Digging into Double Chocolate Stout Brownies and Aleta Dey

Dear X,

I finally made pastry that didn’t suck😛. I also managed to melt chocolate without burning it, or making it all clumpy and gross. I’d forgotten one of the benefits to cooking with beer was getting to drink the rest of the beer😀.



My day started with trying to decide what to make for the people we invited over after the play Aleta Dey written by .

So, I quickly looked at all the bookmarks I’ve left myself for just such an occasion. Turns out I really like The Rantings of an Amateur Chef. At least half of the recipes I’ve booked marked are from that blog.


Wine and beer (of course?)

Two oceans shiraz and some Boddingtons and Kriek. All of them were delicious, and some of the people brought some great additions including Mill Street Organic, and Kronenbourg 1664.

For food and goodies I made:

Strawberry-banana muffins, Double Chocolate Stout Brownies & Apple Torte. We also had trays of meat, cheese olives and antipasto and crackers.

The muffins were basic and not really exciting, as much as they tasted good, but the stout brownies and apple torte got rave reveiws.

The original recepie for the apple torte came from The rantings of an amateur chef .

Mine were slightly different, because I tend to do that, and I was running short on both time and some of the ingredients. I substituted 1/2 the all purpose flour for whole wheat, used on and a half sticks of butter to dot onto the apples and apricot jam with homemade almond extract instead of marmalade and orange liquor. (I used about half the amount of extract, as it’s pretty powerful stuff😛 ).


2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ sticks cold butter, diced
½ cup ice water

4 apples – Ina’s recipe calls for Granny Smith but my original apples were plain old red ones
½ cup sugar
½ stick cold butter, small diced

½ cup orange marmalade
2 tablespoons Orange Liqueur (rum or water acceptable)
heat and mix together

Bake the pastry and apples for 1 hour at 400 degrees then let cool add topping. cut into squares and serve. I garnished mine with icing sugar. If I had had pansies blooming I probably would have added them as well.

They were great, but not nearly as impressive as the play Aleta Dey: A Rehearsal. The cast, crew and the playwright all did an exceptional job. This was the last performance of two weeks worth of shows here in Brandon and in Winnipeg.

There was a sizeable crowd at each performance, but there’s always room for more. I’d highly recommend taking in anything written or put on by Root Sky Productions and Dale Lakevold.

Lakevold is a professor here at Brandon University as well as a playwright and writer. He an another professor Darrell Racine  started Root Sky Productions which is a non-profit organization committed to producing local plays.

I have to say first that Aleta Dey was amazing. The actress Tracy Penner did an amazing job of portraying the role of Aleta, and all the other characters in the play. It was set as a monologue in Aleta’s living room in Winnipeg in 1922. She is often thought of as the forgotten Suffragist in Women’s history in Manitoba. It was simply wonderful to see a play that relates so much to our current world, but set in 1922. The writing was poignant, and I’m not scared to admit I cried at the end.

I’ve had the experience of taking classes with Dale Lakevold, and I think what I enjoyed most about them was getting to know someone who is a writer, actively writing in my own community.

So I decided to make triple chocolate stout brownies to celebrate after the play with friends. I knew it was going to be good, and these made a perfect compliment to some of the beers and red wines brought along by friends.

I managed to make this one more local than the other recipes. The eggs were from Aagaard farms, I used mint grown on my porch for garnish, and a little bit in the recipe. I also used Half Pints Stir Stick Stout as my beer of choice for the recipe.

Note: using beer and specifically stout in a dense cake recipe makes it turn out like rich cheese cake somehow. It was glorious.

I call it ‘Triple Chocolate’ because Stir Stick stout taste a bit like coffee and chocolate blended together to me and the recipe also uses melted chocolate and cocoa powder.


1 Cup Stir Stick Stout (drink the rest while cooking)
5 oz. plain chocolate. (I used 100 dark chocolate bought at superstore, unsweatened. yummy)
3/4 butter. Mine happens to be salted.
1 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 large eggs

nom nom nom

Pour beer into container and let settle, boil water in pot and melt chocolate in bowl set in gently boiling water. add butter into chocolate and stir. Let butter/chocolate cool until luke warm.

Whisk flour, sugar and cocoa powder and set aside. Beat eggs in mixer and add chocolate/butter and beat until glossy. Stir in beer, fold in flour and cocoa/sugar. Pour into greased 8×8 pan, smooth out, and bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.

I garnished them with the chocolate mint growing on my porch and icing sugar. They’re dense and not to sweat.

So, in one day I managed to do most of what I planned to do in June. I tried a new local beer, and used my own grown stuff to make a recipe. I’m pretty sure cooking for other people should count for something, and I went to a local event. (I think that’s part of my own challenge. Not necessarily digging in, but I’m trying to practice what I write about?)

This was a great day, and spent pretty much exactly how I like my days to be. Cooking and creating things in a kitchen and an awesome evening watching something artistic happen then chatting with friends about it. The beer and wine were also pluses😛.

Here is a link to a photo gallery by Derek Gunnlaugson.

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