Monday, March 15, 2010

Camping Food, Part I: Caramel Guinness Brownies

In New Orleans, the St. Patty's Day festivities began this weekend, but we skipped the parade and went camping with some friends. In keeping with this week's Irish theme, I decided to make some brownies with Guinness. I found various recipes using stout beers in baking with chocolate, but I decided to adapt my own. I thought it would be nice to add some homemade caramel to the brownies to complement the coffee flavors of Guinness. Also, I thought that these brownies would most likely have a very deep chocolate flavor which would be benefited by a sweet, delicate cocoa icing. Also, if you don't want to take the extra step to make the caramel you don't necessarily have to--these brownies are perfectly decadent without that addition.

For the caramel:
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup heavy cream

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cream of tartar, and 1/2 cup of water. Cook over high heat without stirring until sugar begins to melt and edges turn golden. Swirl the pan to cover evenly, and continue cooking until the sugar turns golden amber. Wear oven mitts (sugar will be extremely hot and may splatter) while carefully pouring the heavy cream down the side of the pan, stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon until combined. Transfer to a medium bowl to cool.
(Note: This caramel with be very thick and chewy. For a thinner caramel, use more cream.)

For the brownies:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 stick butter
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
4 oz. white chocolate
4 oz. semi sweet chocolate
11.5 oz. milk chocolate chips
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
12 oz Guinness extra stout, room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour and cocoa. In a double boiler melt butter, unsweetened chocolate, white chocolate, and semi sweet chocolate; whisk together until smooth. In a medium mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar until fluffy. Whisk melted chocolate and Guinness into four/cocoa mixture. Then, mix in egg/sugar mixture. Stir in milk chocolate chips. Spoon half the batter into the prepare pan, being sure to get about half the chocolate chips. Dollop about 5 tablespoons of caramel on different spots on the batter in the pan, streaking the caramel so that there will be just a touch of caramel per brownie. You will only use about half of the prepared caramel (the rest would be nice with apples!). Pour the remaining brownie batter in the pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter, softened

Beat all ingredients together in a small bowl and spread over warm brownies.

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