Comfortably Domestic Confession: I’m a huge wimp when it comes to beer. I like my beer to be light, pale, and not at all hoppy in flavor. In fact, if I have my way, there will be some kind of fruit dropped in the glass, too. It’s just the kind of girl I am.
Knowing that, a funny thing happened to me at a work dinner once–I worked in a field with mostly men, and we met at a pub to plan the logistics of an upcoming project. Now the guys I worked with were “Manly Men” and tended to forget that a lady, namely me, was present at these meetings. So at this particular meeting, the Project Lead ordered a round of Black & Tans before dinner. I nervously inquired as to what a Black & Tan was, and the Lead replied, “Oh, right. You probably wouldn’t like it. Do you want some kind of frou-frou Girly Drink or somethin’?”
Well I most certainly did not!
Except that I really probably did. I didn’t realize that a Black & Tan was a layer of heavy stout beer with a layer of a ultra-hoppy ale on top. And while it looked really neat, I confess that after one sip, my black & tan sat neglected on the table. Blech! Totally not my thing, but I let my pride get in the way of standing up to the guys and ordering something that I would actually drink. Lesson learned.
I’ve long since let that kind of pride go out of my life. It’s for the best.
Ever since the Brownies vs. Blondies episode very, very early on the blog, I’ve been thinking of ways to combine the two. When my pal John offered up some of his freshly brewed Oatmeal Stout, it gave me an idea…why not combine brownies, blondies, and cheesecake into one Big Bar of Awesomeness?
Seriously. This is one Black & Tan that won’t be cast aside and neglected on the table. Nor should it be!
Start by preheating the oven to 350° F. Line a 12 x 8 x 3-inch pan with non-stick aluminum foil. If you can’t find non-stick foil, then line the pan with regular foil, and spray the bejeezes out of it with baking spray.
For the Brownie layer, gather some flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, salt, brown sugar, butter, eggs, bittersweet (60% cacao) chocolate chips, and oatmeal stout.
Note: Brownies can be made without alcohol by substituting whole or 2% milk for the stout.
Melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan set over medium heat; stirring frequently.
The brown sugar crystals should be mostly melted and resemble caramel. Allow the sugar mixture to cool slightly.
Remove from heat and whisk in the bittersweet chocolate chips until melted.
Whisk flour, cocoa powder, and salt together in a small bowl. Fold the dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture until combined. Mixture will be very crumbly.
Stir in the beaten eggs until incorporated.
Pour in the stout, and whisking until batter is smooth.
Pour brownie batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350° F for 20 minutes. While the brownie layer is baking, prepare the blondie layer.
The Blondie Layer is a simple batter made from unsalted butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and eggs. Prepare the blondie batter much like the brownies by melting the butter and brown sugar, whisking the dry ingredients before stirring them into the hot sugar mixture, and stirring in the beaten eggs and vanilla until a smooth batter forms.
After the initial 20 minutes in the oven, the brownie batter will look slightly set around the outer inch of the pan, with the remaining still looking very wet.
Pour the blondie layer over the par-baked brownie layer, spreading the batter to the edges. Return the pan to the oven an continue baking for an additional 15 minutes. While the blondie layer is baking, prepare the cheesecake layer.
The Cheesecake Layer is comprised of cream cheese, unsalted butter, eggs, powdered sugar, and Irish cream liqueur.
Note: Cheesecake layer can be made alcohol-free by substituting an equal amount of half & half or heavy cream for the Irish cream liqueur.
Beat the cream cheese and butter together until it becomes really creamy. Mix in the beaten eggs, and Irish cream to form a smooth batter.
Blend in the powdered sugar to complete the cheesecake batter.
After 15 minutes in the oven, the blondie layer will look mostly set, and lightly brown around the very edges.
Pour the cheesecake batter over the par-baked brownie/blondie layers, spreading to the edges.
Bake all three layers for an additional 25 minutes, or until the top two layers are set, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a bit of fudge from the brownie layer on it.
Allow the brownies to cool in the pan for two hours. The layers will pull away from the sides of the pan during this time. After two hours, place the brownies into the refrigerator and chill for several more hours–preferably over night–to set.
To serve: lift the brownies out of the pan by the non-stick foil and set it on a cutting board. For best results, slice the brownies with a sharp knife that has been run under warm water and wiped dry. I find that running the knife under water and drying it in between each cut makes for the cleanest lines when slicing the brownies.
The densely fudgy layer is the perfect base for the caramel-like blondies–and since every thing is better with cheesecake–the cream cheese layer caps off the whole confection perfectly! Now here’s a Black & Tan that I can get behind!
