As regular readers will know, I can’t resist a brownie. I have many recipes for them on the blog, but there are still so many to try. These black velvet cheesecake swirl brownies with stout caramel sauce were the happy result of two events fortuitously coinciding. It was a no brainer; I had to make them. The third event, is of course We Should Cocoa, the blogger’s monthly, “we need chocolate”.
If you like a good fruit loaf, you’re in for a treat with this chocolate ale fruit cake. It’s virtually fat-free and is tangy and moist with a nice chewy texture. Serve it with a wedge of cheese for a lunchtime special. It’s also delicious toasted with butter.
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.
- Poured 330ml ale (Badger Original) into a large pan and added 50g rolled oats and 25g cocoa.
- Brought to the boil and simmered for 1 minute.
- Removed from heat and stirred in 75g unsalted butter and 100g 70% dark chocolate.
- Added 225g brown sugar (I think muscovado would have worked well here) and stirred well.
- Beat in one duck egg and 2 tsp vanilla extract.
- Mixed in 150g rasins
- Beat in 250 wholemeal spelt and 1 tsp baking powder
- Spooned into a 9″ cake thingie and baked for 30 mins at 18oC.
- Whilst cake was cooling, I melted 100g dark chocolate with 100 ml creme fraiche and stirred gently. I don’t seem to have much success with ganache, it started to split so I very quickly stopped stirring.
- Spread this on top of the cooled cake as best I could and cut into 16 squares.
About a year ago, I tasted a chocolate cake made with Guinness. It was delicious and I’ve been wanting to have a go at making one ever since. I found a recipe for Chocolate Stout Cake in Green & Black’s, and had a go at making it for Easter Tea. It didn’t go quite according to plan, as there was too much mixture to fit into my biggest cake pan, so I made it into a sandwich cake instead. I then had to think of some sort of filling and topping to use at rather short notice and with no shops open!
- Creamed 8oz unsalted butter with 12oz soft brown sugar for ages.
- Weighed 10oz flour (6oz wholemeal spelt and 4oz white spelt), 2oz cocoa, 1/2 tsp baking powder and 2 tsp bicarb of soda.
- Beat in 4 duck eggs alternately with some of the sieved flour mixture
- Stirred in 4oz melted dark chocolate (85%)
- Stirred in 12fl oz Guinness alternately with the remainder of the sieved flour.
- Baked this in 2 23cm round cake pans at 180C in a preheated oven for about 50 mins.
- Whilst cakes cooling, melted 4oz dark chocolate (70%)
- Stirred in 4oz butter
- Added a good sloosh of Guinness and stirred fast.
- When thick enough used this to sandwich the two cakes together and to ice the cake.
- Decorated with little gold wrapped Easter eggs