Wednesday, August 11, 2010

'Beer & Nut' Brownies

The classic combination of beer and nuts, how could you say no to that? Well...I could, since I can't eat nuts and I'm not a huge beer drinker. (Don't hate me!) But the concept of a 'Beer & Nut' themed recipe has been on my to-do list for some time now. Originally I had planned to do something for the Gourmet Rabbit article but then realised it wasn't very representative of who I was, for the reasons I mentioned before. So I put it on the backburner, and I'm so glad I did because the idea evolved into these Chocolate Stout and Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies. These are damn good brownies. So good, I think that even non-sweet inclined guys would enjoy them (if only because there will be leftover beer and nuts for them to finish off).
I had previously heard a lot about using chocolate stout in desserts, including Chris on the first season of masterchef using it for his beeramisu. I managed to pick some up at Dan Murphy's, but it wasn't so easy to find it at my local bottleshops. If you aren't able to get your hands on chocolate stout, I'm sure any regular stout will work just as well. To be honest, the flavour of the stout is incredibly subtle in these fudgy chocolate brownies, you can smell it and taste it quite easily when they are fresh out of the oven but after a night in the fridge it only gave the brownies a tinge of earthy flavour in the aftertaste. Feel free to play with the proportions of chocolate, flour, cocoa powder and beer if you think you might want a stronger beer flavour in these brownies.
Obviously I couldn't use real peanut butter, since I wanted to taste these brownies myself, so I used a substitute which I'm sure is completely interchangable with the real thing. I used a smooth version, but if you like your peanut butter crunchy, go for it! You could even sprinkle some crushed peanuts into your batter if you want some added texture. The saltiness and stickyness of the peanut butter is a fantastic contrast to the rich moist chocolate. And it makes such pretty swirls on top!
The best part about this recipe is that it doesn't end up being too rich or to heavy. The use of half cocoa powder and half melted chocolate lightens it up, but make sure you use a good dutch processed cocoa powder and a semi-sweet chocolate, unless you like your dark chocolate really bitter. Don't overmix your batter, and don't overbake your brownie. You want it to stay moist and fudgy in the middle with a crisp top. If in doubt, take your brownie out earlier rather than later, you can always put it back in for a bit longer if it is too wet. And try your hardest to wait until they are completely cool before taking it out of the tin and tucking in, it helps them keep their shape. But I admit, I didn't have much self-restraint and was snacking on the edges not long after it was out of the oven.
Chocolate Stout and Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies
(serves approximately 20)
125g semisweet chocolate
100g butter
100ml chocolate stout (or regular stout if unavailable)
2 eggs
3 tbsp dutch process cocoa powder, sifted
75g plain flour
190g caster sugar
160g peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, your preference, I had to use a peanut butter substitute due to allergies)
Can you see a curious cockatiel looking on?
Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Grease very well and line the bottom and two long sides of a 20x30cm slice/brownie tin. Let the baking paper hang over the long edges, it will make it easier to lift brownie out later. Break up chocolate into small pieces and chop up butter into 1cm cubes and place in a heatproof bowl. Heat over a saucepan of boiling water, or very carefully in 30 sec bursts in the microwave. Stir and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Sift cocoa powder, sugar and flour into a large mixing bowl. Add melted ingredients, chocolate stout and eggs to the dry mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Take care not to overmix or the brownies will be tough. Pour into prepared tin.
If peanut butter is coming out of the fridge, you may need to heat it gently in a small saucepan to make it less viscous. Using a teaspoon, place dollops of peanut butter over the surface of the brownie mix. Using a round-bladed knife, swirl peanut butter into the brownie mix. Bake for 22-25 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
Remove from the oven and place tin on a wire rack. Cool completely in tin before removing and cutting into squares. Can be stored overnight in an airtight container in the fridge.
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  1. Damn! I had the biggest craving for PB brownies the other night... where were you when I needed you??? :(

    Gorgeous photos! xx

  2. Definitely would go crunchy on this recipe if I were to make it! Maybe throw in a few whole nuts just for good measure :)

  3. What a heavenly idea! PB, chocolate and BEER! Definitely a blokey dessert that the girls will like too!

  4. Delicious. I have such a great international beer shop not too far away that makes getting any type of beer super easy, and I am a big fan of beer & choc & peanuts so these are going on my to-make list! Quite intrigued about the peanut butter substitute though,,, off to research it now..

