I first heard about Guinness Brownies through another blog, but forgot to bookmark it and couldn’t remember where I had seen it. I had sent the link to a friend who’s a fan of beer-based baking, but then thought it would be nice to just make them for her instead. A quick Google search brought up myriad other blog posts, including the one I had seen originally, as well as some other variations. After cruising through a bunch, I realized most of them were riffs on one standard recipe — one I liked much more than the recipe I had first come across.
Now, normally, I like to leave recipes alone for the first attempt, figuring I need to give it a chance to wow me before I make changes. But most of the versions I found called for white chocolate, which I loathe. And I knew it would cook out and be undetectable in the final brownie, but I still wasn’t keen on buying white chocolate just for this recipe. One other blogger had subbed in milk chocolate chips, which seemed like a good idea to me. I think the object here is chocolate-y sweetness and milk chocolate can certainly achieve that, with the bonus of being an ingredient I can use in other things.
Random rant: why do they sell baking chocolate squares in packages of 6 ounces? Most of the recipes I’ve come across call for 8 ounces, which means buying two packages and then letting the remaining four ounces sitting around in the cupboard (where, yes, I am likely to forget I have them and then go buy more. I really need a more organized baking cupboard).
Cracking a beer at 11 a.m. felt a bit funny, though it’s not my first time. (Those Guinness Cupcakes are also an excellent recipe, if you’re looking for something else to do with the dark Irish beer.) And I was a bit nervous about cooking it down. I’m not a huge beer fan and was afraid reducing it and intensifying the flavour would make it stand out far too much in the final brownies. Plus, it did seem a bit weird to cook beer.
But what do I know?
Not much apparently because these were fantastic. They were rich and dense, flavourful but not overly beer-y. A definite keeper.
This is a hybrid recipe from a couple of sources, but I have to give Bitchin’ Camero a shout out because that is a seriously awesome blog name and Blondie’s Cakes for the smart idea of reducing the Guinness for additional flavour.
- 1 cup all-purpose 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 (I used 6 ounces of bittersweet and 2 of 70 per cent dark chocolate)
- 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 bottles Guinness beer, reduced to 1 1/4 cups
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- icing sugar for dusting (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt until evenly combined. Set aside.
In a double boiler set over low heat, melt butter, bittersweet chocolate and milk chocolate chips. Remove from heat.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Pour in melted chocolate mixture and beat until combined.
Add flour-cocoa mixture and beat until just combined. Whisk in cooled Guinness and vanilla. (It will take a few minutes for the beer to incorporate. I used more of a folding technique with the whisk for the first minute or two to keep everything from slopping everywhere.)
Pour into prepared pan. Scatter over semi-sweet chips.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Note: mine only took 24 minutes; start checking at the 20-minute mark.
Let brownies cool. Dust with icing sugar if using and serve.