How They Made It: Candied Pecan Whiskey Brownies (Ja-Brownies)
Welcome back to our occasional series, “How They Made It,” where we explore the food and drink of Outlander. This time we’re tweaking Lionel Brown and his gang with Ja-Brownies. Slainté!
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They’ve taken Claire!
Did your heart drop when Claire was kidnapped? Mine certainly did! As a book reader, I knew what was coming, but even that didn’t prepare me to see it portrayed.
For the record, I think the show did a masterful job in showing the horror of the event, yet focusing on how Claire mentally defended herself in her Dream-scape house and how she picked up the pieces afterwards. Well done!
One thing I did enjoy about the finale was sharing it with the Clan at Mary & Blake’s Virtual Finale party. It was during the after-show party that someone pointed out to Blake he missed a golden opportunity to call out Lionel Brown and his gang. Let me explain…
Blake’s favorite put-down
Blake is famous for calling someone a jabroni. But what exactly does that mean? From what I gather, there are two meanings:
- According to Urban Dictionary, a jabroni is a foolish or contemptible person, a loser or a no good SOB (they used more colorful language than that, but I think you get the idea).
- From Your Dictionary, it’s specific to professional wresting as someone who purposefully throws a match in favor of established talent. In other words, a loser. Which is the same as #1. Nevermind…
Anyway, at the Virtual Finale after-party, a commenter mentioned that Blake should be calling Lionel Brown a “ja-brownie.” Such wordplay cleverness, I can’t even.
Mary and Blake loved it, and laughingly called out to me to make Ja-Brownies. Challenge accepted!
Creating the recipe for Ja-Brownies
Here’s how I decided to make this recipe. I went with several themes.
Obviously it had to be a brownie, but I thought a Dark Chocolate Brownie would be good way to represent the bad-guy-ness of Brown’s gang.
Oh, and since their diversion was to blow up Jamie’s whiskey still, these brownies were going to have whiskey in them. I used as inspiration my Dark Chocolate Bourbon Brownies recipe.
In order to spice up the drama, and have a nod to the North Carolina setting, I included spicy candied pecans both in the brownie and as a garnish.
So, Ja-Brownies will be also known as Candied Pecan Whiskey Brownies. Take that, Brown gang meanies!
Side note: You might notice that I’m spelling whiskey with the ‘e’ here, unlike in my Discovering Scotch through Outlander primer, where I spelled it whisky without the ‘e’. It’s convention…whisky from Scotland doesn’t have an ‘e’, while American whiskey does. If you want to learn more, head over to my Whisky or Whiskey? discussion.
How to make Ja-Brownies
As you might imagine, making Candied Pecan Whiskey Brownies has two major steps. Namely, making the candied pecans, then baking the brownies. (Thanks, Captain Obvious!)
Let’s take it in order, shall we?
Spicy Candied Pecans
Making the candied pecans goes very quickly, but you need to pay attention. Make sure that the brown sugar syrup is bubbling vigorously before adding the pecans, and is almost evaporated after the pecans have been cooking for a couple of minutes.
Seriously, this whole process takes about 5 minutes, and cooling them on the baking tray about 15 minutes.
If you don’t cook the syrup long enough before adding the pecans (like me, the first time I made them), the pecans will dry but will be very sticky. You can rescue them by putting them in a 325°F oven for 5 to 15 minutes; then let them cool again.
Spread the hot pecans in a single layer on a Silpat silicone mat or parchment paper. Don’t use wax paper as the wax will melt, and you don’t want that.
Chop the pecans after they’ve cooled, but be careful…the pecans are hard and you don’t want your knife to slip.
Making Whiskey Brownies is a one-bowl process. Melt butter & chocolate; then add the rest of the ingredients in order. Easy Peasy.
You can adjust the amount of whiskey in the brownies to suit your taste. If you want an alcohol-free version, you can substitute in strong coffee or espresso (which will give the brownies a subtle mocha flavor), or just leave it out altogether and increase the vanilla extract.
