Boozy Black & Tan Brownies

20170314_183558Happy St. Patrick’s Day! To most Americans (Irish ancestry or not), the day is likely spent sporting green colored clothing, eating corned beef & cabbage, and having an excuse to drink way too much Guinness or Bailey’s. This St. Patty’s Day I chose to make a boozy delight to honor the famous Irish stout, Guinness. These brownies are named after the well-known drink of the same name made up of part Guinness part Lager, however it would be wise to never order this drink in Ireland. If you happen to make that mistake you may be met with a bit of anger as the drink shares the same name as the British soldiers that were sent to Ireland to fight back the Irish rebels in the Easter Rising of 1916.

20170314_183739I will admit these brownies did not turn out quite as planned but rather than hide it I will share it so that others do not make similar mistakes. I expected the brownies to be a bit taller as I used straight from the bottle Guinness as opposed to flat. The problem likely occurred due to my little kitchen helper getting overzealous with the stirring of the batter. My second issue arose completely at the fault of my own. The brownies were not quite the texture I desire of a brownie. They resembled more of a cake-like bar and even seemed as if they were undercooked despite being left in the oven 5 extra minutes than intended. I think this was a result of using a glass baking pan instead of metal. This is only a theory though as it was the only difference compared to when I usually prepare brownies. Regardless of my few errors these were still delicious. Most desserts that claim to be boozy you can never taste the alcohol after it cooks but with these you definitely feel it. Give them a try!

Boozy Black & Tan Brownies

Tan Brownies Ingredients:

  •  6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 1 ½ cups Brown Sugar; packed
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 4.5 oz. (1 cup) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ½ cup Chopped Walnuts

Black Brownies Ingredients:

  • 3 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate; finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Guinness Stout
  • 4.5 oz. (1 cup) All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ tsp. Salt


  1. Place one oven rack in lower third of oven and move 2nd rack to center of oven. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan (preferably metal) with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. To prepare tan brownies, place 6 tbsp. butter and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in 2 eggs and 1 tsp. vanilla. Combine 4.5 oz. flour, baking powder, and ¼ tsp. salt. Add flour mixture and walnuts to sugar mixture, beating until just combined. Spoon into prepared baking pan, spreading evenly with a rubber spatula or other utensil. Bake for 15 minutes on lower rack.
  3. Meanwhile, to prepare black brownies, melt chocolate and 4 tbsp. butter in a large microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute (or until melted), stirring in 20 second intervals until smooth. Add sugar, stirring until well combined. Add 2 eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla, and Guinness, stirring with a whisk until well combined. Combine flour and salt, stirring well. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture, stirring to combine. Pour mixture evenly over cooked tan layer of brownies, making sure not to spread the batter and combine it with the tan layer.
  4. Bake brownies on center rack for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out almost clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares to serve.





St. Patrick’s Day Cookies

20160318_134842St. Patrick’s Day is a fun celebration for many, not just the Irish. On March 17th of each year you will spot mobs of people wearing green, menus featuring corned beef and cabbage paired with Guinness infused everything, parades, and countless leprechauns, shamrocks, and pots of gold leading to rainbows. The luck of the Irish has spread and you clearly are no longer pinch proof if you do not have Irish blood. It is only fitting that I created some cookies for the occasion.

To achieve the signature look of the holiday I started with a Shamrock and Pot of Gold cutter. I used my favorite sugar cookies as the base. You can use your own favorite recipe or buy store bought dough and roll out to 1/2 inch thick in order to replicate the same look. Once the cookies have baked and cooled you can start decorating. To make these cookies you will need the following:

  • Shamrock Cookie Cutter
  • Pot of Gold Cookie Cutter
  • Outlining Consistency Icing
  • Flood Icing
  • 20-second Icing
  • Green Food Color
  • White Food Color
  • Black Food Color
  • Gold Food Color
  • Gold Edible Glitter (I used Disco Dust)
  • Wilton Squeeze Bottles
  • Small Offset Spatula

potgoldAfter your cookies have baked and cooled, decide which pattern you want to begin with. I began with the pot of gold cookies because they had the greatest chance of bleeding and therefore required a longer drying time. If you decide to do the same, begin by preparing black outline consistency icing. Outline the pot area of the cookie with the black icing, leaving the gold portion blank. Set aside to dry. While the outline dries, prepare the black flood icing. Flood the outlined portion of the pot and use the offset spatula to fill the open space in faster. Set aside to dry completely.

