Monday, March 22, 2010

Recipe: Black and Tan Brownies

I love all things Irish.  And even though my grandfather gave up his birthright to the motherland thus causing it to be ridiculously hard for me or my own to claim legal citizen status there, I still claim my heritage.  Silly, I know.  My family's been removed from Mother Erin for four generations now, but that doesn't stop us.  My cousin married a fine Irish gent by the name of Barry and now she spends half a year there (and yeah, I'm super jealous).  I have never been to Ireland, but that doesn't mean I won't make it someday.  In fact, my favorite Irish cookbook author, Margaret Johnson, didn't make it until she was 40 and she's been there over 50 times now!  If she can do it, so can I.  And the recipe today is one of hers, that was in this month's issue of Cooking Light.

I made these for our annual St. Patty's Day dinner with my husband's cousin and everyone really liked them.  The flavor is very different from a traditional brownie and you could taste the stout in them.  They weren't bad tasting by any means, but it was a taste unlike anything we'd ever had before.  It was rich and deep, and did I mention very rich?  Most of us had a hard time finishing just one brownie!  I highly recommend these for any time of year, but definitely for St. Patrick's Day!

Black and Tan Brownies

Black and Tan Brownies (from Cooking Light, March 2010)

Tan Brownies:
6 TBSP butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
4.5 oz AP flour (roughly 1 cup)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Black Brownies:
3 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 TBSP butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup Guinness Stout
4.5 oz AP flour (roughly 1 cup)
1/4 tsp salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and prep a 9"x13" pan with cooking spray.
  2. Make the Tan Brownies first.  In a large bowl, beat the brown sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  3. In a separate small bowl (or your measuring cup), mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add the flour mixture and the pecans to the wet mixture, mixing until just combined.
  4. Spoon into your prepped pan and bake for 10-12 minutes. 
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the Black Brownies.  Melt the chocolate in a large microwave safe bowl for about 1 minute on high, stirring every 20 seconds or so.
  6. Add the sugar stirring until combined. 
  7. Add in the remaining eggs, vanilla, and Guinness stirring with a whisk until well combined.
  8. In a separate container, mix the flour and salt and add to the wet mixture, stirring to combine.
  9. Pull the Tan Brownies out of the oven and pour the Black Brownie mixture on top, then pop it back into the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out almost clean.
  10. Cool and cut to serve.  Enjoy!
Some food for thought...
  • Mise en place is the key to success for this recipe.  Both brownies use some of the same ingredients so make sure to measure everything out, then separate it into Black and Tan areas on the counter to minimize confusion.
  • Don't have pecans?  Use walnuts instead!  Don't like nuts at all?  More's the pity I say, but if you don't like them (or Heaven forbid are allergic to them), you can leave them out.
  • I made mine in a 10"x10" baking pan and got 16 very large brownies.  They were very rich and I could have probably doubled that and been just as happy.  Cooking Light says the recipe makes 32 servings at 162 calories, 7 g of fat, and that sounds about right to me.
  • Per Cooking Light, "...the phrase 'black and tan' referred to the much-reviled auxiliary force of English soldiers sent to Ireland to suppress the Irish rebels after the 1916 Easter Rising.  Eventually, a much loved drink made with half Guinness Stout and half Harp Lager assumed the name..."
  • CL's recipe actually calls for 1 cup of sugar for the Black Brownies, but they also call for unsweetened chocolate.  I used semi sweet chocolate, so I reduced the amount of sugar to compensate.  You can go either way on this one, I think.
  • If Guinness is not your thing, you could probably substitute a different brand of stout for this recipe.  Unfortunately, I really don't think there is a way to make these without the beer in them, so if you're not a drinker, it's probably best to avoid these even if most of the alcohol bakes off.
Happy Baking!

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