A word about the chocolate…I used semisweet (60%) chocolate and regular cocoa powder. If you want Dark Chocolate Whiskey Brownies, then use 72% chocolate chocolate and dark chocolate cocoa powder. The chocolate flavor will have a more prominent contrast to the sweet pecans.
Lionel, et. al. = Bad; Ja-Brownies = Good!
Candied Pecan Whiskey Brownies are rich, fudgy, yummy chocolate goodness! The candied pecans on top add a nice crunch, and inside leave little bits of spiciness surrounding the chopped pecans.
The subtle flavor from the whiskey or bourbon you choose will peak out under the chocolate, especially a peated whiskey. You can experiment with different versions of your favorite whiskey. Try using different expressions of scotch, or a liqueur like Kahlua, an Irish cream whiskey, or your favorite spirit. Have fun!
A wee dram of the whiskey you used in the brownies makes for a great pairing. In this case, I used Henry McKenna 10 year Bottled-in-Bond bourbon. Good stuff, that!
So there you have it…my nose-tweak to Lionel Brown and his band of jabronies!
Alas, Droughtlander may be here for a while. But we can still re-watch Outlander Season 5 with a snack to munch, from Port Wine Chocolate Cake for the wedding to these Ja-Brownies at the finale. Slainté!
What do you snack on during Outlander?
Candied Pecan Whiskey Brownies (Ja-Brownies)
- half sheet baking pan
- Silpat silicone mat
- parchment paper
- 8- × 8-inch baking pan
- baking spray
For the candied pecans
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar, (1¾ oz, 54g)
- 1 Tbsp honey, (¼ oz, 21g)
- 1 Tbsp water
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ? tsp salt
- ? tsp ground allspice
- pinch ground nutmeg
- 1 cup pecans, (4¼ oz, 120g)
For the brownies
- ½ cup all-purpose flour, (2 oz, 60g)
- 3 Tbsp cocoa powder, see Recipe Notes (1/2 oz, 16g)
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 2/3 cup chocolate, chopped, see Recipe Notes (4 oz, 113g)
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cubed (4 oz, 114g)
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, (7½ oz, 213g)
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3 Tbsp whiskey, see Recipe Notes
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Make the candied pecans: Combine all the candied pecan ingredients (except the pecans) in a skillet and cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is bubbling vigorously, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the pecans to the skillet and stir to coat the pecans in the glaze. Cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, stirring continuously, until all the syrup is almost gone.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and spread the pecans out in a single layer onto a half sheet baking pan lined with a Silpat silicone mat or parchment paper. Let the pecans cool completely. If the pecans are still sticky after they cool, place the pan in the oven at 325°F for 5 to 15 minutes, then let them cool again.
- Make the brownies: While the pecans are cooling, prepare the brownies.
- Break apart the cooled pecans. Set aside 16 nice looking whole ones, then coarsely chop the rest. They might be a little hard, so be careful as you chop them.
- Combine the chocolate and the butter in a heavy saucepan and melt over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the dark brown sugar (breaking up any lumps), then add the eggs one at a time. Whisk in the bourbon and vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture just until combined (do not overmix). Finally, stir in the chopped pecans.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 29 to 31 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached. Remove from the oven and place a reserved pecan evenly over the top of the brownies, pressing in slightly. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
- Just before cutting, chill the brownies in the freezer for 10 minutes. Carefully lift the parchment to remove the brownies from its pan and place on a cutting board; cut into 2- x 2-inch squares with a sharp knife.
- Serve and enjoy!
Discovering Outlander after Season 1 first aired, Tammy quickly went down the rabbit-hole on social media and podcasts and found a world of like-minded fans who not only tolerated her obsession, but encouraged the madness! She combined her Outlander-inspired interest for scotch whisky with her continuing passion for baking and storytelling in her blog, Scotch & Scones…Explorations in a glass and in the oven. Joining the staff of Outlander Cast as the resident baker has brought Tammy full circle, from a podcast fan to a contributing writer. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest at @scotch_scones, and find her on Facebook at @scotchandsconesblog.