There’s something about those classic, iconic cocktail combinations – gin and tonic, Captain & Coke, vodka and cranberry juice – that never let us down. We’ve all had that moment when the bartender asks, “What’ll you have?” and we freeze. Sure, we wanted to try something new, something fun, something trendy, but instead we fall back on the old reliable stand-by. And that’s OK, because at least we know what we’re getting and we know it’ll get the job done….what ever that job may be.
Beer and pretzels are kind of like that. A plain, simple combination that never fails to satisfy. A traditional duo that goes way back. Some might try to switch it up a little, maybe trying a crafty microbrew or some fancy honey mustard nuggets, while others are happy with a Bud and a bag of standard pretzel twists. But no matter the variation, beer and pretzels are a winning team.
And so it’s no wonder that football season seems to be the traditional time for this classic combo. Sitting on the sofa, a beer in one hand, a bowl of pretzels next to the other, eyes glued to the game. By my way of thinking, this is one of the best ways to spend a chilly Sunday afternoon.
Unless, of course, like me you’re a New England Patriots fan, watching the AFC championship game, and the nasty Baltimore Ravens just dashed your dreams of making it to the Super Bowl. That’s not a fun afternoon at all. If that’s the case, you might be better off adding that beer to some batter, drizzling those pretzels with some nice, dark chocolate and consoling yourself with a rich, decadent chocolate cupcake with lots and lots of frosting. It won’t get your team to the Super Bowl, but it does make it sting just a little bit less.
This recipe is one I adapted from My Baking Addiction. The cupcake comes out nice and moist, and the flavor of the stout really comes through. You can make the frosting more or less chocolatey by adding or reducing the amount of cocoa powder to suit your taste. And wait until serving to add the pretzels. Otherwise, they tend to soften up a little.
CHOCOLATE STOUT CUPCAKES WITH CHOCOLATE FROSTING
For the Pretzels:
36 mini pretzels twists
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Line the pretzels up on a baking sheet covered with wax paper.
Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring after every 20-30 seconds or so until fully melted. Pour the melted chocolate into a plastic sandwich bag, seal it shut and snip off one tiny corner. Drizzle the chocolate back and forth over the pretzels. Let cool completely before storing in a plastic bag.
For the Cupcakes:
Makes 36 cupcakes
1 (12 ounce) bottle stout. I used Harpoon’s Chocolate Stout
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 teaspoons warm water
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with liners.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the stout, milk, oil, vanilla and espresso.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time until thoroughly combined. Add in sour cream and mix until combined.
In another large bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour and baking soda.
Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Batter will be thin.
Fill muffin tins about 1/2 full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until risen and set in the middle.
Cool completely on wire racks.
For the Frosting:
1/2 cup butter
1/3 – 1/2 cup of cocoa powder
3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-4 tablespoons 1/2 & 1/2
fleur de sel or sea salt for decorating
Cream butter until soft and fluffy. Add cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla and salt, mixing first on low and increasing speed as mixture combines. Add 1/2 & 1/2, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
Frost cupcakes and sprinkle very lightly with sea salt. Garnish with chocolate covered pretzel just before serving.
Enjoy, these were favorite!
And please let me know what you think of my recipes, my stories, my blog – I’d love to get some feedback….