Ask any of my friends what kind of beer I prefer, and they will tell you I’m a stout girl through-and-through. There is nothing I love more than sitting at the pub with a nice frothy pint of stout: oatmeal, coffee and most of all chocolate! I just love the way it feels in my mouth, dense and full bodied. It’s like adult carbonated-chocolate milk! Of course, even I can’t drink even a half of stout in the warmer months – the thick heaviness I love in the fall and winter weighs me down too much during the sweltering spring and summer here in Georgia. So, full of sadness, I move onto lighter and brighter beers, shoving my longing for the dense and dark into the far recesses of my heart.
So, imagine the seed of happiness that took root inside me when I came up with an idea which would enable me to partake of my beloved stout in the sweltering spring and summer! What was this idea, you may wonder… Chocolate Stout gelato! It is sooo good, and it’s really no wonder. I mean chocolate stout is already chocolate-y, creamy and richly textured – add some milk, cream and egg yolks and you’re on your way to heaven! Each bite is so exquisite – smoothly creamy and icy at the same time, with just a hint of bite from the roasted barley and cocoa powder of the stout. So satisfying on a hot and humid day! And I know that some of you are going to be thinking seriously? beer gelato? is she crazy? But hear me out: we put beer in tons of other recipes – chilis and batters and breads and cupcakes… so why not gelato? But just do me a favor – try this out! You won’t be disappointed – I mean, my neighbors love this gelato and they only drink Budweiser!
So anyway… I was over at my good friend and neighbor Becca’s house a couple weeks ago and found out about the Ice Cream Cupcake challenge hosted by The Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious. So I got to thinking what cake/ice cream/icing combo should I try out and submit. And, of course, it wasn’t long before my mind wandered to my beloved chocolate stout ice cream. And then I thought what is the most delicious thing a scoop of ice cream can rest on and of course the answer to that is a dense and chewy, super-chocolate-y brownie just waiting to soak up the rivulets of melting deliciousness! And of course I have to top it all off with a good hefty slab of super rich Irish buttercream!
Now this cupcake is super-duper rich. The brownie is really dense and chewy and studded with chocolate chips, the gelato is malty and slightly chocolate-y with a balance of rich and refreshing, and the frosting is thick and rich. These have to be stored in the freezer (duh, right?) and I think the best way to eat them is: take them out of the freezer, peel off the wrapper (if you used one) and let them sit for about 5 or so minutes – just long enough for the gelato to melt a little and begin saturating the brownie. Trust me – these are soooo good, you’ll want to share them before you eat the whole freezer-full!
Okay, so a few notes before I post the recipe: I used a chocolate stout to make the ice cream, but a coffee stout would also be spectacular as would any stout, really. Just be sure that you like the flavor of the beer to begin with… because, well, that’s what the finished product’s gonna taste like! And remember: use organic ingredients whenever possible! I haven’t been able to find an organic Irish Cream yet, but there are many great organic stouts out there to choose from!
Brownie Bottomed Chocolate Stout Ice Cream Cupcakes
1 batch brownie cupcakes - recipe follows
1 batch chocolate stout gelato - recipe follows
1-3 batches of Irish buttercream frosting - recipe follows
1. Take the gelato from the freezer and allow to soften up a bit.
2. Using a sharp knife and a spoon, remove a flat-bottomed cone shape from each cupcake. (you can discard the middles or throw into a batch of bread pudding - yum!)
3. Fill the center and up to the top of the cupcake liner with gelato. Smooth out with the back of a spoon.
4. Freeze the gelato filled brownies for about 5-10 minutes or until the gelato is no longer drippy.
5. Remove from the freezer - one at a time worked best for me - and top with a generous portion of frosting (or not, your choice!).
6. Dust the tops lightly with a bit of cocoa powder (this not only looks pretty but helps cut the sweetness of the frosting).
7. Eat 'em up! (or, if you must, return to the freezer for storing)
you're making these for brownies then fill them 3/4 of the way full and it will make 12. If you're making these for ice cream cupcakes, fill 1/2 way full and it will be enough for about 18 (depending on how much batter you eat first!).
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs + 1 yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon coffee
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Pre-heat the oven the 350 and either grease or line a cupcake pan. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla and coffee. In batches, beat in the flour, cocoa powder and salt until well mixed. Fold in the chocolate chips and pour even portions into prepared cupcake tins.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the brownie is set. Let sit until cool enough to handle and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Yum!
Chocolate Stout Gelato
1 can/bottle chocolate stout
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pour the stout and brown sugar into a small sauce pan and place over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, then lower the heat a little and cook for about 5- 10 minutes or until reduced to about half. Pour the milk and cream into another larger sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer as well.
Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks and sugar until fluffy and pale yellow in color, then beat in the vanilla. AS SOON AS the milk and cream come to a simmer remove from the heat. Add the milk mixture to the egg mixture in a thin and steady stream - if you add to fast the eggs might scramble, so go slow!
Cover the cream mixture with plastic wrap (press against the milk so it doesn't form a skin) and place in the fridge for a couple hours to cool. Once the stout is reduced you can either place it in the fridge too, or just let it cool on the stove.
When cool, remove from the fridge and combine the milk mixture with the reduced stout and whisk to blend. Pour into an ice cream mixer and freeze according to the directions. After it's set, pour into a Tupperware container and store in the freezer. So good!
Irish Buttercream Frosting
If you want to frost your cupcakes with a nice hefty slab like mine are, you'll need to triple the recipe. Just casually block out the large amount of butter you'll be consuming!
1 stick butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons Irish cream
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Place the softened butter into the bowl of a mixer. Beat until fluffy. Beat in about 1/2 cup of sugar and then the Irish cream. Blend in the rest of the sugar and the cocoa in batches, beating well to make it nice and fluffy. This makes a very thick, dense frosting. If you want it a little thinner, add a bit more Irish cream or some milk.