Cannonball Depth Charge!

spoooongebob!

SO. Indulgence time, ready…go.

These cupcakes have THREE kinds of alcohol in them. Impressed? Yes. You should be. And no… I did NOT bake these in my car… though I’m pretty sure my car would smell aaaamazing if I had done so. Though perhaps making your car smell like alcoholic beverages is really not the best idea…

Anywayyy.

As a belated Vati’s Day reward for Vacuum Vati (AAND as a virtual birthday present for Carl—Happy Birthday!!), I decided to make him/them cupcakes! But wait. Not just ANY cupcakes, oh no. These correspond appropriately to the logic these two jokers so often spout when they get together: beer = a meal in a glass; cupcakes = sissy dessert. By my logic, then: beer in a cupcake = a complete meal + non-sissy, manly dessert. QED. Ha. Infallible logic, don’t you think? And why settle for just beer in a cupcake, when you could have 2 more types of alcohol as well? And what better compliment to beer than Irish whiskey and Bailey’s?! Let’s be real, Bailey’s goes with anything.

mmm

That being said, these cupcakes are indulgently delicious. No stinting on the butter in these babies (live a little every so often!). The cake is moist (eww no, not that word again!) HYDRATED, and delicately compliments the slightly bitter chocolate-whiskey ganache. Bailey’s buttercream completes an already ridiculous combo, rounding out the flavors perfectly. Guinness, Jameson, and Bailey’s… an inspired trifecta! These take the Guinness brownies to an entirely new level (and I definitely like them better)… are you salivating yet? Hmm, I thought so.

In endeavoring to be politically correct and inoffensive to all parties involved, let’s call these..

//

Depth Charge Cupcakes!

(hehe. get it?! Like a shot dropped into a beer… use your imagination.) I made a half-batch and ended up with 12 cupcakes, a perfectly manageable number for 3 people. I’ll give my measurements here; double if you need a mega-batch. Recipe very slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker! I reduced the sugar slightly—it may even be okay to take it down a bit more, as per sweetness preferences.

Let’s do this:

un-sprinkled

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • scant 3/4 c sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • very heaping 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c plain lowfat yogurt
  • 1/2 c Guinness
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, softish
  • 1/4 c + 1/8 c unsweetened cocoa powder

For the whiskey-ganache:

  • 4 oz dark chocolate (I used one bar of Trader Joe’s 72% Fair Trade Belgian chocolate)
  • 1/3 c heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp butter, softish
  • 2 tsp of Jameson or other Irish whiskey (mine were two teaspoons that *oops* accidentally mega-runneth over)

For the buttercream:

  • 1 c unsalted butter (2 sticks), a bit soft
  • 2.5 c powdered sugar
  • a good glug of Bailey’s (somewhere in the vicinity of 5 tbsp)
  • a dash of Jameson (I didn’t measure, likely around 2 or 3 tsp)
filled :)

Proceed!

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a cupcake/muffin tin with liners… mine happened to be Spongebob. Don’t judge! In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a larger bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together egg and yogurt until combined. In a small saucepan, bring Guinness and butter to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in cocoa powder. Let cool a bit. Once cool(er), add the Guinness-butter mixture to the egg/yogurt, and beat until combined. I ran the mixer on low while adding mine, since it was still on the warm side, to prevent scrambled eggs (ewww, who wants that?!). Reduce speed to low and add in flour mixture, beating until combined (but minimally, to keep cupcakes fluffy!). Fold in any remaining flour. Pour batter into cupcake tins, and bake for just about 17 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

up close and cupcake personal

While the cupcakes are baking, make the ganache! In a small saucepan, heat cream until just barely simmering (watch it like a hawk—we don’t want it scalded! Ewwwy). Break chocolate up into smallish pieces and place in a heatproof bowl. When the cream reaches the simmer point, pour it over the chocolate and let sit for one minute, then stir it carefully together until incorporated. Add butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let sit for a bit, until it firms up just slightly but is still scoop-able.

For the buttercream: I recommend a stand mixer for this. Do as I say, not as I do… a hand mixer was not the smartest choice…

Beat softened butter a few minutes until fluffy. Add in powdered sugar gradually, until completely incorporated. Add in Bailey’s and whiskey and beat until combined. It should be spreadable: light and fluffy!

