Sunday, March 27, 2011

Guinness Stout Brownies

I wanted to make some sort of St. Patrick's Day treat and was torn between baking something of the chocolate-mint variety or something involving beer. When I saw this recipe for Guinness Stout brownies I decided to go with beer because nothing quite says St. Patrick's Day like Guinness.

These brownies were well-received by Dennis and my co-workers. They're a little fudgier than most brownie recipes but had a nice balance between the Guinness and chocolate flavors. Even if people who aren't Guinness fans (they don't know what they're missing!) would enjoy these. I can definitely see making these a yearly treat.

Guinness Stout Brownies (adapted from


1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used about a ¼ cup dutch process cocoa and ½ cup unsweetened cocoa since I didn’t have enough unsweetened cocoa powder)

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted room temperature butter, cut into cubes

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup superfine or granulated sugar

1-1/4 cups (10 ounces) Guinness Extra Stout beer at room temperature (make sure you don’t include foam in your measurement)

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with nonstick foil or regular aluminum foil sprayed with non-stick spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt until evenly combined. Set aside.

Melt butter, bittersweet chocolate, and white chocolate chips in a double-boiler over very low heat, stirring constantly until melted. Remove from heat.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add melted chocolate mixture, beating until combined.

Beat reserved flour mixture into melted chocolate mixture. Whisk in Guinness stout beer. The batter will seem a bit thin. Drop semisweet chocolate chips evenly on top of batter (some will sink in).

Pour into prepared baking pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes on center rack in the oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean.

Let brownies cool, uncovered, to room temperature.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


While at the grocery store I came across a new product from Hershey’s, Cookies ‘n Crème drops. They’re just a drop version of the regular bar, which is white chocolate studded with chocolate cookie pieces. I knew I wanted to incorporate them into something but wasn’t sure what. When I saw this blondie recipe from Mark Bittman mentioned on Smitten Kitchen it looked like just the ticket. The beauty of this recipe is that you can add whatever you want to it. Throw in some coconut, some dried fruit, whatever your heart desires.

Besides the drops (which I smashed with a mallet to make them bite-sized), I also threw in some chocolate chips. Dennis said he would have liked even more chocolate chips, so next time I’ll have to add in some more. Everyone agreed that the addition of the cookies ‘n crème bar was a nice surprise. I’m looking forward to endless variations of this recipe.

Blondies (Adapted from How to Cook Everything & Smitten Kitchen)

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted over low heat
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon almond extract

Pinch salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

Add up to 2 cups of mix-ins – I did a mix of semi-sweet chocolate chips and smashed Hershey’s Cookies ‘n Crème drops

Butter a 9 x 13 pan.

Mix melted butter with brown sugar – beat until smooth. Beat in eggs and then vanilla and almond extract.

Add salt, stir in flour. Mix in any additions.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350°F 20-25 minutes, or until set in the middle. Cool on rack before cutting them.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New Jersey Crumb Cake (aka New York Crumb Cake)

If you’re from northern NJ then you’ve probably heard of B&W Bakery. They’re famous for their crumbcake which is about 2/3 crumb, 1/3 cake. My parents were nice enough to get us a crumbcake for Christmas which we froze. Once we started to run low I went on the hunt for a recipe I could make for when we had a hankering.

I came across one recipe that called for 6 sticks of butter. 6 sticks! Even I couldn’t justify that. So I continued searching and found this recipe which has the perfect ratio of crumb to cake. Dennis gave the cake a thumbs up but said the crumbs were a bit dry. I’m thinking next time to throw some more butter in there because when is more butter not the answer?

New Jersey Crumb Cake (adapted from


2 tablespoons butter, plus extra for brushing pan

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup light-brown sugar, firmly packed

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

confectioners' sugar, for dusting


Place rack in center of oven, and preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly brush a 9-by-12 1/2-inch baking pan with butter, dust with flour, and tap to remove excess. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, the granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a second bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, butter, and vanilla.

Using a rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pour melted butter over flour mixture, and toss with a rubber spatula until large crumbs form.

Sprinkle crumbs over batter and bake, rotating pan after 10 minutes.

Continue baking until a cake tester comes out clean, about 10 minutes more.

Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.