An offhand line in a story in these pages last week about Biddeford’s happening food scene happened to mention Stacy Cooper’s Banded Horn Stout Brownies with Bailey’s Ganache, a treat she created last year for St. Patrick’s Day. The sweet brought to mind that annoying jingle for Wrigley’s Doublemint gum: Take one good thing (beer, specifically local beer), add it to another good thing (brownies) and “double your pleasure, double your fun.” (Now we can’t get the damn song out of our head.)

We knew we had to have that recipe. Cooper, the owner of Biddeford’s Biscuits & Company, was kind enough to share it.

But first things first:

Fudgy or cakey?

“They are sort of in between, which is what I like,” Cooper said in a telephone interview. “The best of both worlds. I think they probably fall a little more on the cakey side, but I don’t know. They seem like a good blend of both.”

Compromise. We like that. America could use more compromise these days.

Does she dye them green for St. Patrick’s Day?

“No, we don’t,” Cooper said decidedly. “We might sprinkle some green sugar somewhere. We’re very homey and very rustic in our presentation. I don’t do a lot of crazy things in presentation.”

We like that, too. We like our brownies, um, brown.

At her cafe, Cooper is a big booster of local ingredients, and Banded Horn is also based in Biddeford. While beer in brownies sounds unorthodox to us, Cooper reminded us that the combination of stout and chocolate is a tried and true one.

Stacy Cooper pours the batter into a cooking pan as she makes beer brownies at Biscuits and Company in Biddeford. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

Her own background is English and Scottish, by way of Canada, so, she said, “I’m not terribly attached to St. Patrick’s as a holiday, except that it’s inspiration to make something that’s Irish-inspired.” Other items that have appeared on past Biscuit & Company’s St. Patrick’s Day menus include Irish soda bread (made with Maine grains) and Guinness beef stew. This year, St. Patrick’s is celebrated on Saturday.

How did a biscuit maker become a brownie baker, we asked? “I’ve always baked,” said Cooper, the daughter of a passionate home baker (her mom) and an excellent home baker/cook (her dad). Also, we agreed, brownies and biscuits have an affinity for one another. “Homey. Everybody likes them. They are easy to throw together,” Cooper ticked off. “There are lots of different versions of both. And you can’t really go wrong.”

Peggy Grodinsky can be contacted at 791-6453 or at:

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BANDED HORN STOUT BROWNIES WITH BAILEY’S GANACHE

Recipe courtesy of Stacy Cooper at Biscuits & Company. Any stout will do, Cooper admits, “the darker the better.” But she prefers her hometown Banded Horn stout. If you use salted butter in the brownies, reduce the salt called for in the recipe to 1/4 teaspoon.

Yield: About 16 brownies

1 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup cocoa powder, plus 1 teaspoon for dusting the pan

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups sugar

3/4 cup Banded Horn Stout beer

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Beer brownies from Biscuits and Company in Biddeford. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs, lightly beaten

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IRISH CREAM GANACHE

1 cup dark chocolate chunks

1/2 cup heavy cream

2-3 tablespoons Irish cream liqueur, such as Bailey’s

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper extending it over two edges 1 to 2 inches to make a sling. Grease with butter or spray lightly with cooking spray. Dust with 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, turning and tapping the pan until the entire surface is lightly coated with cocoa; tap out any excess cocoa powder.

Whisk together the flour, 2/3 cup cocoa and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Whisk together the sugar, stout, oil, butter, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl until the sugar begins to dissolve and the mixture is foamy. Stir in the combined dry ingredients, one-third at a time, stirring well with each addition.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and smooth it to the edges. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out mostly clean – a few moist crumbs are OK – don’t overbake. Cool the brownies in the baking pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan using the parchment sling and continue to cool on a rack.

Make the ganache while the brownies are cooling: Microwave the chocolate and the heavy cream for 30 seconds, stir well and allow the chocolate to continue to melt. If any unmelted chunks remain, microwave another 10 seconds and stir well until the cream and chocolate meld. Add the Irish cream and stir well. Cool completely; the ganache will thicken. Stir to loosen and spread thickly on cooled brownies, allowing the ganache to drip over the edges.

Gild the Lilly:

If you want to go all out, make an Irish Cream Drizzle by combining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar with 1 tablespoon Irish cream. Adjust with more liqueur or sugar as necessary for a good drizzling consistency. Drizzle over the frosted brownies and allow to set 15 minutes. Cut brownies into squares. Slainte!