  5. With such a title I had to check out your post! Love the pictures. We do a Super Bowl Party every year and this will be a perfect addition to the table.

  6. Oh no, I already spent our beer budget this week but these just look so good! I have a thing for crazy beers and our house is always stocked with them, but I haven't bought a chocolate stout in a while. Me thinks it might be high time!

  7. That's a great combination.
    It sounds so blokey but your photos make it look so classy. Beautiful!

  8. Mmmm, brownies...I need to find a use for the bottle of beer that friends left behind - if only it was chocolate stout!

  9. Yum! What an awesome combination! I'm not a huge beer drinker either, but in a brownie?! Yes please! Love the peanut butter swirls too - so pretty! :D

  10. I can't let hubby read this, he will demand me to make it immediately. Beer and nuts, good way to steal a men's heart :)

  11. I am not a beer drinker either but these brownies look amazing. Seriously. What a great little recipe you have created here. Well done! I think after baby is born next month, I'll get myself to that bottle shop and pick up some supplies to re-create this myself! :)

  12. It looks amazing!I haven't tried baking anything with beer so I'm curious to try this one.if you won't mind I'd love to guide Foodista readers to this post.Just add the foodista widget to the end of this post and it's all set, Thanks!

  13. This is so creative Steph. You are a champion baker. I am not a fan of stout but I am of peanut butter. Mmmmm looks divine

  14. A very manly sounding brownie! The guys would love this.

  15. Karen @ Citrus and Candy - Haha you will just have to make them oh Queen Chocolate ;) Thanks!

    Simon @ the heart of food - Yeah I would have used the fake crunchy peanut butter but it looks even more fake than the smooth version!

    YaYa - Haha yeah I think the boys loved it!

    AlyciAmore - THanks!

    Conor @ Hold the Beef - Hehe it's called Freenut butter and is made with sunflower seeds. Ppl who have tried it say it tastes the same but the flavour is more mild and takes a bit longer to hit your tongue

    chocolatesuze - Swirrrllyyyy! Hehe thanks!

    Kim (Liv Life) - :D Fun name isn't it?? Ooh yes they'd be right at home at a superbowl party!

    Elizabeth - Aww next time you pick up some chocolate stout give them a go!

    Brenda - Haha aww thanks :)

    mademoiselle délicieuse - You could try it with another might work! The darker the better I think

    Jennifurla - :D

    Betty @ The Hungry Girl - Thanks :) Yeah I was scared I wouldn't like them cos of the beer but I loved it!

    Ellie (Almost Bourdain) - Hahaha you should make it Ellie!!

    Julia @Mélanger - Trust me, as a total non beer drinker these are still great! Aww good luck for the next month!!

    Alisa - I hadn't tried baking with beer before this but I was pleasantly surprised!

    A cupcake or two - Aww shucks! Thanks Kath :)

    Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! - Haha yeah I think it definitely appeals to the blokes ;)

  16. Steph, you have the gift of swirling! Look at those lovely swirls!!!!

  17. Wowee Steph, way to work the stout and PB! Interesting to learn about the sunflower seed PB alternative. I've had regular (not-trying-to-be-PB) sunflower seed butter and it's delicious inexpensive and great for baking. Back to the brownies: YUM!

  18. Trisha - Heehee gotta love a good swirl :) thanks!

    Patty - Thank you! I love the pb alternative, lets me have all the pb&j sandwiches I missed out on in my childhood! sunflower seed butter sounds awesome!

  19. Delicious. I made these using crunchy pb, and a beer from a local brewery here. The beer I used had toffee and caramel flavours, closest thing I had to chocolate.

  20. Diane - Your version sounds fabulous! :)


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