March 16, 2014

Guinness Brownies

I like to cook when I have time.  Cooking sweets isn't my favorite though since it's only the two of us.  I hate having desserts around since it's unnecessary calories, split between two people, isn't the best decision in the world.

I love dark beer and I love Guinness.  This recipe is great, festive and allows me to bring a treat into work to share with the masses. Pinterest gives me a lot of inspiration and this recipe I found on I've been waiting for St. Patty's Day to come around to try it.

Like many blog recipes, inspiration comes from another blog and they get it from another and so on, this is true with this recipe.  What I followed, for the most part, came from this post by Blondie's Cakes & Things.

While making this of course I had to have festive music playing.  iTunes has two great Irish music stations right now through iTunes Radio.  I personally like the Irish Rock one.  I really wanted to listen to a CD of my favorite Irish rock band, Seven Nations, but couldn't find it. :(  But if you ever get to see them play in person it's a must do!

What is nice about this recipe is you don't need any crazy ingredients and most you probably already have.

Ingredient List:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (I used wheat flour)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 8 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate (I bought Ghirardelli chips and measured out 8 oz.)
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate (I bought Toll House White Chocolate Chips)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar (I used the baking Splenda/White sugar mix that I've been trying to use up)
  • 2 bottles Guinness Draught Beer
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used a mint and chocolate combo bag I found on sale at Target, looks like it comes out for winter baking)

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).  Spray 9x13 inch baking pan with non-stick spray or lightly grease with butter.
2.  Pour both bottles of Guinness into a medium saucepan and simmer on medium until it is reduced down to 1 1/4 cups.  Set it aside to cool while you work on the rest of the recipe.(This took me awhile, I didn't feel like it was reducing.  I covered it for awhile.  After about 30 minutes I took it off the heat and as it cooled it seemed to reduce.  I measured out 1 1/4 cups of the liquid when I was ready to use it and had very little left over.) 

3.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa and salt until evenly combined.

4.  Melt butter, bittersweet chocolate and white chocolate together in microwave.  Melt for 30 seconds, stir, 30 seconds stir and so on until it is melted and mixed together.  (It took me 3 times of 30 seconds then stirring for it to be ready)

5.  In a large mixing bowl beat eggs and sugar with a mixer until it is light and fluffy.  Add melted chocolate mixture to bowl, mixing until combined.

Look how festive I am with my green and orange!
6.  Mix flour mixture into chocolate mixture.  (You might want to stir it in first to get the cocoa 'wet' or the mixer will make it 'dusty')  Mix in reduced beer and vanilla.

7.  Pour into making pan.  Sprinkle mint and chocolate chips on top.

8.  Bake 25 minutes on center rack of oven or until a toothpick comes out clean.
9.  Let brownies cool then eat and enjoy! 

I think these came out pretty good!  The mint chocolate chips are a good addition if you like that type of thing.  It sure did make the apartment smell good.  This recipe makes a dark, dense brownie.  The beer enhances the dark chocolate taste, so if you like dark chocolate you are good to go!  Since these are pretty rich, I was able to get 24 brownies out of one pan.

Here is the nutritional break down based on what I added to MyFitnessPal (24 servings per batch):
  • 234 Calories per brownie
  • 30 carbs
  • 12 fat
  • 3 protein
  • 46 sodium
  • 2 fiber

"Tastes like a thin mint smashed on top of a brownie."

March 12, 2014

Breweries of the United States

This is pretty sweet!!!  This interactive map of the United States lists, what looks to be, most of the craft breweries out there.  Click the map below to take you to the website, then click the map on that site to zoom into the different areas of the U.S to find your favorite breweries.

Beware this map can definitely suck you in but it's fun to see where the hot spots of craft beer are and where they aren't (eh hem North Dakota).

Via Pop Chart Lab
You can buy a print of this map for a reasonable price although it says it is currently back ordered.