Stout Brownie Dreams

I'm going to state it right here, right now.

If you are looking for a Duncan Hines brownie out of a box, this isn't the place for it.

Truly, thanks for stopping by but I promise you, this recipe will NOT yield the "brownies out of a box" equivalent you may be yearning for.

I can tell you the story behind how this recipe came to be, but I will boil it down to one word...


Specifically Stout. Now, before we all spin off onto a tangent about whether the flavour of beer is necessary for a good brownie it isn't NECESSARY, but it sure makes a good brownie better!
The stout I used is an oatmeal stout from a Nova Scotia (Cape Breton) brewery called Big Spruce. Here's their tasting notes on the beer -  "A rich, moderately dry stout with deep chocolate, licorice and coffee flavours".  So I am figuring that this will marry well with the ingredients in my brownies.

Before you go off and start slamming ingredients in a bowl, do this: take a can of your favourite stout and empty into a pot (dipper for my Newfoundland people) and put it on simmer.  My 497ml can boiled on low for 20+ minutes and reduced by 2/3rds giving the stout the oomph I think this recipe needs. Stir occasionally while simmering especially near the end. I've put the stout reduction I didn't use in this recipe in a jar and refrigerated it for other projects.

Things you Need (also known as ingredients)

3 eggs
1 cup white sugar (regular stuff)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup golden yellow sugar
Note: the brown/yellow sugar ratio is what I liked and had available. Feel free to adjust those to your liking - just have it a cup

1/3 cup stout reduction
2&1/2 tsps vanilla (not artificial)
1/2 tsp kosher salt

1&1/4 cups cocoa powder, sifted (good quality stuff and not hot chocolate mix - don't be foolish)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp espresso powder (optional)

3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
1/2 cup chopped milk chocolate
Note: this is optional and the ratios/types of chocolate are up to you.

1 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled

Things you Do (also known as directions)

Preheat oven to 300F (or 280F convection). Line 8X8 (9X9) square pan with non stick spray and parchment paper - you'll thank me for that later.

In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow. It's what they call the ribbon stage? Add all sugars. 

Add stout, salt and vanilla. Mix on medium for 15 seconds.

Add cocoa, flour, cinnamon and espresso and mix for 30 seconds.

Add butter and mix just until it all comes together in a nice pourable concoction. Mix in chopped chocolate by hand until just combined.

Pour in greased and lined pan. 

The timing of when they are done is up for debate and is to a person's preference - I like a slightly underdone, very fudgy brownie and for me, the 47 minute mark was perfect. That said, I started testing (as below) at about the 42 minute mark to make sure it didn't cook it too much.
Check for doneness with the tried-and-true toothpick method: a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan should come out clean (ish) - I'm my case, not clean but has some crumbs and a little moist chocolate. When it's done, remove to a rack to cool for at least an hour to set up. The brownie still cooks and sets in the hot pan so just, for the love of god, leave it alone.

I recommend cutting into smaller pieces, these brownies are very decadently rich so a little goes a LONG way.



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