Monday, January 31, 2011

Brandy Alexander Drinks and Brownies: National Brandy Alexander Day

Today is National Brandy Alexander Day. A Brandy Alexander is a sweet, brandy-based cocktail that became popular during the early 20th century. It was supposedly created for the wedding of Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood and Viscount Lascelles, in London, in 1922. The Brandy Alexander is based on an earlier, gin-based cocktail called simply an “Alexander”.

From the Brandyalexander website comes the history that Movie Stars have consumed Brandy Alexanders on sets of movies and TV shows and during celebratory events over the last century.  Among the famous calls are by Jack Lemon in Days of Wine and Roses. In one scene Lee Remick receives a Brandy Alexander and is impressed with the chocolate flavor, yet smooth taste of the drink. In the pilot of the Mary Tyler Moore show, Mary calls for a Brandy Alexander when asked if she would like a drink at her job interview and Peggy on a blind date in an episode of Mad Men, Indian Summer calls for a Brandy Alexander.  Over time other movies made reference to Brandy Alexanders.

So with this exciting alcoholic Food Holiday, break out the Brandy and Creme de Cacao!

Brandy Alexander

1 1/2 oz brandy
1 oz dark creme de cacao
1 oz half-and-half
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the brandy, creme de cacao, and half-and-half. Shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the nutmeg

I'm not sure where I found the original recipe for Brandy Alexander Brownies, but I found a similar recipe at The Pioneer Woman that includes a recipe for Brandy Alexander Icing. My original recipe below includes optional walnuts, and I don't usually frost brownies. They're plenty rich the way they are, but I do use more chocolate, but then I'm always Dying for Chocolate.

Brandy Alexander Brownies

Ingredients
6 tbsp sweet butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 tbsp creme de cacao
2 tbsp brandy
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions:
In mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar till fluffy.
Add eggs; beat well.
Blend in cooled chocolate, creme de cacao, and brandy.
Stir together the flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Stir into creamed mixture.
Stir in  chopped nuts (optional)
Spread in a greased 9x9x2 inch baking pan.
Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes.
Cool.
Cut into bars.

Optional: Frost with Brandy Alexander Frosting before cutting into bars!

Brandy Alexander Frosting
2 tbsp Sweet Butter, Softened
1 cup Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Creme De Cacao
1 tbsp Brandy

Mix all together!

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