Wednesday, October 27, 2010

When Chocolate Found its Dark Side

I must admit – I was reluctant to post this recipe given the events that shortly followed the creation of these brownies, but the feedback from those who had the chance to enjoy them compelled me to go through with it. This past weekend, I finally came to know the perils of biking in Boston. Long story short, it was an over-the-handlebars deal that resulted in a 6-hour hospital visit and a hysterical mother back in Georgia. Seeing as it could have been MUCH worse than it was (fractured nose, a number of scratches and bruises), I felt this recipe still deserved its due. I sent the brownies with my roommate to the gathering (since I was indisposed to go). The two hosts had BREWED their own beer, called “STUDIO” and had invited their friends over for an evening of homemade beer and treats. I felt it was perfectly appropriate to make something using my favorite beer to bake with: Guinness. The only question was how to make something unique – I had already baked a chocolate stout cake, and just recently made Guinness-Gingerbread Cupcakes. Brownies became an option in my brainstorming process, and I couldn’t shake the idea, so I decided to make Guinness Stout Brownies (Photos courtesy of my lovely roomie, Jenn Berg).  
These brownies were meant to have a Dark Chocolate Truffle Ganache, but given the unfortunate circumstances that followed later that afternoon, the brownies were delivered to the party as is. I had received the idea for the ganache from a blog I frequent called Sugar Plum ( I can’t say how the ganache fairs in this context, but I highly doubt ANYONE would be averse to having a silky, dark layer of truffle chocolate atop stout brownies.
I always recommend using high-quality chocolate when making brownies from scratch – considering chocolate is the primary ingredient, you don’t want to risk it burning, and a cheaper chocolate won’t produce as silky of results. I used Lindt Excellence – 70% Cocoa. I omitted the chocolate chips (considering I thought I would be including a ganache) and used regular Guinness rather than Guinness Extra Stout. I imagine these will make another appearance so that a) the ganache can tested and b) I can have the opportunity to try one :-) Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate-Guinness Stout Brownies 
Adapted via 
Yields: 24 – 30 brownies

Guinness Stout Brownies:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (or pastry flour)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted room temperature butter, cut into cubes
- 8 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup superfine or granulated sugar
- 1-1/4 cups (10 ounces) Guinness Extra Stout beer (see Note below)
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/8 cup (about) confectioners' sugar for dusting

For Brownies: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with nonstick foil. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt until evenly combined. Set aside.

Melt butter, bittersweet chocolate, and white chocolate chips in a double-boiler over very low heat, stirring constantly until melted. Remove from heat. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add melted chocolate mixture, beating until combined.

Beat reserved flour mixture into melted chocolate mixture. Whisk in Guinness stout beer. The batter will seem a bit thin. Drop semisweet chocolate chips evenly on top of batter (some will sink in). Pour into prepared baking pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes on center rack in the oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let brownies cool, uncovered, to room temperature.

Note: The Guinness should be at room temperature. This recipe uses a little less than a standard 12-ounce bottle of Guinness stout beer. Do not include foam in the measurement. Either spoon off the foam or let it rest until the foam subsides.

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