Beer is a major ingredient in a lot of recipes. Guinness, in particular – not to mention other dark stouts – works its way into quite a few baked goods. It pairs especially well with chocolate because of its naturally dark, chocolaty flavor, so Guinness Cupcakes and Guinness Chocolate Cake are fairly common. Guinness Brownies are not seen quite as often, but work for much the same reason. Unless St Patrick’s Day is coming up, I don’t usually keep Guinness around so I decided to play around and see if I could get the brownies to work with something I always have on hand: root beer.
I know that root beer isn’t really beer, but once the idea popped into my head I couldn’t resist trying it out. I used a bottle of Dr Brown’s root beer, pouring most into the brownies and saving a few sips for myself.
Most of the recipes I’ve seen for Guinness brownies include both dark and white chocolate, which is an unusual touch for a chocolate brownie recipe. The sweetness of the white chocolate covers up some of the bitterness of the beer and gives the brownies a smoother finish. I included the white chocolate in this recipe, too, but in my case I was hoping to temper the strength of the darker chocolate and let the root beer flavor come through.
In the end, the flavor of the root beer is definitely overpowered by chocolate – and that’s not really a bad thing for a batch of brownies! They are very chocolaty and have a slightly unusual texture to them. They’re fudgy and definitely give you a melt-in-your-mouth effect, but they are not dense or very chewy. I believe that is the root beer’s signature addition to these treats.
These brownies are much better the day after they are made: fudgier, moister and with a deeper flavor. Make them in the evening, then wrap them up and slice them the next day!
Root Beer Brownies
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
6-oz chopped bittersweet (or semisweet) chocolate (1 cup)
3.5-oz chopped white chocolate (1/2 cup)
4 tbsp butter
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
8-oz root beer (no foam!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 9-in square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
In a small bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl, melt together chocolates and butter, stirring frequently until mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, beat together eggs and sugar until well combined. Blend in cooled chocolate mixture. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by half of the root beer. Stir in the rest of the flour mixture, the remaining root beer and the vanilla. Scrap down the sides of the bowl well and stir until just combined. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 26-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with only a few moist crumbs stuck to it. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
When brownies have cooled, wrap them up well and store them overnight before serving. Brownies are best the day after they are made.
Makes 25 brownies.
Note: White chocolate and bittersweet chocolate seemed to have slightly different weights by volume. Go with the weight measurement, if you can, though I have included the volume for convenience if you need to go that route.