As pale as my skin may be, I’m not Irish…I’m sure a bit of Irish blood got snuck in there somewhere…along with some German and English. Ireland has always been a place I’ve wanted to visit, although I’ve yet to have the chance. Just something about all those vibrant pictures I see of rolling green hills, rocky shores and vast ocean makes me long to go there and also makes me a little homesick. I know there are a lot of differences between Newfoundland and Ireland, but just looking at some photos you can notice the similarities, like those rocky shores and that never ending ocean…and the rain, I’m all too familiar with that rain.
With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, it only makes sense for me to start sneaking booze into all things edible and really, who can dispute the deliciousness of beer and chocolate! I know a lot of people like to make everything a science-experiment-gone-wrong blinding green color, but there’s just something unsettling about putting a crap tonne of dye into a batch of cookies, or beer for that matter. Instead I went a more natural route by putting a crap tonne of beer into brownies, ok it’s not exactly a crap tonne, but once you concentrate the beer every bite of brownie gives you a punch in the face of flavour.
P is big into beer making and I’m sure our friends will vouch for how talented he is at it. The dude knows his beer! With all the beer he makes and bread I bake, our house is pretty much filled with yeast at all times. For this brownie experiment, it only made sense for me to use one of P’s dark stouts, he makes all of his beer vegan (<3) and it saved me a trip to the liquor store. Unless you plan to come knocking on my door looking for freebies of beer, I’d recommend picking up some Young’s Double Chocolate Stout for this recipe, of course you can use any kind of stout you happen to have on hand, l prefer Young’s since it’s vegan (no isinglass, woot!) and you get that extra little bit of chocolate kick. You won’t need the entire bottle, so make sure it’s something you’re willing to drink, or ya know, make more brownies!
I know everyone has their preference for brownie texture, so let me tell you now that these are not cakey brownies. These brownies are dense and intense The trick is to slightly under bake them so that they’re nice and fudgy. As you can proably tell from my pictures, I royally fucked mine up by over baking them. Don’t be like me. When it says to bake them for no more then 35 minutes, do not bake them for more then 35 minutes. Ok, ok, they weren’t that bad, the flavour was still pretty amazing, but all fudgy factor was lost due to me actually thinking that I had a good memory. I checked the brownies at 30 minutes and stuck them back in the oven (without setting the timer *facepalm*), thinking I’ll take them out in 2 minutes or so…10 minutes later I remembered I had brownies in the oven. So, the lesson today folks is, 35 minutes good brownies, 40 minutes bad brownies. Either way, the stout ganache and the overall flavour more then made up for the dryness. The stout really gives the brownies a rich, complex flavour that you never get from regular brownies. These are some serious grown-up brownies, perfect for all your booze filled needs, just try not to fuck them up.
Chocolate Stout Brownies
Yields one 8×8 pan
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon flax, ground
- 1 cup stout
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into ½ inch pieces
- 6 tablespoons margarine, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (optional)
- 4 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
- 1/4 cup reduced stout
- 2 tablespoons margarine
Bring stout to a boil in a medium sauce- pan; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 12 minutes. Let cool. Reserve 1/4 cup stout.
Stir 2 ounces chocolate and margarine in a medium metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth.
In a small mixing bowl whisk together the water and flax meal. Let it sit for about 5 minutes so the mixture gets goopy. Place your oven rack on it’s lowest position and preheat your oven to 350F. Line an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with parchment paper allowing excess parchment paper on opposite sides so you can pull the brownies out of the baking dish later.
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the sugar, espresso, vanilla, 1/4 cup of the reduced stout, flax mixture and melted chocolate mixture, mix until smooth and combined. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until just combined, then fold in the chocolate chips. The mixture will become extremely thick.
Transfer the batter to the baking dish. Using a spatula, spread and smooth the thick batter into place.
Bake for 30-35 minutes on your oven’s lowest rack. Do not bake for any longer then 35 minutes, you want the brownies to be fudgy. Transfer the baking dish to a wire cooling rack and allow it to cool for 30 minutes.
Stir remaining 4 ounces chocolate in a medium metal bowl set over a sauce-pan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Add reserved 1/4 cup reduced stout, and remaining 2 tablespoons margarine whisk until well blended.
Pour warm glaze over brownies. Let stand at room temperature until glaze is set, about 40 minutes.
Once completely cool, using the parchment paper overhang, pull brownies out of pan. Cut into squares.
Just a note: Although there’s a Guinness glass in the picture, I don’t use or drink Guinness as it’s not vegan and it would be pretty sucky of me if I did.