I know this sounds a little weird, ok, a lot weird, but these are some awesome brownies. And anyway, it's not like I'm pouring PBR into my brownie mix. The trick is in using a dark, malty beer you like that already has some desserty characteristics. Toasty, bready, toffee, coffee, chocolate flavors come to mind, and you can go a little crazy with the possibilities (could you imagine coffee porter brownies??). I chose to use the Bruery's Rugbrod (don't worry if you can't pronounce it, apparently the brewers can't either), a toasty, spicy, Christmas-y Danish Rye ale that gave the brownies a lightness belied by their fudginess. It sounds contradictory, fudgy yet light, but the bubbles appear to be working their magic. To put an exclamation point on the spiciness I added a pinch of cayenne and cinnamon, just for a hint lingering in the background, and lightly sprinkled halved walnuts on top for their toasty, nutty goodness. I love how rustic the scattered walnuts look on top of the brownies, plus they add a lovely crunch. Enjoy!
3 ½ oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa and up)
2 tablespoons instant espresso
8 tablespoons of butter
4 eggs, at room temp
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar, loose, not packed
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Valrhona)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons vanilla paste (or extract)
1 cup malty beer (I used the Bruery's Rugbrod, a Danish Rye Beer, but a Belgian Quad, a Stout, or a Porter would work)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts, halved and toasted lightly
Preheat oven to 350 and pop in the walnuts until just toasted, about 5 minutes. Sift together the flour, spices, and cocoa powder. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate, instant espresso and butter in a bowl over boiling water, add the beer and stir to combine, then let cool. Beat together the eggs and sugar until thick and shiny. Continue beating on low while adding flour mixture and wet ingredients alternatively. Finish with the vanilla. Do not over mix. Fold in the chips. Pour into a buttered and floured 9 x 13 pan and sprinkle the walnuts on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Photographs by Claire Thomas
For more recipes like this one, check out Claire's blog, The Kitchy Kitchen.