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Recipe Rescue, Belated St. Patrick's Day Edition: Chocolate Stout Brownies

Last week, John L. (a producer at WCIA-3, our local CBS station) asked if it was possible to make a healthier version of the Chocolate Stout Brownies he made to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. The stout beer used in the batter and glaze lends a rich, complex flavor. But 2 sticks of butter and a cup and a half of sugar? No wonder they're so decadent! So outrageous that I couldn't resist trying to rescue this recipe. Challenge accepted!

(Scroll to the bottom of the post for a printable PDF version of the recipe)

Original Recipe
  • 1 cup stout
  • 16 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped, divided
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
Changes Made:
  • 1 cup stout
  • 16 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped, divided: Decreased to 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (both to slightly decrease fat and calories but also for convenience - chocolate chips often sold in 12 ounce bags)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter: Substituted 1/2 cup applesauce for 1 stick of butter (retains moisture, significantly cuts fat and calories, adds some nutrition), decreased chocolate glaze by half so used 1 tablespoon instead of 2
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar: Applesauce also adds sweetness, so sugar is cut to 3/4 cup
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour: Used combination of ½ cup white whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (adds more nutrients)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided: Decreased to 1 1/8 teaspoons - 1 teaspoon in batter and 1/8 teaspoon in glaze

Nutrition Facts Face-Off!

The original recipe packed almost 400 calories into a little 2x2" square! The rescued version cuts the calories to 240, but these brownies are so chocolately and rich that you just might be satisfied with half a square (cut diagonally into a triangle!). In no way are the rescued brownies "healthy," but they're definitely healthi-ER.

Image removed.

Chocolate Stout Brownies (Printable PDF Version)

Makes 32 servings


  • 1 cup stout beer
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 stick + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons kosher salt, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8" baking pan with foil, leaving a 2" overhang.
  2. Bring stout to a boil in a small saucepan; cook until reduced to ½ cup, about 12 minutes. Let cool. Set aside 2 tablespoons for glaze and ¼ cup for the brownie batter.
  3. Melt 10 ounces chocolate and stick of butter in a double boiler* until melted and smooth.
  4. Whisk sugar, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in melted chocolate mixture, then ¼ cup reserved stout. Fold in flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake brownies until surface starts to crack and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, 35-45 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare glaze. Use the same double boiler to melt the remaining 2 ounces chocolate, 2 tablespoons reserved stout, 1 tablespoon butter, and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
  7. Pour warm glaze over brownies and use a spatula to spread evenly across the top. Let stand at room temperature until glaze is set, 40-60 minutes.
  8. Before serving, use foil overhang to lift brownie from pan; cut into squares or triangles. Recommended: cut into 16 squares, then cut each square into 4 bite-size pieces.

    Nutrition Facts (1/32 recipe): Calories 120, Total Fat 7g (Saturated 4g), Cholesterol 28mg, Sodium 68mg, Total Carbohydrate 14g, Dietary Fiber 1g, Protein 2g, Vitamin A 3% DV, Vitamin C 3% DV, Calcium 0% DV, Iron 1% DV

    Today's post was written by Leia Kedem. Leia Kedem, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and Nutrition & Wellness Educator covering Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, and Vermilion Counties. She appears weekly on WCIA-3/WCIX-49 and is a biweekly contributor to the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette. She also maintains Facebook and Twitter accounts where she regularly posts health tips and answers nutrition questions for free.