Black & Tan Brownies
Makes 24 Brownies
For the Black Layer (first):
1 C. all-purpose flour
2/3 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp. salt
6 Tbs. unsalted butter
12 oz. Bittersweet (60% Cacao) Chocolate Chips
3 eggs, beaten
1 C. brown sugar
1 C. oatmeal stout beer
For the Tan Layer (second):
1 C. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
6 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 C. brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla extract
For the “Foam” Cheesecake Layer (third):
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbs. Bailey’s Irish Cream (or substitute half & half or cream)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12 x 8 inch pan with non-stick aluminum foil; set aside.
For the first (Brownie) layer:
- Whisk flour, cocoa powder, and salt together in a small bowl to combine; set aside.
- Melt butter and brown sugar in a saucepan set over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar crystals melt, and mixture resembles caramel. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
- Stir the chocolate chips into the sugar mixture until melted.
- Fold in the flour mixture well; mixture will be very crumbly.
- Whisk in the beaten eggs until just incorporated.
- Add the oatmeal stout, and whisk until batter is smooth.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. While the first layer is baking, prepare the second layer.
For the second (Blondie) layer:
- Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
- Melt butter and brown sugar in a saucepan set over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar crystals melt, and mixture looks like caramel. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla extract.
- Fold in flour mixture well; mixture will be very crumbly.
- Whisk in the beaten eggs until combined.
- Pour the batter over the partially baked brownie layer, spreading to the edges to completely cover the brownies.
- Continue baking for another 15 minutes. While these layers are baking, prepare the third layer.
For the third (Cheesecake) layer:
- Beat the cream cheese and butter until really creamy.
- Whisk in the beaten eggs, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and vanilla extract until incorporated.
- Pour cheesecake mixture over the first two partially baked layers, spreading to the edges.
- Continue baking for an additional 20 to 25 minutes or until Cheesecake and Blondie layers are set, but toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out with a little chocolate fudge on it from the bottom Brownie layer. (For 50-55 minutes of total baking time.)
- Cool in the pan set on a wire rack for 2 hours.
- Refrigerate for several hours, preferably overnight.
- To serve: lift the brownies from the pan by the edges of non-stick foil lining the pan, and place on a large cutting board to slice.
- These brownies are very thick! For best results, run a sharp knife under warm water and wipe it dry before cutting each row of brownies; this helps to keep the layers from tearing.
- A 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan may be used, but baking times will need to be adjusted.
- Brownies can be made without alcohol by substituting equal amounts of milk for the stout and Irish cream in the recipe.
- Brownies should be stored in the refrigerator, and should be eaten within 2 days.
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed Beer Week, Friends. I think I speak for many of us in saying that the idea of cooking with beer made us a little squeamish, but the results were spectacular. In case you missed any of the fun this week, here’s a recap:
- Jeanne/Inside NanaBread’s Head will tell us about her beer tasting experience in Canada, which for some could be considered a sort of Beer Vahalla. She also shares an un-freaking-believable looking Dark Chocolate Espresso Stout Cake with Caramel & Kahlua Whipped Cream.
- I introduced you to a friend of mine that brews his own beer in the segment called Five Minutes with a Home Brewer.
- Kat/TenaciouslyYours told us all about the revelry at Gasthof’s Oktoberfest.
- Madeline/Munching in the Mitten featured an awesome looking Pumpkin Beer Bread.
- Anne/From My Sweet Heart featured Pumpkin Ale Pretzel Caramels. Caramel with beer? They sound absolutely amazing!
- Lauren/Climbing Grier Mountain made a Pale Ale Shrimp Po’ Boy sandwich that is guaranteed to cement your friendships for life.
- Megan/Country Cleaver puts the comfort in Comfort Food with her family’s favorite Schnitzel and Dumplings
- Megan’s Bestie-in-Real-Life, Beka/Kvetchin’ Kitchen made her Theme Week Debut with a review of Outlander Brewery.
- Allison/Decadent Philistines Save the World prepared a three course meal with various beers playing prominent roles–including a Maple Pale-Ale Ice Cream!
- Mads/La Petite Pancake totally scores with Beer Battered Shrimp Tacos.
- Katie/The Hill Country Cook gave us the inside dish on the Double Horn Brewery in Marble Falls, Texas.
- My Black & Tan brownies are featured above. They’ll change your life–I can promise you that!
- Carrie/Bakeaholic Mama incorporates her favorite beer/cider into her Woodchuck Sweet Potato Bisque.