Double Chocolate Guinness Birthday Brownies, 15p
Firstly, for the budget-conscious among you raising eyebrows at the use of a bottle of the authentic black stuff in a batch of brownies, fear not, for this recipe makes 24 of the little tinkers, and uses a little over half a can at that, so you could stretch to 40ish from a single can if you’ve a crowd to feed. If that doesn’t satisfy you, well, most supermarkets sell an own brand value range can of bitter at around £1 for 4x440ml cans, indeed, I recommend it for my sausage casserole recipe and a few others besides. But, tomorrow being both my birthday and St Patrick’s Day, for me, tonight, it’s got to be the real thing. I’m fussy about very little when it comes to ingredients in cooking, but Guinness makes my non-negotiable list, and I hope for that you, dear readers, will note my half Irish blood and birthday on St Paddy’s day and gently forgive me.
I first came across the idea of Guinness in cooking from the wonderful Nigella, in her book Kitchen, one of my go-to reads for comfort food and seductive words, to relax and unwind, to feel inspired, to find a moment of joy in food at the end of a long day. Her Guinness gingerbread with plums was the inspiration for my own Beery Berry Crumble in my first book, A Girl Called Jack, and both stand up to long cold days and a craving for a little comfort. Today, I mused aloud on Twitter that I was compiling my favourite Irish recipes for St Patrick’s Day, and several readers asked about a Guinness chocolate brownie. Intrigued, I experimented and explored, noted down several recipe variations including my own brownie recipe scrawled into an old black notebook, and here we are: double chocolate Guinness birthday brownies. I hope you love them as much as I do.
Makes 24 small fat rich brownies, at 15p each
250ml Guinness (or other stout, if your budget doesn’t stretch), 71p
200g dark chocolate, 70p
100g milk chocolate, 70p
200g butter, 72p
300g sugar, 27p
3 eggs, 43p
150g flour, 6p
a pinch of salt, <1p
First heat your oven to 180C, and line a small roasting tray with baking paper. If baking paper isn’t the kind of thing you have lying around, give it a good grease with sunflower/vegetable oil to stop your brownies from sticking.
Pour the Guinness into a small saucepan and turn onto a low-medium heat. Perch a mixing bowl on the top – this will act as a bain marie to simultaneously melt the butter and chocolate, and reduce the Guinness. Break up the dark chocolate only, and dice the butter, and pop into the bowl for around 8 minutes to melt, stirring occasionally. Don’t be tempted to crank the heat up, I did and my Guinness bubbled up and made a ghastly sticky mess all over my hob. Patience, it will all work out.
Meanwhile, beat together your eggs and sugar with the pinch of salt until well combined. Gradually add the flour, a quarter at a time, and beat it all in before adding the next batch. You can sift it for a smoother consistency, but a thorough beating with a wooden spoon will do the job just as well, with one less thing to wash up.
When the chocolate and butter are melted and combined, gradually beat those into the mixture. Don’t be tempted to splosh it all in at once, as searing hot chocolate and cold eggs has a lot of potential to go quite wrong… There’s a reason why you don’t generally see ‘chocolate scrambled eggs’ on restaurant menus!
When the melted chocolate and butter are combined with the eggs, flour and sugar, it’s time to add the booze. It should have reduced by half (i.e. there should be 125ml there now, instead of 250ml, as half of it should have evaporated). If it hasn’t, you can either carry on reducing it for a moment now it doesn’t have a bowl of chocolate balancing on top, or just use 125ml of whatever quantity you have left – I can’t imagine it will make a frightfully noticeable difference. Pour a little into the brownie mixture, mix well, and repeat until consistent.
Pour the whole lot into your tray – it will be VERY runny. I had my doubts, slopping it in, that I was going to make anything that remotely resembled a brownie, so if you are pouring brownie soup into your tray with more than a touch of scepticism, you’re doing it exactly right. Break up your milk chocolate and poke it into the brownie soup at random intervals, and put the whole thing on the middle tray of the oven. Close the door, and don’t open it for 40 minutes, no matter how great it smells or how curious you are.
40 minutes later, turn the oven off and remove the brownies, and leave them in a safe place to cool for AT LEAST AN HOUR before slicing them. They carry on cooking while they’re resting, and this is vital. If you’re anything like me you can hover over them watching the top crack and inhaling their brilliant cakey boozy chocolately aroma BUT DON’T TOUCH THEM. If I can do it, so can you.
