Three months have passed since my last post and so much good has happened since then that I can’t even apologize for going off the grid completely. I’m just now settling into my new routine as a post-grad adult (more on that in coming posts!), but first I want to rewind and fill you all in on one of the best experiences of my life: a six-week vacay in Europe, y’all!!!
So as some of you remember, last summer I spent three weeks cavorting around the beautiful countries of Ireland, England, Scotland, and Italy. I spent nearly four months here gushing about the food, indulging my inner geek, and even sharing some personal details about some of the obstacles that I encountered during my stay.
That lingering emotional baggage in particular made me determined to travel again to Europe this year, once everything at school wrapped up. So in July–a scant month after graduating with my PhD–I packed my bags and flew over the pond to my first of TEN countries: Ireland!
I’d been to Ireland for the first time almost exactly a year ago, of course, and had fallen in love while visiting my friend Alex in Cork. This time I’d be seeing him in London, where he’s moved for school, so I decided to fly into Dublin for the first leg of my six-week Europe grand tour. It was the first time I’d ever traveled so far alone–my trip was split into two weeks each of solo travel, staying with friends, and exploring with high school friends–and I was extremely nervous that first night when I touched down at Trinity College, Dublin. What if the entire trip turned out to be a dud after all?
As is usually the case with me, my fears turned out to be wonderfully unfounded. My first morning in Dublin, I joined a group of fellow tourists for one of the famous Sandemans walking tours and ended up spending the rest of the day with a gaggle of gals from France and Iceland exploring the city and the beautiful Chester Beatty Library, a free and hidden gem in the heart of Dublin that boasts an impressive collection of religious and medieval texts. In the afternoon, I was due for a tour at the world-famous Guinness storehouse and sprinted halfway across Dublin so that I could pour my very first pint of Guinness!
There’s something strangely seductive about the deep, rich taste of a well-poured Guinness. While I’m not a drinker by any stretch of the imagination, I remember enjoying that first pint that I drank with Alex outside a small pub in Cork last year and I still like the taste now, though even more so in its dessert-ified form than its liquid counterpart. The smoky, roasted flavor of the dry stout in these Guinness Brownies enriches the natural fudgy factor in these chocolate treats, contrasts with the perfect crackly brownie top, and adds a subtle malted dimension that is perfect for any Guinness lover.
I consider them the perfect tribute to the beginnings of my Irish adventures and can’t wait to share even more Europe-inspired recipes in the coming weeks. Until then, do yourself a favor and brew up a taste of Dublin with these incredibly fudgy bites!
- 1/2 cup Guinness stout
- 12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8x8-inch baking pan and set aside.
- Place a pot over medium heat and pour in Guinness. Bring liquid to a boil and continue simmering until the stout has been reduced by about half (~3-4 minutes). Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, place chocolate chips in a heat-safe bowl and heat in microwave for 45 seconds. Stir, then add butter and continue heating at 30-second intervals (stirring well between each interval) until chocolate and butter are fully melted. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, beat together sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Mix in chocolate mixture and beat well. Add in reduced Guinness.
- Add remaining dry ingredients to the batter and fold in gently with a spatula until no white streaks remain. Pour batter into prepared baking pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out mostly smooth. Cool, then slice and serve as desired. (These brownies will be very fudgy, so be sure to let them set completely before attempted to remove them carefully from the pan.)