I am not a baker. I'm not really even a cook but I do like to dabble and experiment so my recent visit to Savour in Kilkenny and Caroline's chocolate brownies got me thinking about baking something spicy and rich to go with a stout for yesterday's International Stout Day. Rich dark chocolate is more savoury than sweet and lends itself to the use of spices. I wanted to use a whole bottle of stout and also smoky black cardamom pods and an Ancho chili, so I adapted this recipe from one I found in an old baking book. Winging some of the method and ingredients if I'm honest!
As you will appreciate when you look at the ingredients, these cookies are not for the fainthearted! They are very rich and although not very spicy they almost beg for a cool but complimentary soothing rich stout.
I think they work well together but I'm not a baker as I say so I might have missed a trick or two. Anyway, feel free to adapt or change to suit your own palates.
Just promise me you'll eat them with a really good stout!
200 grms Plain Flour
125 grms Dark Chocolate (I used 81%)
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Bread Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda)
50 grms Dark Soft Brown Sugar
100 grms Butter
2 tbs Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
500ml O'Hara's Stout (My localish craft brewery)
6 Black Cardamom Pods
1 Dried Ancho Chili
(Makes 24 smallish cookies)
Pour the stout in to a wide bottom saucepan and bring to a strong simmer. Chop up the Ancho chili, discard around half the seeds and add the rest plus the chili to the stout. Chop the black cardamom pods in half and add to the stout too. Reduce liquid by more than half until it gets a little syrupy. Pour through strainer to remove chili and cardamom bits. You should have around 150ml of concentrated stout-chili-cardamom light syrup to set aside.
Meanwhile melt 2/3 of the chocolate and the butter together in a bowl over a pan of boiling water.
Chop the rest of the chocolate roughly and set aside.
Mix all of the rest of the dried ingredients (except chopped chocolate) in a bowl then add the melted chocolate and stout concentrate and mix well but don't over work. Add the chopped chocolate and mix carefully again.
Make a clingfilmed sausage from the mix and put in a fridge to chill for a few minutes.
While the dough is chilling rub some butter over baking parchment on two trays and preheat oven to 180C (350F).
Remove the mix from the fridge and mark the roll in to 24 section.
Form a ball from each section and space apart on a baking tray.
Cook for 15-20 mins until barely soft in the middle, and leave to cool.
Serve with a robust stout - I chose O'Hara's Leann Follain as again it's a local brew and thought it would compliment the cookies better than the 'normal' stout I used to make them.