The five-month stretch between New Year’s and Memorial Day can be grueling. I’d even go so far as to call it unbearable, if it weren’t for one critical date in between: ST. PATRICK’S DAY. Steel yourselves for bad limericks and be prepared for blarney, because my lucky lads and lasses, I adore this pseudo-holiday more than I can express. I might not be able to convince you to share my fervor, but I hope I can persuade you to try these Guinness Brownies.
Ultra moist and densely chocolatey, these Guinness brownies are one of those exceptional desserts that, despite their decadence, are mysteriously easy to eat en masse. I blame the Guinness, which adds a malty depth to the brownies. The Guinness keeps the brownies from being overly sweet, and thus makes second (and third) helpings dangerously easy to enjoy.
And if it’s not the Guinness in the brownies that is to blame for their irresistibility, then surely it must be the Guinness frosting that’s spread on top.
I am partly Irish, and even though I have been told endlessly that St. Patrick’s Day is a much larger celebration in the U.S. than it is in Ireland, I do not see that inconsistency as any reason not to honor it. In college, I enjoyed my first pint of Guinness in Dublin at a bar bearing my Irish maiden name. Eleven years later (#OLD), I enjoyed my second and third and fourth Guinness Brownies in my Milwaukee kitchen. Going forward, I plan to enjoy many more Irish-inspired recipes, the best of which I’ve saved to share with you.
While working on this Guinness brownie recipe, I found many other stout brownie recipes online, but nearly all of them called for reducing the Guinness to a syrup on the stove before adding it to the brownie batter. This seemed too fussy and time consuming. I don’t know about you, but when I am craving a brownie, I want need it ASAP. I decided to see if I could make the Guinness Brownies by adding the beer directly from the bottle, skipping the reduction step completely.
Overall, I was pleased with the results, as were my guests who fought over the leftovers. The Guinness flavor is quite subtle, but I was still able to detect it. I served these brownies at a party where both Guinness lovers and Guinness haters were present, and both groups approved.
If you do want a bolder Guinness flavor, I’d recommend reducing 1 ½ or even 2 cups of beer down to the 1 cup called for in the recipe. Let the reduction cool to room temperature, then follow the directions as stated. Unfortunately, I don’t have a good beer substitution, so if you prefer not to cook with alcohol, I’d recommend these Mint Brownies, which are every bit as fudgy and festive, instead.
How to Store and Freeze
- To Store. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To Freeze. Place in an airtight freezer-safe storage container and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
More St. Patrick’s Day Recipes
- Green Whiskey Smash
- Flourless Whiskey Cake
- Irish Whiskey Ice Cream with Salted Caramel
- Mint Smoothie
Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe
FOR THE GUINNESS BROWNIES:
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate cut into pieces
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour or substitute white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup Irish stout beer plus 2 tablespoons, such as Guinness, at room temperature with any foam skimmed off
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
FOR THE GUINNESS FROSTING:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoons Irish stout such as Guinness
- Place the oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8x8-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Line with parchment paper, leaving some hanging out opposite sides like handles. Spray again, then set aside.
- In a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water), melt together the chopped chocolate and butter. When the chocolate is almost melted, remove from the heat and stir until the mixture is completely melted together and smooth. Let cool 5 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the whole wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
- Once the chocolate mixture has cooled, whisk in the granulated sugar until combined. At this point, the mixture will look grainy. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, fulling combining between each addition. Keep stirring until chocolate mixture is smooth and glossy (about 40 strokes). Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture a few tablespoons at a time, stirring in between each addition, just until the flour disappears. Slowly stir in the beer. It will foam as it is added, but keep working in additions and stir until the foam subsides. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Scape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature, then remove from the pan using the parchment-paper handles.
- Meanwhile, prepare the Guinness frosting: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. With the mixer running on low, slowly beat in the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of stout. Continue beating until the frosting is smooth and fluffy, about 3 additional minutes. If you'd like a thinner frosting, beat in 1 additional tablespoon stout. Spread over the cooled brownies. Slice and enjoy.
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