Sunday, February 19, 2012

Rogue Chocolate Stout Brownies

This decadent-sounding recipe was the 2nd of 3 that I culled from the March 2011 Men's Journal article on cooking with beer (the other being short ribs braised in Chimay Red). Like the Chimay Red, I needed to make a trip to my local mega-liquors to find the beer in question, that is, Rogue Chocolate Stout, sold in a large-format bottle. With Mrs. Hackknife logging heavy hours at the office this week (it's audit season), I found myself with a little extra time in the Commissary and decided to finally try whipping these brownies up (Hackknifette was kind enough to act as my sous-chef during the cooking process). Here's the recipe:

1.5 c. Rogue Chocolate Stout (accept no imitation)
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli chips)
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (Nestle's Toll House chips worked fine)
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter (or use Pam) an 8" x 8" square baking pan and dust with flour. In a medium saucepan, melt half of the bittersweet and half of the semisweet chocolate (note - I put the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwaved on 50% power in 1-minute increments until it melted), then remove from heat and let cool. Mix butter, sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. With mixer running, add eggs, then pour in beer in a steady stream, then mix in melted chocolate.
2. Combine flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a separate bowl, then stir mixture into egg-chocolate-beer bowl. Stir remaining chocolate pieces into mixture.
3. Pour mixture into baking pan and bake 40-45 minutes or until a knife stuck into the center comes out almost clean (note - it took my brownies close to 55 minutes to reach this point).

A couple of things surprised me as I assembled this dish. The batter filled the 8" x 8" baking pan to the point where I was almost certain that it was going to overflow as it rose in the oven. Fortunately, this didn't happen and I ended up with a pan of about the thickest brownies I've ever seen (see picture above). In spite of their excessive height, the finished goodies were almost cake-like in density, nicely lofted by the eggs and the carbonation in the beer. Their flavor was rich and complex, a nice combo of sweet and bitter, with the beer adding some yeasty notes and the chocolate chunks that were mixed in just prior to baking providing a little texture. By all accounts, everyone enjoyed this recipe quite a bit (including the neighbors, Mrs. Hackknife, the progeny - who seemed to sleep just a tad better than normal after consuming a beer-laced brownie, or maybe that was just my imagination - and my mother-in-law, who is the reigning top brownie chef in the family). I can't say that I was much of a fan of the beer by itself, so it won't be popping up in the Commissary liquor cabinet, but I'd use it in a cooking context again anytime...

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