In my family, like many, we show love through food. My dad always has big plans for dinner anytime one of us kids come home. My sister and brother and I swap food as gifts usually. My brother gives me home canned tuna, frozen salmon, and elk jerky – all of which he has caught himself and done the processing. I bring my sister gluten-free treats from Portland, and she gives me tea or apple butter or something gluten-filled that she can enjoy vicariously through me.
I’ve carried on this tradition, so that a holiday or birthday for me is about the food. What should I make you? Where should we go out to eat? One of my Valentine’s traditions has become this recipe – Grace Neill’s Chocolate and Guinness Brownies. I began making this recipe when I first started dating my fellow, after he pointed it out to me in that week’s Food Day (2003 by the way, wow, how time flies!).
What else could say love like chocolate + beer?
Wanting to please him, I decided to surprise him with this treat one night. After eagerly pulling them from the oven, I thought they needed a prettier presentation, so I proceeded to turn the pan out onto a plate. Uh, yeah, I wouldn’t try that with this recipe. The brownies split open and a thick stream of chocolate oozed over the plate, like a volcanic eruption. Luckily my fellow pointed out they were still chocolate and still perfectly edible, despite appearances.
So, since V-Day has come and gone, I thought what could be more perfect than to share my favorite Irish-themed recipe in honor of St Patrick’s Day, the day when everyone gets to be Irish. Who knows, maybe this weekend, you’ll find yourself with a leftover can or bottle of Guinness knocking around the fridge?
The name of this recipe, too, is a little inaccurate. It creates what technically is a brownie, but (as my explosion incident may illustrate), they are more like a cross between fudge and a flourless chocolate cake. Very moist, and they may still slightly quiver softly in the middle upon removal from the oven. Don’t even start to add up how much chocolate is in this – it’s a lot. Drown out that noise by finishing off the remainder of the bottle of Guinness (1 1/4 cups is about 1/2 a bottle). Oh, and vanilla ice cream is highly recommended as a partner.Grace Neill’s Chocolate and Guinness Brownies *Adapted from Food Day in the Oregonian,Best Recipes of 2003 – a note on the recipe says the recipe comes from Grace Neill’s, listed in the Guinness (appropriately!) Book of World Records as the oldest bar in Ireland. 4 eggs 3/4 cup superfine sugar (regular sugar has always worked) 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped 4 ounces white chocolate, chopped 6 Tbsp unsalted butter 3/4 cup flour 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa 1 1/4 cup of Guinness stout
Preheat oven to 375, and grease an 8-inch square pan.
Beat eggs and sugar with a mixer till light and fluffy. In a medium saucepan on medium heat, melt chocolates and butter, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and beat into egg mix.
Sift flour and cocoa together, then add to chocolate mix. Whisk in Guinness – it may look funny at first, but hang tight.
Pour into pan, and bake 20-25 minutes (I think it’s closer to 25 min in my oven). The recipe claims till a skewer comes out clean. I generally go by when the center has very little wiggle left and the edges are done & pulling away. It will firm up a teeny bit as it cools.
Sorry no photo, but they were distractedly devoured over the Valentine weekend last month in a mad rush of deliciousness.