manly I could make for these male clients. I know guys love homemade baked goods, but I wanted something a bit more unique and something overtly masculine. Something fitting for a Man Cave (both the personal and the professional kind). Well, I believe this recipe hits it out of the ball park. Oh yes, this is real Man Cave Cuisine. This is a baked good drenched in testosterone — with a steroid chaser!

It's probably the most quintessentially manly food on the planet: Bacon-Bourbon Brownies! That's right. Throw in a cigar and the men may never again emerge from the cave — unless they're looking for more of these decadent treats.

It started out so innocent, if you can call chocolate and butter melting into a luscious liquid that. But things started getting crazy when I poured bacon grease into the melted chocolate. I know. Totally ridiculous. Actually, I admit I was a bit scared at first. Like the first time I tasted bacon-infused vodka. It sounds like a bad idea but when you taste the finished product you realize the genius in it. But the 3 Tbsp the recipe called for seemed like so much. But really, has anyone ever tasted a fried egg cooked in bacon grease? It's heaven on Earth. And you know why? The bacon grease. So, I went for it. I actually added nearly 4 Tbsp! Living dangerously, I know.

Then I mixed in some sugar, salt, baking powder (which wasn't called for but I didn't think adding a leavening agent would be a bad idea — after all this was supposed to be a brownie not fudge) . . . .

Oh yes, and a healthy dose of bourbon. I think we've already established that everything tastes better with bacon, but I'm going to go ahead and add bourbon to that list.

People love rum cakes, so why not bourbon brownies? People love salted caramels so why not salted brownies (via crumbled bacon)? I can assure you this recipe is a winner. Unless you ask a doctor. He may not be so thrilled, but it is that time of year for indulgences. So make these for your favorite man, who may be that jolly man all dressed in red. You'll surely make the Nice list with these.

Bacon-Bourbon Brownies with Pecans
From Food and Wine

1/2 cup pecans
1/2 lb sliced bacon
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 stick plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3 Tbsp bourbon
4 large eggs
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-in square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing 2 inches of overhang on 2 opposite sides. Spray the paper with vegetable spray. Spread pecans in a pie plate and toast for about 8 minutes, until fragrant. Let cool, then coarsely chop the nuts.
2. In a skillet or microwave, cook the bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels and let cool. Reserve 3 Tbsp of the bacon fat. Finely chop the bacon.
3. In a saucepan, combine both chocolates with the butter and stir over very low heat, until melted; scrape into a large bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat in both sugars with the reserved 3 Tbsp of bacon grease. Beat in the bourbon. Add the eggs, salt and baking powder and beat until smooth. Sift the cocoa and flour into the bowl and beat until blended.
4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the bacon and pecans on top. Bake for about 45 - 50 minutes, until the brownies are set around the edges but slightly wobbly in the center; a toothpick inserted into the center should have some batter clinging to it. I would suggest checking as early as 40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the brownies cool completely. Lift the brownies out of the pan using the overhanging parchment paper. Cut into squares or rectangles and serve.


  1. Oh my, I think you hit a home run with this manly treat!

  2. Dan Hammack @ yahoo comJanuary 9, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    Bourbon, bacon, chocolate, football... total yum coma!

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