Monday, 16 August 2010

Chocolate Guinness Brownies

Most of the online recipes for Chocolate Guinness Brownies are remarkably similar, and they seem to be based on this recipe for what are called 'Grace Neill's Chocolate and Guinness Brownies' originally published  in "The New Irish Table" by Margaret M. Johnson. Adaptations use more flour, add chocolate chips, play around with the types of chocolate used and bake in a larger pan, but are essentially this recipe.

Having baked them, I can understand why most people use a larger pan - these were too deep for brownies, and it's not often I have that complaint about a recipe - the reverse is usually true! It's difficult, without trying alternatives, to see why white chocolate is used, rather than a lower cocoa solids percentage dark chocolate, but I'm guessing that the extra cocoa butter affects the texture. I used 4oz of white chocolate, 3oz of 85% chocolate and 5oz of 72% chocolate which has extra cocoa butter (Green and Black's 'Chocolate for Cooks'). I also used Murphy's Irish Stout instead of Guinness, but otherwise I followed the recipe exactly, although I added a couple of minutes to the baking time as they didn't seem done at 25 minutes.

Having had two tasting sessions now, I still can't decide if I like them! If someone had handed me a dessert plate, with a slice of this brownie, a drizzle of chocolate sauce and a neat quenelle of sweetened whipped cream, and called it a 'Chocolate and Guinness Terrine' or something similar, I would have been really pleased, but I can't reconcile either the taste or the texture with what I know as a brownie.

It's not very sweet, for one thing. This isn't something I usually complain about, but in this case, the bitterness of the stout beer and the large amount of cocoa, isn't balanced with enough sugar. The stout isn't evident as a flavour, but gives a subtle overtone of bitterness. Then there's the texture - it's very close textured, but in a mousse-y way rather than a cake crumb way. I don't mind dense brownies, but here the close texture doesn't give a dense fudgy feel in the mouth. When eaten it feels light but cloying - there's not much of substance there to chew on - a very difficult sensation to describe. Anyway, it's a texture that's fine for a dessert, but not a cake, if you can see what I'm getting at! Having said all that, it's not an unpleasant flavour, unless you really need more sweetness. I don't think I'm likely to make these again, given the number of better brownie recipes I have, although it's worth noting the recipe for an unusual dinner party dessert!

8 comments:

C said...

They do look really dark and moist. What a shame that they aren't really to your taste. It's frustrating to spend time and money on something that doesn't turn out how you hope, and then even more frustrating to not be able to pinpoint what exactly you don't like about them. I sort of understand what you mean about the texture - not what you were expecting I suppose!

Gillian said...

Ah I know this texture. Had the same from Nigella's brownies when I baked them in a smaller than recommended tin. Had to think of them as brownies ... but a 'dessert' with bling sauce would be just right!

Lucie said...

These look lovely, they do look like a dessert and not very brownie like. I totally agree that if you are expecting a certain taste and texture, it is always disappoining if they differ from that expectation. They look certainly worth giving a try. Thanks for sharing - I do enjoy your descriptions :)

Suelle said...

The Chief Tester enjoyed them with whipped cream and a chocolate toffee sauce, but agreed that they were too rich to be eaten as a cake.

Foodycat said...

It looks like a solid slab of truffle! Roll them into balls, cover them in chocolate and give them as Christmas presents?

Jude said...

They look gorgeous Sue. Have bookmarked your recipe. (As a pud).

Suelle said...

Foodycat - it's a bit more set than a truffle mix, but cutting it into cubes and covering with chocolate would make good after dinner treats with coffee.

figjamandlimecordial.com said...

Hmm...my first comment here seems to have been eaten by cyberspace! :) Like you, I'm puzzled by the use of white chocolate..