About 99% of the recipes and content on this blog are health-focused. But as I love to preach moderation, here’s one that is definitely a “sometimes” treat. Enjoy!
A few years ago, Mr E and I had a party and wound up with an obscene amount of leftover beer. There was so much we couldn’t even fit it all in our fridge and had to keep our extra large cooler outside filled with ice to keep the beer from going bad. If there’s one thing Mr E and I hate to see, it’s beer gone to waste. So for the next month, I aimed to cook as many meals as possible that involved beer in the recipe. Since then, I have been slightly obsessed with coming up with new beer-themed recipes. So this year for the holidays, when we were invited to a party with Mr E’s brother and his wife’s super-Irish family, I decided this was the perfect crowd to trial a new recipe that I’d had in my head: Boozy Brownies with Irish Coffee Whipped Cream.
As much as I love to bake (and eat baked goods), I just don’t do it as much these days. The main reason is that it’s just me and Mr E in the house. And there’s no reason to bake an entire cake or tray of cookies for just 2 people. Talk about temptation to overeat! Plus in our house, Mr E gets bored with any leftover item after a few days, and then it just sits until it’s not worth moving around in the fridge anymore. So now my baking skills primarily come into play for large family dinners, parties, and tailgates.
The brownies get their booziness from Irish Stout beer. Most people are familiar with Guinness, but as a local Jersey Shore girl, I wanted to support my local Jersey Shore brewery. The stout for these particular brownies came from Kane Brewery located in Ocean, NJ. We were lucky to get our hands on a bottle of their limited release, Silent Night Imperial Stout. This particular beer is a hopped up stout with a toasty, malty flavor of coffee, chocolate, and dark fruits.
Stout beer also has some surprising health benefits. First and foremost, don’t let the dark color fool you – a 12 oz bottle of stout can cost you about 125 calories. That’s just 15 calories more than a Bud Light. Stout also contains flavonoids, the same type of antioxidant found in wine and dark chocolate. Research is also finding that drinking stout can help reduce blood clots and lower the risk of heart attacks. And don’t forget about the probiotic benefits of beer due to the fermented yeast. This isn’t a license to over-consume stout beers, but rather information to help make informed choices when you’re out.
Like most baking projects, this one is a little time consuming due to time needed in the oven and the cool down process in order to put it all together. And as much as I try to do most of my kitchen projects from scratch, every now and then you just need to take a shortcut. In this case, my shortcut was packaged brownie mix. An extra egg was used to give the brownies a more cake-like texture, and butter in place of oil was used to add a rich flavor. And, of course, you can’t forget the stout. Once the batter is mixed, place in a square pan for a thicker brownie, pop it in the oven, and get working on the toppings.
I opted for a whipped cream frosting over buttercream because I like the lighter and milder flavor (I often find buttercream just too sweet that it hurts my teeth). If you’ve never made whipped cream from scratch, once you do it, you’ll learn how easy it is and never buy the stuff from a can again. The rich, creamy flavor gets lost in the aerosol can, plus there are all those tasty and questionable preservatives that are added to extend shelf life. And don’t even get me started on Cool Whip – bleh! There are a few tricks to making whipped cream. First and foremost, whipping cream should be used to give the whipped cream a lighter, fluffy texture (heavy cream will whip as well, but the outcome will be much denser). Secondly, a cold metal bowl and mixing beaters help speed up the solidifying process and increases the volume, making it extra fluffy, so make sure to chill the bowl and whisk beaters in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. Sugar (either granulated or confectioners) is needed to help stabilize the whipped cream. Finally, an electric mixer is the ideal tool to add as much air as possible. If using a handheld electric mixer, make sure to rotate the bowl while mixing. This recipe tastes like a solid spoonful of Irish Coffee, so if you’re lucky to have leftover whipped cream, save it in an airtight container and enjoy as a topping on hot chocolate or coffee. The whipped cream will keep for 2 days in the fridge, or you can store in the freezer. If the whipped cream gets too liquidy, just give it another blast with the electric mixer.
Finally, a chocolate ganache is drizzled over the top, containing a little stout and Irish cream for good measure. Both the whipped cream and stout can be made while the brownies are baking. Allow the brownies to cool for at least 1 hour before putting whipped cream and ganache on top. Enjoy with a healthy glass of milk!
Do you like to be a little naughty with your baking and incorporate beer or liquor into your recipes? If you’ve never tried, give these a shot and tell me what you think in the Comments below!
Remember to tag me on social media and use #NutritionNuptials for a chance to have your creations shared.
Boozy Brownies with Irish Coffee Whipped Cream
For the Brownies:
- 1 18- oz package brownie mix recommended: Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix
- ½ C Irish Stout beer
- 1/3 C butter melted
- 2 eggs
Irish Coffee Whipped Cream:
- 1 C Cold heavy whipping cream
- ½ C confectioners sugar
- 1 TB unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp instant espresso coffee
- 1 TB Irish Cream
For the ganache:
- 3 oz dark chocolate chips
- 2 tbsp heavy cream can use whipping cream
- 1 tsp Irish Cream
- 1 tsp Irish Stout
Preheat over to 325°
Place metal mixing bowl and mixer whisk(s) into freezer for at least 15 minutes.
Mix together brownie mix, stout beer, butter, and eggs. Pour batter into greased pan (recommend 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 square pan) and place in oven to bake 45-50 minutes. Brownies will be done when a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
While brownies bake, prepare the whipped cream. Pour whipping cream, confectioners sugar, cocoa powder, espresso crystals, and Irish Cream into cold metal bowl. Using an electric mixer, whisk whipped cream mixture on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes until stiff peaks form. Whipped cream should be completely solid and stiff when ready.
To make the ganache, combine chocolate and heavy cream in a bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir the heavy cream into the chocolate until mixed. Stick back in the microwave for another 15-30 seconds until melted. Whisk in Irish Stout and Irish Cream and let cool to room temperature.
Allow brownies to cool completely (~ 1 hour) before assembling final product. Spread whipped cream topping over brownies in a ½-in thick layer (alternatively, cut brownies first and then spread whipped cream individually on brownies). Using a spoon, drizzle ganache over brownies. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve.
If there is leftover whipped cream, place in airtight container and enjoy as a topping for hot chocolate or coffee beverages.
1 brownie = 227 calories, 10g fat (3g sat fat), 33g carbs, 0g fiber, 3g protein, 103 mg sodium (Source: SELF Nutrition Data)