Easy to make and easier to eat, these shortcut beer + pretzel brownies are perfect tailgating food.
Can you feel it? That nip in the air that means fall and FOOTBALL SEASON are right around the corner?
I can’t even express my excitement, although admittedly I can’t feel any kind of nip here in PHX. Here it’s more oven outside than anything else.
Every year it’s inevitable—I begin counting the days ‘til next season at the 2-minute warning of the last Duck game of the season. As much as I love summer, and I love summer, fall holds a special place in my heart.
I come from a football-loving family, so I’ve eaten my share of football-watching food. The smell of hot dogs grilling will forever remind me of tailgating before Duck games when I was growing up.
After stuffing ourselves with the potato chips and cookies and Costco bags of Halloween candy we were only allowed on game days, my friends and I would chase the marching band around the parking lot at Autzen Stadium, desperately hoping they’d play Louie Louie so we could scream out the words—all two of them that we knew, anyway.
Don’t ask me how none of us ever got sick.
Back in the day, my contribution to tailgaters was always oatmeal scotchie bars. They were the perfect portable treat to cap off a meal of hot dogs and hamburgers.
But move over oatmeal scotchies! There’s a new tailgating dessert in town!
These shortcut beer + pretzel brownies will be my contribution to each and every tailgater I attend this year. (Of which there will probably be few since I don’t live in Eugene or Syracuse anymore, and I’m not missing a Duck game on TV to watch an ASU game in person.)
These brownies feature a box brownie mix for ease and a beer-infused frosting for extra deliciousness.
If you’re not sure about beer in your desserts, I urge you to reconsider. It isn’t a prominent flavor—it just contributes some nice bitterness in the background of the frosting. And the pretzels add a lovely, salty crunch that’s totally addictive, the perfect complement to that game day beer you’re sure to be drinking.
Whip up a batch of these beer + pretzel brownies and you’ll be the star of your next football party. Trust me, I know whereof I speak 🙂
- 1 (18-ounce) box brownie mix + ingredients to make them
- stout beer (to substitute for the water in the brownies)
- 2/3 cup crushed pretzels
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons stout beer, divided
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 to 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- additional pretzels, for decorating (optional)
- sprinkles, for decorating (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or whatever temperature your box specifies). Line a 13- by 9-inch baking pan with foil, allowing several inches of excess to hang over the sides. Spray the foil with cooking spray and set pan aside.
- Mix the brownies according to the directions on the box, substituting beer for the water. Fold in the crushed pretzels and spread batter into an even layer in the prepared pan. Bake according to the directions on the box and cool completely before frosting.
- While brownies are in the oven, place the 1/2 cup of beer in a small saucepan. Set the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the beer has reduced to about 1/4 cup. Set aside to cool completely before continuing with the frosting.
- Once reduced beer has cooled to room temperature, place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until very creamy, about 1 minute. Add the reduced beer, the remaining 2 tablespoons beer, vanilla, and salt and beat for 1 minute more. Add 3 cups of the powdered sugar and beat on low until combined, then increase speed to high and beat for 3 to 4 minutes, until very fluffy. If frosting is too thin, add additional powdered sugar. If it’s too thick, add additional beer (you don’t need to reduce it).
- Spread frosting over the cooled brownies and top with sprinkles and/or pretzels. (I recommend refrigerating the brownies overnight to make slicing easier but it isn’t necessary.) Use the excess foil to remove brownies from their pan. Slice into bars and serve.