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Guiness Brownies with Bailey’s Cream Cheese Swirl

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In the name of culinary exploration, I bought a single bottle of Guiness to make Wednesday’s cupcakes, knowing I could never use an entire 6-pack.  Unfortunately, the bottle was pretty ginormous so I still have more than half of it left.  I also have quite a bit of Bailey’s left, and since I can’t give this stuff to people I know who drink because they either don’t drink anything but the occasional wine or have drinking problems, I’m either going to have to toss it or keep baking up a storm with it.  And you guys know I can’t waste anything, right?

Hence, these brownies.  These crazy, rich, gooey, decadent brownies.  I went with my Kahlua brownies recipe, switching out the Kahlua for Guiness, and then went a little crazy with the mix-ins, adding butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, and walnuts.  Then I glanced the cream cheese in my fridge and got excited, thinking of my Brownie Cakes recipe and using it as a springboard to create a Bailey’s Irish Cream cheese swirl.

I liked these a lot, despite the Guiness.  I’ve discovered from reading Guiness & chocolate recipe reviews on blogs that I may be the only blogger alive not in the “Yay, Guiness and chocolate are the best combo evarrrr!” camp, but at least the flavor was not overpowering here, thanks to the sweet chips and cream cheese swirl.  There is a slight yeasty flavor from the Guiness, which is interesting but not off-putting.  For most people, that would translate to, “Yaaaaaaay, Guiness brownies are the best thing EVARRRR!!!!”

The only bad thing about these brownies (unless you want to count the calories, but who counts dessert calories??), is that they used up so little of this leftover alcohol.  I’m giving up on the Guiness, but as for the Irish cream…Bailey’s Banana Bread anyone?

Guiness Brownies with Bailey’s Cheesecake Swirl

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Guiness Brownies:
1 brownie mix
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
¼ cup Guiness Extra Stout beer
1 egg
Optional mix-ins (add up to 1 ½ cups total): chopped walnuts or pecans, caramel bits, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheese Swirl:
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon Bailey’s Irish Cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom only of a 9×13” baking pan and set aside.

Combine the first four ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk until shiny and smooth, about a minute. Add optional mix-ins and stir until well combined. Spread into prepared pan; set aside.

Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a small mixing bowl until creamy, then beat in the egg and Bailey’s Irish Cream. Drop batter by spoonfuls on top of the brownie batter and swirl through with a knife.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until the cheesecake is golden on top and the brownies are puffed in the middle but firmer at the edges. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Optional Reading:

OK, so this blog was too long to include this story before the recipe, but I wanted to put it at the end for those whose patience is still holding.

In high school drama class, we were doing a project where we were creating a spoof episode of the X-Files.  I remember nothing about the episode we came up with, except that some genius decided to cast me as an evil leprechaun.  (Speaking of evil leprechauns, doesn’t that one in my first picture look a little sadistic?)  We were actually filming it, just like a real TV show.

I showed up on filming day dressed head to toe in bright green.  I had no idea what I was going to wear for the role, but my mother happened to have a pair of bright green corduroy pants (oh, the glorious high fashion of the 90s!) stashed away in her closet.  She was a tiny woman and even at 115 pounds, I really had to stuff myself into those things and could hardly breathe all day.  I paired it with a matching shirt and called it golden (or emerald, if you will).

For my scene, we were filming in the hall and I was told to run off laughing after delivering my line.  It wasn’t until the camera started rolling that I thought to wonder how long I should run while laughing.  Convinced I should fight my urge to do it only a few seconds, thinking it was just my shyness trying to get the better of me, I tore off down the hall, squealing insanely with evil leprechaun laughter, throwing my hands up over my head and swinging them wildly back and forth as I ran…all the way down the hall.

That’s right.

I passed about five classrooms, squealing with high-pitched insane laughter at the top of my lungs.

When I turned back around, hoping I’d laughed long enough, there were curious heads leaning out of every single closed door I had passed, and in the far distance, I could see my classmates rolling with laughter while my drama teacher looked like he wished he could crawl under a rug.

I could have died.  The walk back to join my drama group was the longest walk of my life.  Every classroom stared at me as I passed, surely wondering who the crazy girl dressed in green was and if there was anything beyond my insanity that spurred the laughter that disrupted their class.

And of course, after that day, I was known far and wide as “the evil leprechaun.”

The end.

 

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Guiness & Bailey’s Chocolate-Caramel Cupcakes

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This seems to be happening to me more and more, the longer I blog: I either create a recipe out of my own head, or I see a blog with a recipe and I immediately think of a new direction I want to take it in.  I type out the recipe, including the measurements and steps.  Then, after I’ve made my new and improved recipe, I discover that someone else already did it.  Kinda takes the wind out of my sails!

