Brownies are one of the few things I almost never make from scratch. Costco sells 6-packs of Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix which is what I nearly always use. Super chocolately, even more super easy, and the perfect fudgy texture that I love. Honestly, most homemade brownies are not as consistently good as this mix.
However I have been known to doctor up the mix a bit, swirling in peanut butter or folding in additional mix-ins. Brownies are one of my go-to desserts for potlucks because we always have them on hand and they are always well received; the fact that they only require five minutes of active cooking time is also a huge bonus.
A few weeks ago I decided to try out a cheesecake swirl, blending up the standard cream cheese and sugar combination that is beloved by many. It was, expectedly, a huge hit. Given the upcoming holiday, this gave me the idea to blend in typical St. Patrick’s Day flavors as another option to add to my repertoire.
Admittedly, this makes the recipe a tad more time consuming as reducing the Guinness is not a quick process. Fortunately you can do this ahead of time and just store it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. This makes the day-of process much quicker and allows you to do the reduction while you’re already minding something on the stove. It’s relatively low-maintenance so plopping it on a back burner while you make dinner would work just swell.
Despite having an entire bottle of Guinness, the change is subtle. Rather than smacking you in the face with beer, it simply enhances the chocolate and adds a nice robustness to the flavor profile. If you didn’t know it was in there, it might be challenging to put your finger on the mystery addition. It blends perfectly with the Baileys cream cheese for a supremely decadent but not extravagant dessert experience. And honestly, if you want to skip the Guinness part and just swirl in the Baileys cream cheese to regular ‘ole brownies, I would not judge you one bit. You could also skip the reduction step and just measure out standard beer, but I expect the flavor would be even less pronounced. (I also had the idea that Kahlúa in lieu of Guinness would be an excellent flavor pairing, and this may be my next brownie adventure.)
If you need an easy but delicious St. Paddy’s Day dessert, this could be the recipe for you. And if you’re looking for a crazier and more kapowy Guinness experience, then Irish Car Bomb Sundaes might be right up your alley.
Guinness & Baileys Cheesecake Swirl Brownies
Makes one 8×8 pan
1 bottle Guinness beer
1 box Ghirardelli brownie mix (I use Triple Chocolate)
1/3 cup vegetable oil¹
8oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Baileys liqueur
- In a small saucepan, simmer Guinness until reduced to 1/3 cup¹. Pour into a medium bowl and let cool about 10 minutes or until ready to use (this is a great step to do ahead of time while you’re cooking something else on the stove).
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a square pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Add oil and egg and mix until well combined. Stir in brownie mix until just combined.
- Reserve about 1/2 cup of brownie mix, and spread remainder into prepared pan.
- In a small bowl and using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy.
- Beat in egg and sugar until well combined, then beat in Baileys until just combined.
- Spread evenly atop brownie mix.
- With reserved mix, add spoonfuls on to the cream cheese mixture, then use a table knife to swirl in a pattern.
- Bake for about 50 minutes, or until brownies are still slightly wiggly but not watery.
- Allow to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes, then lift parchment paper to remove and cool completely.
- Use a sharp knife to cut into squares, wiping knife between each cut for clean slices.
¹ Or however much water/oil your brownie specific mix calls for.