Then, cut into 24 pieces and demolish one of the corners, just to, you know, check. Leave to cool completely, and pop into an airtight bag or container and store for a few days. If they last that long. Someone’s eaten a third of mine already.
Recipe costs based on current Sainsburys prices as it’s where I shop – correct at the time of blogging and subject to change. Guinness £5/4x440ml cans. Basics dark chocolate 35p/100g. Basics milk chocolate 35p/100g. Basics unsalted butter 90p/250g. Fairtrade granulated sugar 90p/1kg. Mixed weight free range eggs 85p/6. Basics plain flour 55p/1.5kg. Basics table salt 25p/750g.
Jack Monroe. I’m on Twitter and Instagram @MxJackMonroe and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/agirlcalledjack
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Nigella also does a great choc cake with Guinness and cream cheese icing, but I think best recipe is this one :http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/gramercy-tavern-gingerbread-103087 follow recipe BUT add 1-2 tbsp. fresh grated ginger – it uses up other 1/2 of can (also I find Guinness freezes really well so I can get 2 cakes out of one can ) ; serve gingerbread with roast pears or apples.
Happy Birthday! I love reading your posts.
Eating a brownie just to check if they’re done is the most important step!! I may have checked if half a tray was done last night 🙂
Kitchen (and Feast) are my favourites two- huge, lengthy books packed full of gloriousness.
Happy birthday Jack! I take my hat off to you for producing this recipe after such a day as you’ve had…
Have a wonderful day and keep that determined chin up. xx
Oh I am SO making these! Thank you!
Sounds fab. I would reduce the cost of Guinness further by buying a loose bottle from a damaged multipack.
Looks delicious! Must try it. Why does your dark chocolate cost half as much as the milk?
Happy Birthday Jack 🙂
Reblogged this on Chaos, Cats and Chronic Pain and commented:
These sound yummy 🙂
That can of Guinness is smiling at me. . . . . . . I think it just winked at me. The brownies look awesome too!
It’s my youngest son’s birthday tomorrow as well, so he might very well be getting some gorgeously rich Chocolate Brownies s a treat! They should make an interesting accompaniment to the Motorcycle rear tyre that I’ve already bought!!!
Have a wonderful birthday, Jack – hope you get spoiled.
Jack will thet freeze? Dx
You’ve put the 100g of chocolate as the price of the 200g so they’re actually even cheaper 🙂 happy birthday!
Happy Birthday Jack. Thank you for making life yummier, happier, funnier…we always need people who jazz up our lives.
You have 100g of milk chocolate at 70p. Is the typo in the money or the amount of chocolate?
Lovely recipe though.
Hi Jack 🙂 Will this recipe work just as well without guiness, or do I need to replace the liquid with something?
I just made these they are yummmmmy thank you! 😊😊😊
Do you use plain or self raising flour?
I used self raising as the amount of butter and sugar going in terrified me, and they were still VERY dense and fudgy.
Hey Jack! What would be the best way to make these in advance? I want to make them at my boyfriend’s house- would I be able to take the pre-made batter with me to save time? Or should I just make everything there?
If I was going to make them and replace the egg do you think egg replacer or apple sauce would work best? (or any other suggestions?)
Ohgod if I don’t make these soon, i might actually die. *drooool*
Happy birthday you wonderful monarch of the kitchen!
Happy Birthday, Jack! and Happy St. Patrick’s Day, too, of course!
Happy Birthday, just bought your first two books from mothers day money. Have an amazing day. 🙂
Happy birthday Jack and thank you for your recipes, your wisdom, your wit and your unique self! I’ve been reading your blog and cooking your wonderful recipes for about 5 years now… I’m not usually a commenter on blogs but have just made these brownies and OMG they are amazing, I’ve just eaten two in the process of “testing the corner” 🙂 thank you for all that you give to so many people who are heartened and inspired by you everyday xx
Hi Jack, Came into work to find your recipe book waiting for me and I’m so excited to try out some recipes from this. Cooking like this is not something I do often and I struggle with it, so thank you for the inspiration, for the work you’ve put into this and just oodles of warm grateful thoughts being sent your way.
It’s woth mentioning that in lieu of baking paper, after you grease the tray, throw a spoonful of flour on it and spread it all over. Will work better than just oil/butter