Meanwhile, begin decorating the shamrock cookies. Prepare green outline consistency icing. Outline all areas of the cookie. Set aside to dry while you prepare the green flood consistency icing. Flood the shamrocks and cover the entire surface with green. Allow to dry completely.

shamrockAfter both cookies have had time to dry completely, add details with the 20-second icing. Divide batch of 20-second icing into two. Tint one half gold and the other with optic white. Using the optic white, outline the shamrock as shown or with whatever design you like. On the Pot of Gold, add a large backwards “C” to the right side of the pot and a large, wide “U” to the bottom of the pot. Using the gold 20-second icing, outline the remaining blank area on the pots of gold. Do not flood the blank area inside the outline. Instead make small rounds by squeezing small portions of icing and lifting the tip straight up to resemble a pot filled with coins. With the gold icing still wet sprinkle the area with edible gold glitter. Set aside to dry completely before serving.




Irish Cream Smith Island Cake


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!! Although I only have a small portion of my heritage that is Irish it doesn’t hurt to celebrate. Perhaps my favorite Irish offering besides Potato-Leek soup and the Boxty (Ireland’s version of a potato pancake), is Bailey’s Irish Cream. My favorite way to enjoy Bailey’s is in a frozen coffee like drink… delicious. Of course it also tastes wonderful in desserts. When contemplating what to prepare for St. Patrick’s Day, the one thing I was sure of is that it would include Bailey’s. I finally decided on cake, and what better way to impress all your leprechauns then with not just any cake but a Smith Island style cake dyed a two-tone green color synonymous with the holiday.


For those that don’t know what Smith Island style cake is, it’s very tall with many many layers. Hailing from the small town of Smith Island, Maryland, the Smith Island Cake is famous for its tall stature created by multiple thin layers smothered with a  rich, fudgy frosting. The Smith Island Cake has created such a grand reputation that it recently became the official state dessert of Maryland. With such an impressive reputation I decided to modify it for St. Patrick’s Day by tinting the layers green, adding Bailey’s Irish Cream to the cake batter, but maintaining the original choice to frost the layers with chocolate. The pairing of Irish cream and fudgy chocolate creates a taste so divine you will think you followed the rainbow to your taste buds pot of gold.


I will admit this isn’t my best post because I have had a rather stressful past week and have also had to juggle watching my daughter all while handling the stress which didn’t bode well. This is a cheater recipe for those who are rather strapped for time like myself. I don’t typically recommend cheating with any store bought products but a semi-homemade dessert every once in a while won’t hurt. It did hurt my final outcome of this post however as the cake layers were too moist and tended to slide and break apart upon slicing. I suppose no matter how displeased I was with the look of the cake I have to admit it tasted delicious. Oh well, I will have better luck next time. Hope you all have a great day celebrating and have all the luck of the Irish this year 🙂


Irish Cream Smith Island Cake



  • 2 boxes of White Cake Mix
  • 4 tubs of Chocolate Frosting
  • 1 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • Green Food Coloring
  • Shamrock Decorations



  1. Preheat oven according to package directions. In two separate bowls prepare each cake mix according to the boxed directions. To each bowl, add ½ cup Bailey’s Irish Cream. Mix until just incorporated. Tint the first bowl a light green and the second bowl a darker green. Grease and flour six 8 inch round cake pans (I use store bought foil pans to make things easier. If you don’t wish to do so, grease and flour 3 round cake pans and bake in batches. Be sure to allow the pans to cool completely before adding the next batch of batter to bake). Divide each bowl of batter evenly into the cake pans. Bake cakes for 20 minutes. Remove cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely before assembling.
  2. Once the layers have cooled, use an offset spatula to spread a thick layer of chocolate frosting on the first layer before topping it with another layer. Repeat with the rest of the layers, making sure to alternate the lighter and darker green layers as you frost the cake and build it up. Once all the layers have been assembled, spread an even layer of frosting across the top and sides of the cake. With the remaining frosting, fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe 8 rosettes around the top edges of the cake. Place a shamrock decoration on top of each rosette.