In WITF's Kitchen with Chef Donna Desfor

Food Wednesdays: Get out the Guinness and get in the kitchen

Written by Donna Marie Desfor, Culinary Consultant and Chef | Mar 12, 2012 9:17 PM


When it comes to celebratin’ the Irish, Guinness beer seems to find its way into the conversation.  Today, at least in culinary terms, Guinness is as much an ingredient as it is a beverage.  Made from water, barley, hops, and brewer's yeast, portion of the barley is roasted to give it the classic dark color and characteristic bitter (or sometimes called a “burnt”) taste.  Interestingly enough, despite its reputation as being a "meal in a glass", Guinness only contains 198 kcal (838 kilojoules) per imperial pint (1460 kJ/l), fewer than skimmed milk or orange juice and most other non-light beers.  In 2003 a study was reported out by the BBC to have found that a pint a day may reduce the clotting that triggers heart attacks!

Whether you choose to enjoy your Guinness for the taste, or rationalize enjoying a Guinness for its purported health benefits, there’s good reason to use it in your kitchen.  That classic “bitter” taste and the complexity added by the grains and yeast actually brings balance to sweet dishes, and tightens the flavors of soups and stews. 


For St. Patrick’s Day, these quick breads are a fast and fun little way to celebrate the ultimate Irish flavor.  The combination of flavors and tastes here are wonderful.  Rich, moist bread without being overly sweet, with a hint of Guinness flavor, to boot!


Recipe:  Guinness & Banana and Chocolate Quick Bread
Makes 2 large loaves or 1 loaf and 6 muffins

1 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons Chinese 5 Spice
½ cup semi-sweet morsels
4 medium-size firm but ripe bananas, peeled and broken into chunks
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup Guinness Stout

Optional Streusel Topping
½ cup flour
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, cut into pieces and chilled
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
¾ cup chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons Dark Chocolate Sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon Espresso Sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Spray two loaf pans or one loaf pan and 6 muffin tins with non-stick spray.  Set aside.

Optional: Prepare the Streusel Topping.  Place the flour, butter and brown sugar into the bowl of a mini food processor and process until the mixture looks like a fine meal.  Turn out into a bowl, add the walnuts and sugars (if using), and then blend by rubbing the mixture together between your fingers. Repeat until the mixture is combined into pebble size nuggets.  Keep chilled in the refrigerator until ready to use.

In a large bowl use a whisk to thoroughly combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and Chinese 5 Spice.  Set aside.

Place the bananas in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse several times to break the bananas up.  Process for about 10 seconds until the bananas are pureed.  Add the brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and oil and process until thick and smooth.

Turn the banana mixture out into the flour mixture and add the Guinness. Using a whisk, blend everything together.  Once the batter starts to form, switch to a large spoon or spatula and mix until the ingredients are just combined. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pans.  Sprinkle the chocolate morsels over the top of the batter and with your spatula gently nudge below the surface of the batter. As the bread bakes the morsels will continue to sink and spread through the bread.  Remove the streusel topping from the refrigerator (if using) and sprinkle generously on the top of the batter.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean. 

Remove from oven and let cool on rack in pan for about 15 minutes.  Turn out and let cool completely.


Recipe:  Bourbon Stout Sweet Potato Quick Bread
Makes 1 loaf or 4 mini-loaves

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom seed,
½ cup sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons milk
¾ cup Guinness Stout
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potatoes

Preheat oven to 325° F.  Spray a loaf pan or 4 mini-loaf pans with non-stick spray.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, spices and sugar.  Set aside

In another mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix until thick and well-blended.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and using a large spatula mix together until just combined.  The batter will be thick.  Pour (or spoon) the batter into the prepared pan(s).  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the top is cracked and the edges are golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool on rack in pan for about 15 minutes; remove from the pan and let cool completely.


Recipe and Photo Copyright © 2012 by Donna Marie Desfor & There’s a Chef in My Kitchen, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © 2012 by WITF, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Published in In witfs Kitchen with Chef Donna Desfor

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