As an English person i love jumping on a boozy bandwagon and St Patrick’s day has got to be the biggest one of all. I am, apparently, 1/16 Irish, barely a drop of it in me, but my partner is Northern Irish and that is good enough for me to throw together some Paddy Day themed treats to line the stomach and get the party started.
I decided on something with stout because stout and chocolate is one of the best pairings of food and drink out there, however, why on earth would i use Guinness when Bristol has some of the best breweries in the country? A wonder down Gloucester Road took me to www.grapeandgrind.co.uk where after a short perusal of their fine beer selection i chose the Ultimate Stout from the Bristol Beer Factory. Its beautifully dark and chocolaty and a far more interesting addition to my baking then a boring old can of Guinness (controversial maybe!).
Here are two recipies for you, one is a bit more wallet friendly as it it only uses powdered cocoa but both are fairly cheap to make if you shop frugally and have been keeping that store cupboard stocked up!!
Stout brownie with whiskey maple glaze
You will need:
For the brownie:
300g 75% dark chocolate, chopped
225g unsalted butter
340g sugar (I used half dark brown and half caster sugar)
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
For the whiskey caramel glaze:
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 shots of whiskey (about 60ml, i used a beautiful maple whiskey from Independent Spirit of Bath)
1 tablespoon Guinness reduction (from brownies)
100 icing sugar
1-2 tablespoons double cream
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 170°. Line an 8×8 baking pan with baking paper, set aside.
Bring stout to a boil in a small sauce pan; cook until reduced to about a third of its volume, the is will take about 10 minutes. Once reduced, put to one side to cool down. Make sure you keep about a tablespoon separately for the glaze.
Stir chocolate and butter in a medium heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Make sure the water does not touch the bowl else your chocolate will separate.
Whisk the sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in chocolate mixture, then the stout from pan. Fold in flour and salt and pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake the brownies until surface begins to crack and a tester inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 45-60 minutes, mine took an entire hour yours may take less. Bake for 40 minutes and ten keep checking every five minutes or so.
Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes. Using parchment overhang, lift brownie from pan and let cool completely.
Make sure you have all your ingredients ready, you may end up burning the mix.
Combine sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a dry, heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stir until the sugar dissolves- then leave it to cook for a few minutes.
Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is melted into a deep amber color.
Remove from heat and carefully add the butter and whisk quickly until combined.
Carefully add the whiskey, stout reduction and salt (caramel will bubble and seize up). Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until caramel is smooth.
Cool sauce to warm.
Add the powdered sugar and beat until thick and creamy. Gradually add milk to thin out a bit if desired.
Pour glaze over cooled brownies and let set in the fridge for 30 minutes.
When bars are completely cooled, cut into bars and serve.
You will need:
For the cupcakes:
225g unsalted butter
100 unsweetened cocoa powder
250 plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
7 tablespoons sour cream
Combine the butter and stout in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts. Add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix together with a whisk. In a bowl combine the eggs and sour cream. Beat just until combined. Add the beer mixture to the eggs and beat again, just until combined. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until combined.
Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full with batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean – about 20 minutes for my oven. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
I didn’t make frosting for these as, well i can’t pipe to save my life so opted for an understated cocoa and icing sugar dusting. There is, of course, a ton of frosting ideas out there, should you require them.