... to me.
One year ago today I wrote my first blog post.
Then I wrote 67 more.
So I figure I deserved some chocolate brownies.
All mixed together.
Yes, its been one year to the date that I quit my "real" job (and despite my egotistical assumptions, the company did not tailspin out of control) and started writing here. I thought March went fast. This year was warp speed. I actually feel incredibly blessed to have had the past year to work here. I am a better person for it, no question. Definitely a better cook and thankfully a better photographer. I have had small pieces of my work published in places that only make me and my mama proud but that is all that matters. As always, much room for improvement. I think I have learned to embrace being a constant work in progress. Physically. Intellectually. Literally. And I am comfortable with that. Looking back at my first few posts, they are nails-on-a-chalkboard cringe worthy. And I thought about deleting them but they are a good reminder of progress I think. (probably much like fashion from the 80's)
These brownies are heavy. Full stop. No light and airy dessert here. They are dense. BUT, they are not too sweet and you don't need much to satisfy a chocolate craving. I used Cocoa Nibs in place of chocolate chips and very little sugar. Cocoa nibs take some getting used to but its hard to find chocolate chips without a lot of unnecessary junk in them. (such as Palm oil & dyes & artificial flavours) I think some Little (and Big) ones will think they taste "funny" on their own but if you hide them in a sea of dense chocolate cake or let them sprinkle them in their oatmeal or popcorn, they may come around.
I think you could play with some fruit in these chocolaty squares of heaven...dark cherry juice or orange zest perhaps? I also used some whole wheat flour which adds to their weight (ironically, and mine) so I have adjusted this recipe back to using straight AP flour.
Beer and Chocolate CAN go well together. Probably not a Bud Light and Kit Kat, but some of the darker stouts are complimentary to chocolate; dark chocolate in particular. A favorite blogger of mine recently posted about how to host a perfect chocolate tasting party and it got me thinking (1) Mister & I are sooooo doing that and (2) you could probably work some cool stouts in there at the beginning of a tasting flight. The stout in these brownies is subtle but I think it makes them interesting. In the end, the key step is to taste the beer both BEFORE you put it in the batter, and to not leave any remaining beer AFTER you have measured out the required cup. Trust me. And no judging.
So yes, its been a year since that first now cringe-worthy post. I often get asked what the intention of this blog is, or when I am going back to "real" work (my words, not theirs). I am happy to say I am happy. Right here. Now. I am not planning anything other than what other veggie I can use my new julienne peeler on (stay tuned) and how I train for a 10K in 5 months 11 days & 17 hours.
In addition to the best day job of raising a precious Little, this is my work now. It may pay wayyyyyyy less than other work I have done in the past but....
... but I also never got to spend an afternoon mixing chocolate & beer.
Dark Chocolate Stout Brownies 4 ounces high quality dark chocolate squares
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled to room temperature
2/3 cup dark stout (or your beer of choice, darker is better)
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp espresso powder
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup cocoa nibs, plus additional for sprinkling on top.
1. Preheat oven to 350°
2. Set up a double boiler (or a heat safe bowl over a sauce pan of boliing water, ensuring the bowl never touches the water). Add the dark chocolate and coconut oil and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat.
3. Open beer (ensure to take a sip to make sure its good) and pour into chocolate mixture. (Promptly drink any remaining beer) Stir to combine. Set aside.
4. In a separate bowl, add the flour, cocoa, baking powder, espresso, and salt.
5. To the chocolate mixture, add the egg and sugar and stir until combined.
6. Add the dry to the wet and gently stir until combined. Add in the cocoa nibs.
7. Pour into a prepared (greased and floured or lined with parchment paper) 9 by 13 pan. Sprinkle any additional nibs and a few pinches of sea salt on top of brownies.
8. Place in the middle of the rack and bake 25-32 minutes – the top should be set when ready