A Brownie For Grown-Ups

Christmas is 2 weeks away, and I am on schedule with my cookie shipping for a change.  This year I decided to give two kinds of baked goods — chocolate-covered Mexican wedding cookies and my newest thing, Guinness brownies.  Yes, I said “Guinness.”

Considering that I’m not a drinker at all, it’s funny that I have quite a stash of various alcoholic substances.  I’ve collected these bottles over time as I’ve tested out recipes that called for various liqueurs and even vodka.  My most popular liqueur of choice is Kahlua.  I love Kahlua for baking.  But today I’m going to talk about beer.  Not only do I have stronger alcohol in my cabinets, I now also have beer.  Guinness, to be exact.  And Guinness found its way into my home because I wanted to make beer bread, which I had the pleasure of eating while I was visiting with a friend’s (who also happens to be one of my yoga teachers) family in Maine.  His grandmother makes this fantastic bread that became my breakfast for the whole time we were there.  Ingredients?  Self-rising flour, a pinch of salt, and one bottle of beer.  Any beer.  And that’s it.  You throw the ingredients together, mix with a wooden spoon (well that was my utensil of choice) til the dough is wet, and throw into the oven.  No kneading.  Who knew making bread could be so simple?  It goes very well with soup, or by itself, slathered with butter.  Lots of butter.

I made this beer bread for the first time using Guinness.  Extra stout.  I figured, go big or go home.  What I found was that Guinness imparts a very strong (though not unpleasant) flavor of beer to the bread — I know it’s beer bread, but the taste was a little strong for my liking.  The next time I made this bread, I went with Yuengling and the flavor was much more subtle.  You can have a lot of fun with this bread, experimenting with different beers.  And the best part is how little work and how very few ingredients you need to make it!

But I’m not here to continue rambling about beer bread.  I was merely explaining how Guinness made it into my home via beer bread making.

Having decided never to use Guinness for beer bread again, I was now stuck with 5 remaining bottles of the stuff.  I wasn’t going to drink it because I don’t drink, and I didn’t want to give it away either, having spent my money on it already.  So, what to do?  Google to the rescue.  Having read that Guinness has a “chocolate” taste to it (really?  I don’t taste it), I found a recipe for a Guinness brownie.  What sold me on trying it out was the picture.  I saw a close-up of a very moist, very fudgy-looking brownie.  I am a sucker for moist, fudgy brownies.

See what I mean?
Another view in case it wasn’t clear how fudgy they are.

Moist, chewy, chocolate goodness with hints of Guinness.  I don’t like the taste of beer by itself, but the Guinness paired quite well with the blend of chocolate I used in the recipe (I used 2 bars of Lindt 70% dark and 4 ounces of Callebaut white chocolate).  I found that the flavor develops more after a day or two, with the Guinness blending better with the chocolate.  And since I had so many bottles left, I decided to make more batches for giving away.  Recipe below:

Guinness Brownies (from A Mingling of Tastes)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 8 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 ounces high quality white chocolate, chopped
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup Guinness Stout beer, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I left these out)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with nonstick foil (or regular foil coated with nonstick spray); or, use a nonstick pan coated well with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa and salt; set aside.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave: In a medium glass bowl, or other microwave-safe bowl, combine the dark chocolate, white chocolate and butter. Microwave on medium power for 45 seconds and stir. Continue microwaving and stirring at 30 second intervals, reducing to 15 second intervals as the chocolate is nearly melted. Stop just when the chocolate is smooth (all microwaves are different, so take care not to burn it). Set aside.

Combine the eggs and sugar in a large bowl and mix on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add melted chocolate in two additions, beating on medium speed until combined. Add flour mixture in two additions, beating on medium speed until combined. Add one-third of the Guinness and the vanilla and whisk until combined. Repeat two more times with remaining Guinness.

Pour brownie batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over top. Bake for 23 to 27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (mine took exactly 25 minutes). Cool completely in pan, cut into 24 squares and serve.

Instead of using a 13 x 9 pan, I used two 8 x 8 inch square pans.  I also baked at 350 degrees for 25 minutes instead of at 375 degrees.  While they can be stored at room temperature, I preferred to store them in the fridge.  They’re very good when cold!

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