Monday, 28 March 2011

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.

36 comments:

  1. I'm pretty clumsy so I like the sound of indestructible brownies! These look great. I've made nigella's chocolate guinness cake before - I think ale and chic work really well together.

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  2. Sound delicious! I havent dipped my toes in the world of baking with beer but these sound so yummy I might have to try!

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  3. these brownies look delicious! gloria

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  4. Ha ha, what a great post. That beer festival sounds great - spilt beer and BO - ooh now you are tempting me ;) It sounds as if you found the perfect way to use your beer.

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  5. Wow. Chocolate beer?! Amazing. I'm not a beer drinker but can just imagine these are fabulous, especially if not too sweet. Loved your story: can just imagine the scene ;-)

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  6. they look interesting... not sure i'd be a huge fan but maybe they could be slathered in a sweet white frosting to look like a head of beer?... I appreciate the fact that you've created the recipe based on your chocolate beer find, that's excellent stuff!

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  7. MCB - I've made a Guinness cake too, it was really good, but I haven't made Nigella's yet. Dan Lepard's Chocolate, raisin and ale cake is pretty good too.

    Hanna - chocolate and beer are one of those combinations that work surprisingly well, especially with the richer beers.

    Gloria - thank you

    Kath - thank you, glad you enjoyed it. Maybe catch up with you at the next festival then ;-)

    Jill - thank you. As you've probably gathered I'm not much of a beer drinker either, but I do find it goes very nicely in chocolate cake :) Glad you enjoyed the post.

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  8. Dom - you might just be missing out. They are surprisingly good. Are you not a beer fan either?

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  9. Beer in brownies, who would have thought that would work so well? Sounds very interesting and decadent to me!

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  10. I will keep my eye out for some of that chocolate brew, I'd love to bake with it too! Gorgeous post Choclette :)

    So dark and manly, suave and sophisticated and crying out for a main lead role in some advert or other. How about a man's aftershave based on TCA Brownies? In fact why isn't chocolate used in scent? You used to get chocolate bath bombs didn't you....

    I love CT's flight of fantasy, more please CT!

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  11. Such a lovely recipe! I never had chocolate brownies made with beer, it sounds delicious! :-)

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  12. Wow, I love how dark and fudgy these look. How divine! Send the extras my way, ok? Please?

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  13. Nic - I've made a few things now with beer and it does seem to have a peculiar affinity to chocolate.

    Joanna - good point, who wouldn't want to smell of chocolate. I'm just wondering if you shouldn't get yourself a job with ChocLit ;-) Now I do have a little influence over CT - I can bribe him with cake

    Manu - they were really good and just got better each day.

    Bridgett - sorry to report that they're all long gone now :(

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  14. I've never seen such dark glossy brownies - they look amazing

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  15. love the idea of beer in brownies - and CT's comments - now I hope he was likewise keeping you amused during the beer festival - sounds like you would have needed some cheering up

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  16. I really have to try these. The color alone is enough to drive men mad. Women just go insane :-). It is a wonderful recipe. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  17. I'm sold out choclette seeing ur brownies divine! :D

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  18. CC - they are triple chocolate after all ;-)

    Johanna - I'm very lucky, he does tend to laugh me out of various situations!

    Mary - hope you like them if you do make them AND manage to hang on to your sanity ;-)

    Ananda - no no, don't sell out - just enjoy.

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  19. I like beer, I like chocolate - but mixing the two is not for me. But liking this post very much; made me chuckle.

    I made a worse mistake than you; I once went to the evening session of the London beer festival. Lots of sawdust on the floor to mop up from the over enthusiastic lunch visitors. Not good.

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  20. I really like a half of ale - something nice and light like a summer ale - but am with you on beer festivals. I can't see the appeal and dig my heels in when anyone tries to drag me to one.
    But a brownie festival, featuring these and all your other brownies, that would be a good one to visit. You couldn't tear my tickets off me at one of those

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  21. Loved this blog and the mental picture of your siphoning the beer into the bottle you had sneaked in... Brilliant x

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  22. They look decadent and delicious!

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  23. VBB - hee hee, I guess we live and learn ;-)

    Oxslip - a brownie festival? Now your talking and you've got me thinking.

    Carol - shhhhhh!

    Thanks Pam

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  24. I have to agree with Mary. Totally insane! Bookmarked it for later use. Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier. You've a very lovely blog here. And thanks for sharing all those wonderful chocolate recipes. Hope to hear from you more often. Have a great day.
    Kristy

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  25. Oooh the brownies look dark and glossy mmm! I am rather partial to the odd beer so they are very appealing to me!

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  26. Thanks for this, my husband loves the sound of these and they look soo fudgy and delicious!

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  27. These look fantastic, I like my brownies fudgey and moist. Chocolate beer sounds super!

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  28. These look fantastic, I like my brownies fudgey and moist. Chocolate beer sounds super!

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  29. oooh they seel chocolate beer in the supermarket by mine. i might have to try this aswell as guiness cake

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  30. Ha ha ha! I think any miner would be happy to sample some of your 'working man's brownie'....Come to think of it, I think it would keep one city hippy farm girl quite happy as well.
    Looks dense, rich and the perfect way to put beer to good use I say my girl.

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  31. Beer and chocolate is a surprisingly good combination in baking! Your brownie looks very moist and fudgey - love the idea of you smuggling IN a bottle, so you could smuggle OUT some beer.. :)

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  32. My Little Space - thank you for your kind words.

    Anne - the good news if you like beer is that there should be plenty left for you to drink whilst the brownies are cooking ;-)

    Sarah - I'm with you on the fudgey and moist.

    Cupcakegirl - Guinness cake is lovely but so are these brownies.

    CityHippy - it's certainly the best use of beer I can think of too. These were good, but not so good that I have the desire to attend another beer festival any time soon.

    Celia - ha ha, shiver me timbers, just keeping up with the good old Cornish smuggling tradition ;-)

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  33. These look incredible! I love the look of the texture. A very interesting recipe too

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  34. Brittany - they tasted good too ;-)

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  35. I made a guinness cake for St Patrick's Day and I wonder if it was a bit like these - very very rich and while you couldn't really tell it was stout in there, there was definitely a flavour of something other than chocolate. I might give these a go with the leftover guinness, if only I could use up all the cake that seems to be in my house at the moment!

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  36. Aveen - you could send some my way - our house is sadly bereft of cakes. This weekend, I've been baking for others. I think Guinness and stout just add to the serious richness of chocolate. Do give them a go if you can bare any more cake.

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