This has happened twice just this week.  I typed up a recipe for banana bread (I always type up baking recipes before I actually go to town, since they require more precision than just throwing things in a pot and tasting as you go along) that I thought was pretty stinking original, but before I’d even made it, I found that same recipe, almost exactly with the same ingredients and measurements except for just a few things, on Steak & Potato Kinda Girl’s blog (it was a Joy the Baker recipe, though, from her new cookbook).  I kinda had a freak-out and changed my recipe just so I wouldn’t be a copycat, even if I did come up with it on my own.  (I really want the banana bread recipe I win with at the fair this year *knock on wood* to be my own creation.  I’m in the process of creating the BEST recipe (or discovering, if I must) so I can beat my baking nemesis–more about that here.)

Then I decided I was going to make some Guiness chocolate cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day and came up with my own decadent recipe, using this cake recipe, and using inspiration from this cake to add in some caramel to compliment the Guiness, chocolate, & Bailey’s Irish Cream flavors.  Then I happened to stumble upon Annie’s Eats, who has a spookily similar recipe.  She’s got the Guinness cupcake, the Bailey’s ganache filling (sans caramel), and Bailey’s Irish Cream frosting.

How is this even possible?  Is this some weird phenomenon among food bloggers that we’ve read so many of each others blogs that we start thinking the same?  Or am I just a freak of nature?  (Don’t answer that.)  Well, whatever it is, I’m considering myself flattered to have come up with similar recipes as the likes of Joy & Annie, who I respect greatly.  Who knows, maybe I’m becoming one of these “great minds” that “think alike.” :)

Well, despite these cupcakes having doppelgangers in who-knows-what corners of the blogosphere, I’m pretty proud of them because, besides the cake recipe, they are my own creation.  They are very decadent, as I intended, and are tremendously delicious.

Now, I need to tell you that I absolutely detest beer (except in beer bread, of course), and Guinness is at the top of my hate list *shudder*, but it somehow works in the chocolate cupcakes.  Although I would definitely prefer a Guiness-free cupcake, the stout flavor does add depth to the chocolate, making it deeper and more sultry, with a slightly bitter edge.  The rich caramel ganache is thick and sweet, and the frosting is like a fluffy silken dream-both elements a perfectly sweet compliment to the dark chocolate cake, and in my opinion, absolutely required to balance the cupcake.  You get quite a heady feeling when taking a bite of these–although low in alcohol*, they are very “boozy” tasting (at least to my virgin palate), but not in an offensive way.  Still, I wouldn’t recommend you try serving these to your toddler.

*A last note to those worried about the alcohol content.  It bakes off from the cupcakes, leaving only the flavor behind, and the amount in the filling and frosting is not much more than you’d get from using vanilla.  So never fear, you will not get intoxicated from eating one of these, though I still consider them to be an adult treat.  To nix the alcohol completely, I believe you could use Irish Cream coffee creamer in place of the real Irish Cream in this recipe.   I hope you enjoy!

Note: I didn’t edit my photos, but this one is pretty washed out so I did try to darken it, but just couldn’t capture the true color so I apologize it does not represent the cupcakes accurately. The cake is much darker than this.  The other photos are pretty spot-on, even without editing.

Guiness & Bailey’s Chocolate-Caramel Cupcakes

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Guiness Chocolate Cupcakes:
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter (cold is fine)
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup Guinness Extra Stout (cold is fine)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs

Bailey’s Chocolate-Caramel Filling:
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup caramel sauce, plus more for garnish (I used homemade)
1 tablespoon Bailey’s Irish Cream
½ cup powdered sugar, as needed

Bailey’s Irish Buttercream:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 lb. (4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two dozen cupcake tins with papers.

In a small saucepan, melt butter and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Stir in the Guinness and vanilla extract and remove from heat.

While the Guinness mixture is cooling, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt. Pour the Guinness mixture onto the dry ingredients, then add the eggs and whisk until the batter is shiny and smooth, about a minute. Divide batter between cupcake tins, filling half full. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Remove from pans to cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Combine the chocolate and caramel sauce in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on 50% power for 1 minute. Stir until the mixture is smooth and glossy, then stir in the Bailey’s Irish Cream. Set aside to cool and thicken.

Lastly, make the buttercream. Beat the butter until creamy, then add the sugar and Bailey’s. Beat on low until mixed, then increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy, light, and silky, about five minutes. Set aside.

Return to the filling, which should be room temperature by now. (If not, refrigerate for five minutes and stir, repeating until cooled completely.) Remove two tablespoons to a small bowl, then stir in powdered sugar ¼ cup at a time into the remaining filling, until the filling is your desired thickness.

Put the filling into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip or a squeeze bottle with a nozzle. Insert the tip into the top of each cupcake and squeeze briefly to fill, stopping once the top starts to rise. Once all are filled, pipe or spread the buttercream on top. Drizzle with the reserved filling and caramel sauce. Serve at room temperature. If making more than two days in advance, you can keep the cupcakes in the refrigerator and remove them two hours prior to serving.

Recipe source: cake recipe from Global Table Adventure, cupcakes inspired by Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, filling & frosting recipes and method by Veronica Miller

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