Beer brownies are one of the most popular sweet treats baked with beer. They are typically flavored by a stout or a porter for their characteristic chocolate and/or dark roasted coffee flavors. Since today is National Brownies Day I made us a large, delicious batch of stout brownies with walnuts and chocolate cream cheese frosting.
Here they are.
Stout (unless it is pronouncedly coconut, coffee or otherwise flavored) generally imparts a dark chocolate taste. I opted for a well balanced, middle of the road (as Chris sometimes likes to say) ale – Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout. It is smooth bodied from the flaked oats added to the grain bill with both semi-sweet chocolate and dark-roasted coffee aromas and flavors, neither one overpowering, and the IBU is low at 36.
Check out this post for Stout Brownie Mix DIY Gift to see it. Generally, when baking beer brownies you should go for well balanced stouts or porters that are not overly hoppy.
I love to add walnuts to brownies mostly because of the mildly bitter notes they bring about. I find that they partner very well with the flavor contributions of the stout. But feel free to completely leave the walnuts out or substitute them with almonds or other nuts.
As to the frosting – it is optional. I don’t make brownies very often and we never really buy them, so I felt like going all out and whipped up a quick chocolate and cream cheese frosting. Don’t worry about it causing the brownies to stick together when stacked:) You absolutely do not need to pile up your brownies high like these in the pictures. I did it just for show:)
Want to make beer brownies that are more fudgy?
Below is the base recipe I used to bake the brownies you see in the pictures. It yields 20 squares if you use a 9×13 inch cake pan (why bake brownies if you are only going to end up with a dozen, right?). This base recipe results in brownies with a texture that leans heavily on the cakey side.
If you pefer fudgier brownies, you need to increase the fat-to-flour ratio in the recipe in order to achieve a higher fat content in your batter. Do this by using 1/4 less flour than noted and melt an additional 1/2 stick butter. Also, completely leave the baking powder out of the flour and let the stout be the only leavening agent.
Want to give beer brownies as a gift?
I put together this post on mixing a stout brownie mix to give as a gift along with a stout. All the recipient has to do is add butter and eggs and they can bake their own beer brownies. Be sure to decide on the intended texture of the beer brownies before mixing the dry ingredients and writing out the instructions. For cakey brownies, use the recipe as given, for fudgy brownies make and note the recommended adjustments.
- 1½ cup flour (use 1¼ cup for fudgy brownies)
- 1 tsp baking powder (leave out for fudgy brownies)
- pinch of salt
- 1½ cup sugar
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup raw walnuts (baking pieces)
- 2 eggs
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted (use 1½ stick for fudgy brownies)
- 12 oz stout (opt for a well balanced one, not too bitter)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 oz cream cheese
- ½ cup confectioners sugar
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Heat the oven to 350°F.
- Line a 9x13 inch cake pan with parchment paper. Grease the paper well with cooking oil or melted butter.
- Mix all the dry ingredients together (walnuts too). Set aside.
- In a sauce pan melt the butter, then slowly add the beer to warm it up. Stir occasionally.
- Do not bring the butter and stout mixture to simmer, it just needs to be warm. Set mixture aside.
- Beat the eggs and add them to the dry ingredients. Stir in by hand.
- Add the butter stout mixture and the vanilla and stir until all ingredients are well incorporated (do not over mix).
- Transfer to cake pan and bake for 30 min.
- Let cool off completely before cutting into squares.
- While beer brownies are cooling off, mix the frosting.
- Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or in the microwave at 30 second intervals.
- Add to the cream cheese and confectioners sugar and whip until well incorporated.
- Apply over cooled off brownies.