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A Real Bastard of a Brownie

September 3, 2010

Is it just me, or is it often difficult (read: impossible) to taste the beer in many so-called beer foods?  I’ve had cheddar beer soups, beer brownies and cheesecakes, beer can chicken, beer battered everything, etc. and honestly, the most I’ve ever tasted is the smallest hint of malt or hops.  It’s almost always a disappointment.  There are exceptions to this rule, sure, but generally, I don’t think people are letting the beer shine through in their cooking.  I’m going to make it my personal goal with this blog to make the beer a costar in the recipes, not just a supporting character.

Enter Double Bastard Brownies.  Actually they’re Triple Double Bastard Brownies.  (Does that make them Sextuple Bastard Brownies?)  And they are spectacular.  2009 Double Bastard is one hell of a beer, and I was not about let mere chocolate overpower the creamy, caramely, buttery notes of that most Arrogant of strong ales.  If I wasn’t going to drink it, I still wanted to taste it.  So I endeavored to amp up the beer profile in this brownie, bring it to a whole new level.

Step one, put beer in the batter.  Easy enough, but a bit tired, a bit obvious.  How else to beerify the brownies?  What does a good brownie need?  Nuts.  Yes, I am the part of the 50% of the population that insists on nuts in my brownies, and I don’t want to hear it from the rest of you.  Your judgement is flawed.  Anyway, I decided on beer-toasted walnuts for the batter.  I took about half a cup of walnut pieces and soaked them in some Double Bastard for about 5 minutes.  Then I drained them (into a glass–why dump out good beer just because it’s touched some nuts?  [That’s what she said]), spread them on a cookie sheet, sprinkled them lightly with sugar, and toasted them in a 350 degree oven for about 7 minutes, just long enough to lightly caramelize the sugars on the nuts.  Perfection.  Well worth eating on their own.  Maybe I’ll try that with raw almonds sometime, just for an awesome snack…

Finally, I decided on a Double Bastard Caramel ribbon to swirl into the brownies.  I know, madness right?  I googled “perfect caramel recipe” and was unexpectedly subjected to multiple doctoral dissertations on the temperamental qualities of caramel, the differences between wet and dry caramel, the finer nuances of candy making, etc.  Maybe on an ordinary day, this may have been acceptable, but I was impatient to move these brownies from the theoretical/development stages to the hole in my face, so I abandoned my search and made up my own caramel recipe.  I combined 1/2 cup Double Bastard with 1 cup sugar in a saucepan.  I heated it over medium heat until it looked dissolved and caramelly.  Oh, and I threw in 2 tablespoons of butter, just for good measure.  Mmmmmm, butter.  It didn’t get too thick, but it did thicken a little bit.

Time to put it all together.

Triple Double Bastard Brownies
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup Double Bastard
3/4 cup butter, melted
3 eggs
1/2 cup Double Bastard nuts
1 recipe Double Bastard caramel

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Mix everything but the nuts and caramel together in a large mixing bowl.  Do not over mix, jut make sure all dry ingredients are incorporated into the wet.

Fold in nuts.  Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper.  Pour batter into prepared dish and smooth with a rubber spatula, making sure to fill the corners of the dish.  Pour the caramel gently in vertical stripes across the top of the batter.  Then use a butter knife to cut horizontally across the surface of the batter to create little swirlies of caramel on the top of the brownies.  Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (just don’t stick it in a caramel spot!).

Lift the brownies on the parchment paper out of the dish and allow to cool on a wire rack.

These brownies are incredibly rich, malty, chewy and sticky.  The longer they cool, the less sticky they get, so if you’re going to serve them warm, make sure you’ve got plates and forks handy.

The Double Bastard really shines through on these brownies.  The chocolate pairs with the malty sweetness to strike a delicate balance.  And the nuts add amazing flavor and texture.  Friends and coworkers seemed to like them too.  I got resounding votes of approval on these.  If anyone tries this recipe with anything other than Double Bastard, I’d be very interested to hear if the beer stands up to the chocolate.  I think it is a combination of the multiple beer elements in the brownies along with the strength of the Bastard’s flavor that makes the beer such a pronounced flavor in the recipe.  Anyway, happy baking everyone!!!

