Guinness Cupcakes

Well, it’s that time of the year. Guinness branding day… I mean St-Patrick’s day. Which I am OK with since Guinness is an unoffensive stout. And thanks to marketing when you think of St-Patrick’s day you think of drinking a Guinness, which is also OK because you can’t make it green. Guinness is also great to cook with. I have a great Guinness BBQ sauce that works with anything you throw it at. Stouts also work very well with chocolate, although I would never recommend you cook with a bottle of Dieu du Ciel’s Aphrodisiaque, I wouldn’t mind you throwing in a couple of Guinness into a recipe.

That being said, here’s a little something to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Guinness Cupcakes

Ingredients

1 (12-ounce) bottle Guinness Stout
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used Scharffen Berger Cocoa)
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Steps

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the Guinness, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the sour cream.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, and baking soda. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet Guinness mixture.
4. Butter 24 muffin tins and divide the batter among the muffin tins.
5. Bake 25 minutes, until risen and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out of the tins.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

1 stick salted butter – room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter – room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1 tablespoon Clear Vanilla extract
1 1/2 pounds confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar, 10x)
4 tablespoons very cold milk

Directions

Cream the butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer. Add the clear vanilla extract and combine well. Begin adding in the sugar and mixing thoroughly after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, begin adding the very cold milk… one tablespoon at a time, combining very well after each addition (mixer on medium-high to high speed) until you reach the desired consistency.


Romance Your Valentine With These Chocolate Beers

Do away with the cheap box of chocolates and get your loved one something you can both enjoy. Just remember, while beer can help relax the mood and increase inhibitions, too much will do the opposite. So pay attention to the ABVs and the number of bottles you knock back if you want to spark the romance tonight.

Let us begin with two of my favourite Montreal brews:

Oatmeal Stout | St-Ambroise | Montreal, QC | 5% ABV
Brewed from 40 percent dark malts and roasted barley, this intensely black ale carries strong hints of espresso and chocolate. Oatmeal contributes body and a long-lasting mocha-colored head to this well-hopped beer. Oatmeal Stout is one of my favourite easily available beers. It’s easy to find and low in ABV with a lovely chocolate and coffee taste. You can also whip up a batch of the Oatmeal Stout Chocolate Cake.

Aphrodisiaque | Dieu du Ciel | Montreal, QC | 6.5% ABV
Black ale with aromas and flavours of vanilla, dark chocolate, bourbon and roasted malt. The vanilla and cocoa marry nicely, without out-competing each other, to produce a surprisingly well balanced beer. This beer is mildly hoppy, but the cocoa introduces a touch of bitterness. Its colour may be intimidating, but it is a very smooth beer within reach of most beer drinkers. This highly appreciated dessert beer is brewed with organic fair-trade cocoa and first rate vanilla beans.

Sexual Chocolate | Foothills Brewing Co. | Winston-Salem, N.C. | 9.25% ABV
This rich cocoa-infused Imperial Stout has been released annually just before Valentine’s Day since 2006. It sells out quickly, because it’s an awesome brew, and don’t we all want to say “Baby, I brought the Sexual Chocolate?” This liquid chocolate brew is practically guaranteed to induce friskiness.

Seduction | Brewery Ommegang | Cooperstown, N.Y. | 6.8% ABV
Because that’s what Valentine’s Day is all about! This Belgian-style ale combines chocolate from Callebut Chocolate with tart cherries. Seduction will leave you with a warm, lingering glow.

Chocolate Ale | Boulevard Brewing Co. | Kansas City, Mo. | 9% ABV
Brewed with a rare variety of chocolate sourced from the Dominican Republic and provided by Christopher Elbow Chocolates, this seasonal is both delicious and classy, bottled beautifully in a cork and cage 750 mL bottle.

Reunion Ale | Terrapin Beer Co. & Schmaltz Brewing Co. | Athens, Ga. | 7.6% ABV
Just like love, craft beer can be a collaboration. A portion of the profits from this brown ale brewed with cocoa nibs, vanilla and chili peppers benefits the Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research. The chilies give this beer a fiery finish. Terrapin also releases their Moo-Hoo Milk Chocolate Stout this time of year. It’s exactly what it sounds like—an alcoholic nod to the Yoo-Hoo chocolate beverage.

Imperial Choklat Stout | Southern Tier Brewing Co. | Lakewood, N.Y. | 11% ABV
This lovely Stout is made with bittersweet Belgian chocolate and packs an intense chocolate kick. Even non-beer lovers like this brew. Be sure to quaff this one slowly, and notice how the flavors develop as the beer warms.

Chocolate Stout | Pisgah Brewing Co. | Black Mountain, N.C. | 6% ABV
This brew is aged on cocoa nibs for a number of weeks. The beans hail from the La Red Guaconejo cooperative in the Dominican Republic and are hand-sorted, roasted, and cracked by the head chocolate maker at the nearby French Broad Chocolate Lounge in Asheville, N.C.

Theobroma | Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales | Milton, De. | 9% ABV
The name of this beer translates to “food of the gods,” and is based on a recipe found on pottery fragments in Honduras, Mexico. If you want a love that lasts forever, this is a good gift choice. Although lighter in color than you’d expect from a chocolate brew, it can pack a punch.

Slumbrew Porter Square Porter | Somerville Brewing Co. | Somerville, Mass. | 6.5% ABV
This rich porter is brewed with cocoa powder and conditioned on nibs from Taza Chocolate. Yum!