I made a lot of different Krampus treats last Creepmas, but I didn't feel like any of them truly embodied the essence of Krampus. These brownies on the other hand are like Krampus himself melting in your mouth. It's almost a religious experience. Take of his body and it's rich chocolatey gooiness, take of his blood and it's sweet fiery bitterness, take of his horns and all of their caramelly delights.
So now that I've completely overhyped them, they are fudgy brownies, drizzled with a bourbon, maple syrup, espresso sauce and then topped with caramel horns.
I used the same Best Fudgy Cocoa Brownie recipe from CafeDelites.com, that I used for my deluxe dirt and worms. Feel free to substitute your favorite brownie recipe, the secret is, as they say, in the sauce.
If you do make these brownies, do line your pan with parchment paper. I would also refrigerate after cooling and not try to cut until they are cold. These are so soft and wonderfully gooey.
After cutting, plate them, drizzle with a generous amount of bourbon sauce and top with horns. If you will be giving these as gifts transfer them to cupcake liners. They can be made in advance and frozen.
The bourbon sauce is from this sweet potato recipe I tried for Turkey Day. I've never made anything like it and figured I'd either love it or hate it. Well I loved it. It was wonderful with the sweet potatoes, but I would also pair it with any winter squash or carrots. I could see this drizzled on just about anything sweet, ice cream, cheesecake, bread pudding...anywhere you might normally use a flavored syrup, sauce or glaze. I would lick this stuff off of Krampus' cloven hooves.
I would lick it off a mouse,
I would lick it in a house,
I would lick on a box,
I would lick it with fox.
I would lick it here or there,
I would lick it anywhere,
I would lick it like a boss,
I do so like my bourbon sauce.
This is the recipe for the sauce which I am now unofficially rebranding "Krampus Sauce". This recipe makes way more sauce than you need for the brownies. It's easy enough to just make half.
For once I actually followed the recipe, minus seasoning it with salt and pepper. But I've added some notes for minor alterations I might make in the future and issues I came across that I'm too inexperienced to know if it's the recipe or me.
1 1/2 cups strong hot coffee (Note 1)
9 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1/3 cup bourbon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Stir coffee, maple syrup, sugar, and espresso powder in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to a boil; cook until thickened and reduced by half, 6-7 minutes. (Note 2)
Remove syrup from heat; add bourbon and 2 tablespoons butter. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce is reduced to about 3/4 cup, 40-45 minutes (mixture should be thick enough to coat a spoon, but not sticky, and will thicken as it cools). DO AHEAD: Sauce can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill. Rewarm before serving. (Note 3)
1. I used instant. Taster's Choice House Blend to be exact, which says it's a lighter roast, not sure how it compares to other instants, it's just what my father-in-law likes. According to the internet 2 teaspoons per 8oz of water equals strong coffee, so 1 tablespoon can be used for the 1 1/2 cups needed.
2. It took a lot longer than 6-7 minutes to reduce. It took more like 20 and most recipes say to bring to boil, then reduce heat. This stuff doesn't just boil, it starts to bubble up and expand, so you are going to want to turn the heat down a little. Reducing by half means about one cup by the way.
Next time I'm going to use the same amount of instant coffee, but only use 1 cup of water instead of the cup and half called for and see if I can save some time with the reduction.
3. My sauce crystalized around the outside. It was fine for a while once it reached room temperature and then it started to develop crystals. Refrigeration made it even worse. The first time I thought maybe I messed something up because I halved the recipe for Turkey Day. But it happened the second time too.
After doing a little research I found this happens when there isn't a high enough percentage of liquid in a sugar syrup. Since you do want this reduced, more liquid isn't an option. Reheating melted the crystals again, but the more you reheat it the more liquid that is going to evaporate. If you are going to be reheating more than once I would add a little bit of water the next time.
My suggestion is to drizzle it over the brownies once it's cooled to room temperature before it gets a chance to form crystals. If they are just starting to form, give a good stir and you'll be fine.
For the horns I used Kraft caramel squares. When I made worms I discovered some caramels lose their shape, Kraft does not. Tootsie Rolls will also keep their shaped, I'm not a huge fan, but I did play around with using them too for a little extra color.
Divide one caramel square in half and roll each piece into a long worm, taper the ends. You can see where I've scored lines on one of them, it's not worth the effort, by the end they've all but disappeared. Cut each worm in half.
Twist the two halves together and roll them just a little more in a cone shape. Give them a curve and you have tasty horns.
If you want you can mix a little edible black glitter dust with alcohol and paint the horns. Most people use vodka because it doesn't impart any flavor, but since I had bourbon and these were going to be paired with a bourbon sauce, that's what I used.
Here I twisted a thin worm of Tootsie Roll in for color.
I like this one better where I marbled the Tootsie Roll
into the caramel before making the worms.
I started to wonder if I was just being too picky and how it would look just folding the worms instead of cutting before twisting. [Halfway through making horns my attention started to wane and started looking for any way to speed the process up.]
This how they look rolled out a little more. If you look at the plate of brownies, it shows a mix of all the variations and I think they all look pretty much the same, so do whatever is easiest for you.
I hope you get a chance to make your own Krampus Brownies. They are so sinfully delicious, they're sure to earn you a place on the naughty list. Merry Creepmas everyone!