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Denise permalink
    September 4, 2010 3:19 pm

    Mmmmmm. Those look really good, Sam. When are you moving back home? It’s kind of unfair, in a way, that when you cooked at home you were a vegan and you waited til you moved out to start making all the good stuff.

  2. September 7, 2010 3:57 pm

    I totally feel your disappointment. I’ve tried my hand at the ever-popular stout cupcake and all I noticed was a little extra moistness (that’s what…nevermind.) It was delicious, sure, but I wanted to be able to taste the roasty, maltiness of the stout.

    Thanks for sharing your magic. My husband’s bday is in a few weeks. He’d lose his shit if I made them with Sublimely Self-Righteous.

    • Derek permalink
      September 7, 2010 4:13 pm

      These sound excellent, and I’ll definitely give them a try when I can get my hands on more Double Bastard (unfortunately, not available here in MN except via traveling friends).

      It’s a timely post, though, because I just made version 3 of my beer cupcakes today and they were a big hit at work… the beer really shines through in these. I’ve been using home brewed imperial porter, but if I could get my hands on some Stone Smoked Porter, I’d want to give it a whirl.

      Thanks Hopflower, I’ll keep reading!

  3. September 7, 2010 6:42 pm

    Yo Yo Yo Hopflower!

    Great read! Great pics! These brownies look awesome! Pity my wife is allergic to walnuts (but I’m not!). I also like your “Toasted Walnuts” idea. They would be killer as a beer or whisky snack pairing.


  4. acousticat permalink
    September 8, 2010 7:02 am

    You are a genius!

  5. September 9, 2010 6:46 am

    Just like pot brownies, the two flavors marry like Bonnie and Clyde. That’s what she said, anyway.

  6. Dom permalink
    September 9, 2010 6:32 pm

    I hope these are the ones from the blood drive that you did because if they are they are amazing. I wanted to eat them all.

  7. Michael permalink
    September 9, 2010 9:39 pm

    I have a batch in the oven right now! I used regular Arrogant Bastard due to my local shop being out of double… I’ll let ya know how they taste

    • Michael permalink
      September 9, 2010 10:32 pm

      Wow… weren’t kidding about sticky! They turned out great, I did about 38-40 mins@ 325. I’m going to try it with Russian Imperial Stout next time

  8. lori featherstone permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:02 pm


    So, yah. Mine are in the oven, they smell… TERRIFIC!!!! Here’s the catch… DOUBLE Bastard is not availible in my area until NOVEMBER, my dear lovely friends birthday is TODAY, and this was my secret plan for awesome birthday gift… result… I am trying to make them with Firestone Walkers robust porter. I just walked thru the kitchen, and I can SMELL the beer. YUM!!! There was quite a bit of caramel, so we’ll see how that plays out. Will let you know on the taste factor as soon as they cool. thus far, I’m thinking that FW is a pretty solid substitute.

    • lori featherstone permalink
      September 10, 2010 12:46 pm

      okay, wow. yum… porter definitely stands up to the test! Can’t wait to pass these babies over tonight! now i gotta take a few of them over to BEVMO for the guys that were helping me try to locate the double bastard. rockstar recipe!

  9. Samantha permalink*
    September 10, 2010 11:05 pm

    Thanks everyone for all the positive feedback! I will definitely be making an effort to post a new recipe weekly.
    Just a note, I work at Stone Brewing Co., but not in the Bistro kitchen. These are not Stone invented or sanctioned recipes. I’m just a beer-cooking enthusiast and I happen to be using a lot of Stone beers because they are amazing. So just know that these are not items you will find in the Stone Bistro. I’m simply a fan. Thanks!!

  10. October 9, 2010 8:15 pm

    Just made them and WOW! Perfect dessert from a perfect dinner. Awesome recipe. Thank you!!!

  11. Derek S permalink
    March 15, 2011 6:53 pm

    I have now made the brownies with Double Bastard Ale and Goose Island Bourbon County. I recommend both of them.

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