Assembly:

Using a metal decorating tip (I found a small spoon for scooping to be helpful), cut out the centers of the cooled cupcakes, about 2/3 of the way down (extra bonus: eating the centers is totally acceptable). Fill the resulting hole with slightly-cooled ganache. Frost as desired. Sprinkles are nice :)

Imbibe. Indulge. Enjoy your canon ball depth charge in cupcake form.

I know, I know… don’t be jealous ;)

 

Lunch of Champions

Lunch of champions.

Guinness brownies.

Need I say more?

Nah, not really. Except that I’m going to,  because these aren’t your average chocolate-stout cake/brownie… oh no. Within these babies lurks a whopping dose of antioxidants and dietary fiber like no one’s business. Which is probably why Vaccuum Vati (for whom these were made in the first place, as he luuurvs Guinness and chocolate) ate two for lunch. With the remainder of the Guinness. Lunch of champions, most definitely. You know why? Because these brownies are made with whole wheat flour and black beans! Yeeeahh. Black beans provide an unbeatable protein-fiber combo, which supports digestive health, blood sugar regulation, and cardiovascular health. Beans, beans they’re good for your heart…! Ha. Besides that, beans AND cocoa powder have tons of antioxidants and phyto-nutrients, which translates to the prevention of several cancer types, as well as a myriad of other health bonuses. YAYAY for beans! Especially when they’re disguised as dessert.

I for one LOVE beans straight out of the can (though definitely not with crumbled up power-bar thrown in there, like my chiropractor… oh Rob, what are we going to do with you?!), but these brownies are another beast entirely. They totally grew on me: straight out of the pan, I wasn’t a super fan, but after they cooled off, I found myself going back multiple times to “trim” the uneven pieces and swipe little crumbs that fell off when I was photographing. Definitely worth it. For lack of instant coffee powder, I used finely ground espresso, which might account for the stronger coffee flavor, but it pairs well with the Guinness and chocolate. And these probably have the BEST consistency of any black bean brownies I’ve tried: perfectly gooey in the center with slightly chewy edges. Deeelicious. Not super sweet, but just perfect (and this is coming from Vati, who swears by death-by-dessert sweets). A win all around, especially since you can fool your brain into thinking you’re eating a fully-fatted dessert ;) Besides all that, these are cholesterol-friendly, with no eggs, butter, or oil.

mmm.

Guinness Black Bean Brownies

I made a half batch, since these are mostly for Vati, but it still made a large-ish batch. I’ll give the half size measurements here, for an 9 by 9 square cake pan. Recipe with thanks from Farm Girl Gourmet, here!

Procure:

  • 7.5 oz black beans (1/2 a can), drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c sugar*
  • 1/2 + 1/8 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp finely ground espresso (or instant coffee, if you have it)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c stout beer (I used Guinness, what else?!)
  • 1/2ish c chocolate chippies

*More sugar than I would normal use in a recipe, but it’s necessary to balance the Guinness and the coffee flavor, and these still aren’t too sweet. If you want a sweeter brownie, feel free to add sugar to taste.

You'd never guess there were beans in these, would you?

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a 9 by 9 cake pan (If you double it, use a 9 by 13).

Drain and rinse the black beans, and then put half of them back into the can. Fill it with fresh water, just to the top of the beans. Toss all this into a blender or small food processor, and puree. Set aside in a smallish bowl.

In a larger bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, coffee/espresso, salt, and baking powder. In the smaller bowl, combine bean puree, vanilla, and beer. Toss this into the dry ingredients along with the chocolate chippies, and stir until just combined (try not to over stir). Pour batter into the prepared pan, and bake for somewhere between 20 and 25 minutes. I took mine out at 24, and they were perfectly gooey (but I don’t like SUPER gooey brownies, so bake according to preference: 20 for goop, 24 for gooey with chewy edges. Whatever you do, pleeeease DO NOT overbake them. There is nothing worse than dry brownies! Ew.) I recommend letting these cool completely before eating: the flavors develop and become just that much better :)

hello there, up close and personal brownie...