Chocolate has earned the distinction for being one of the great primary flavors, just as red, yellow and blue are primary colors. Somehow, we instinctively know this flavor. It is unmistakable, whether bittersweet, milk or purely bitter. We never taste chocolate and describe it as something else. From an early age, we’ve got this one. At the first whiff, those who are chocoholics may even feel their pupils dilate, as if flirting with a prospective lover. Why does this happen, and how do we satiate this driving passion?
Flavor results from the stimulation of the olfactory senses, combined with tactile sensation, thermal perception, and the chemical sensation of taste on specific receptor cells in the taste buds. When professional tasters set out to describe a beer, wine, or bourbon, they attempt to break the flavors into the least common denominator, much like a mathematician when he is working with primary numbers. In the darker styles of beer, chocolate is often there.
Women are particularly turned-on by chocolate. With that in mind, it surprises me that so many instinctively say they don’t like dark beers. They have developed the perception that dark beers are heavy and assertive, when in reality, they are as different as the trees in a forest.
So, for the chocolate lover in you, why not indulge in the darkest, richest chocolate cookies you can find? Bake a batch of Double Chocolate Stout Espresso Cookies. Dust them lightly with confectioners’ sugar, and garnish the plate with a dab of cocoa or caramel syrup. Pair them up with a boozy sweet barleywine such as Firestone Walker Abacus or Arcadia Cereal Killer; or mirror the flavors with Founders Breakfast Stout and watch your palate come alive.
Double Chocolate Stout Espresso Cookie Recipe
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
4 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup dark chocolate-covered espresso beans
2 cup flour
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
˝ teaspoon fine sea salt
˝ cup sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
4 tablespoons Founders Chocolate Stout
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips (Nestle Toll House Chips)
PREHEAT oven to 300° F.
COMBINE semi-sweet chocolate and butter in double boiler. Over medium heat, melt and blend together.
FINELY CHOP chocolate-covered espresso beans in food processor. In medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: espresso beans, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
In main bowl, beat together sugar, eggs, Founders Breakfast Stout, and pure vanilla extract.
GRADUALLY ADD dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Fold in melted chocolate/butter mixture. Allow to mixture to cool to room temperature. Fold in semi-sweet chocolate chips. Batter will be very sticky, like paste.
DROP by tablespoonfuls onto lightly-greased or parchment lined baking sheet. If desired, top with 1 or 2 chocolate chips before baking. Bake 18-20 minutes. Allow to cool.
DUST with confectioners’ sugar or a dopple of cream cheese icing.
Makes 48 cookies.