Triple Chocolate Ale Brownies
Quite some time ago now, I won some tickets from FoodiesSW to go to the Beer Festival at the St Austell Brewery. A beer festival is not something either I or CT had ever attended before and I think it’s rather unlikely we shall ever attend one again. My motivation was the opportunity to sample a chocolate beer that would be featuring there. Chocolate beer? Well I couldn’t resist could I. In my naivety, I assumed that if we turned up early, 11:30am, all would be quiet, we could try a couple of unusual beers, get some chocolate beer to take home and go before it started to get crowded. It didn’t quite turn out like I imagined. The doors had only opened half an hour before we got there, but the place was already heaving and a long queue had formed at the entrance. We eventually got in and were given 3 tickets each to get half pints of any beer we wanted. Having fought our way down to the cellars and through the maze of barrels to get our drinks (I’ve sadly lost the names for these now), we tried to find somewhere to sit and sup our hard won halves. No such luck, all seats had long gone, it was standing room only and not much of that either. There was only one thing for it: to drink our beer. The chocolate beer was actually quite nice, smooth and creamy with definite cocoa notes. Not being much of a drinker, it very quickly went to my head. I fought my way, rather unsteadily, back to the chocolate beer barrel and got another couple of halves. These two were destined, not to be downed immediately, but for the bottle that we had cunningly brought with us to take home and use in chocolate baking. By this time, we had had enough: it was noisy, uncomfortable, dark (the sun was shining outside) and smelt rather too strongly of spilt beer and BO. But we still had two tickets left – what to do? I was just on the point of giving them to the first person who caught my fancy, when I bumped into an old friend who definitely likes his beer. He was more than happy to relieve us of the tickets.
Back in October, I had spotted a recipe for Young’s Double Chocolate Stout Brownies on Andys Kitchen and was just waiting for the right time to give it a whirl. This is how I did it:
- Melted 150g dark chocolate (100g 85% and 50g 70%) in a large bowl over hot water with 175g of unsalted butter.
- Mixed in 200g dark brown sugar.
- Beat in 2 duck eggs until mixture was thick and glossy.
- Folded in 75g sifted wholemeal flour and 50g cocoa.
- Stirred in 200ml chocolate beer as carefully as I could (original recipe stated 250ml, but as mine wasn’t a stout, I didn’t want to make the batter too thin).
- Poured into a 22 cm sq cake mould and baked at 180C for 18 mins.
- Left to cool and cut into 16 squares.
Goodness, did these smell good. They tasted really good too, rich, dark and delicious. They should come with an Adult Only warning though – the malty and bitter notes of the dark chocolate combined with the beer mean these are not at all sweet (well maybe a bit sweet but you know what I mean). Having read somewhere that these would not produce a crisp top, I was delighted to find that mine had lovely crackly ones. The texture inside was smooth, mousse-like and rather moreish. Despite them being moreish, we managed to keep them going for a few days and they seemed to improve with keeping. They even survived me dropping the tin on the floor from a considerable height. I’m beginning to wonder whether I should patent them as the Indestructible Brownies TM.
CT smelt the beer straight off. Is it going to be like a steak and ale pie he wondered? Sadly not. He described it as being a working man’s brownie. The bitterness of the beer gave it a savoury tang and he wondered if he should be eating it in a room with a sawdust floor. It reminded him of Christy Moore’s song about drinking black beer in the same public houses, smelling of smoke and strong whiskey. He also suggested that sticking one of these brownies in the sweet side of a Cornish tin miner’s pasty would make him very happy.
I’m really going to have to stop CT and his free association – he’s getting a bit keen on all this. I suppose it is only his usual round about way of saying that he really enjoyed these brownies.