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Mint + Stout = Brownies

Have you ever found a recipe that is just so perfect you can’t imagine ever making the dish a different way? This time of year, especially, I’d venture that the answer is, “Of course!” Whether it’s dad’s turkey, grandma’s dessert, or your cousin’s jello salad, there are some things that you just don’t tweak. For me, that is my tried and true brownie recipe.

Life has a great way of throwing curveballs into our always and nevers. In this case, it all started with an enticing beer. I was browsing the cooler of the local liquor store and saw an enticing blonde staring at me. Ok, it wasn’t a blond so much as a face on a can. VERNAL MINTHE STOUT in a style reminiscent of Ancient Greek tablets and the blonde with the aggressive smile, something between Greek goddess and roller derby queen. Once an employee described the taste as similar to a Thin Mint cookie, I knew I had to try some.

It was late spring, that time of year (at least in Colorado) where you may still get one snowfall and an excuse for a last stout before the ales, witbier, and pilsners of summer take over. I cracked one open and immediately thought of a cake or brownie. But the cans got pushed aside and sat, out of mind, until now.

These brownies are cakey (not fudgey) and the flavor of the mint stout is buoyed by the baking chips. It’s one of those recipes where you might not pick up on the flavor of the beer unless you’ve tasted it previously. If you really wanted to play up the stout, you could top these with a stout buttercream. And while any good stout would do, I like the hint of mint you get with this kind of beer.

Minthe Stout Brownies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder (I prefer Dutch Cocoa for a richer flavor)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup Andes mint baking chips (or other brand of your choice), divided
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon mint stout

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In small bowl, mix flour, cocoa, and salt. In stand mixer, or large bowl using electric beaters, mix butter and sugars on medium speed for about 2 minutes (mixture should start to become shiny.) To butter and sugar add eggs, one at a time mixing in completely. In small, microwave safe bowl melt 1/2 cup baking chips. (I suggest melting in 10-15 second intervals, stirring intermittently, at 50% power.) Add half of flour mixture, mix on low until just combined. With spatula or wooden spoon, stir in melted chocolate just until combined. Stir in stout. Gently stir in remaining flour just until combined. Stir in remaining baking chips. Pour into greased 9×13″ pan. Bake 40 minutes.

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