Bailey’s Brownies from Scratch
Try this decadent brownie recipe for St. Patrick’s Day. Bailey’s brownies are layered with Irish cream buttercream frosting and chocolate ganache. It’s a delicious treat everyone will love!
Bailey’s brownies have the most superb layers. It starts with a thick, fudgy brownie, which is topped with fluffy Bailey’s buttercream frosting and a rich chocolate ganache. You can serve them with a cup of Irish coffee or alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream or dollop of whipped cream.
Why this recipe works
To start, this uses my fudgy brownie recipe, which is a fan favorite and guarantees and a thick, chewy brownie. The batter has a sprinkle of espresso to bring out the chocolate flavor and complement the Bailey’s frosting. My favorite part are the layers in this dessert. It’s as beautiful as it is delicious!
- Brownies: Use my homemade brownie recipe for the base. The ingredients and instructions are also listed in the recipe card below. You will need basic ingredients like flour, sugar, eggs, butter, etc.
- Irish cream: This liqueur is is based on Irish whiskey and cream. Bailey’s is the most popular brand in the States, but you can also use Carolans or Emmets.
- Heavy cream: You will need heavy cream (not whipping cream) to make the ganache.
- Chocolate chips: Use high quality chocolate chips or chopped chocolate. It’s easier to melt and makes a better textured ganache.
For a nonalcoholic version, use Bailey’s coffee creamer for the same taste without alcohol. For more Bailey’s flavor, add Irish cream to the brownie mix. Add 2 Tablespoons with the butter and chocolate chips when melting. You can also make the Irish whiskey ganache from my Guinness cupcakes.
Add mix-ins like chocolate chips or nuts to the brownie batter. I think 1/2 cup white chocolate chips or mint chips would taste delicious. Some St. Patrick’s Day sprinkles on top of the ganache would be a festive touch!
To make a large batch, double the recipe and bake in a 9×13 pan. You can also make Bailey’s cream cheese frosting by replace 1/2 cup butter with 1/2 cup block cream cheese.
How to make Bailey’s brownies from scratch
- Melt the chocolate and butter over a low heat in a makeshift double boiler. See tips for melting chocolate.
- Whisk in the cocoa powder and espresso. Set the mixture aside to cool slightly.
- Beat the sugar and eggs together until combined and mixture is a pale yellow, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and salt.
- Stir in the melted chocolate mixture. Do this gently until fully incorporated.
- Add flour to the wet ingredients and stir just until combined.
- Transfer batter to prepared baking pan. Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until the top is shiny and edges are set. Cool completely.
- Make the Bailey’s buttercream frosting: Beat butter until creamy. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix until combined. Mix in Bailey’s Irish cream one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Spread over cooled brownies.
- Make the chocolate ganache: Heat heavy cream and Bailey’s Irish cream until scalding hot and pour over chocolate chips in a bowl. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, then stir until smooth. Spread evenly over the frosted brownies. Transfer to refrigerator to chill for an hour before cutting and serving.
To start, read through my homemade brownies recipe for tips on how to make the best brownies from scratch. Avoid over-baking since you want that nice fudgy texture.
Let the brownies cool completely before frosting, otherwise the frosting will melt. For the Bailey’s frosting, make sure your ingredients are at room temperature to achieve the best frosting consistency.
To make the ganache, use high quality chocolate such as Ghirardelli or Bakers Chocolate. It is easier to melt and results in a smoother consistency (check out my chocolate ganache post for more tips). Let the ganache fully set and chill before cutting and serving the brownies.
Make ahead and storage tips
Storage: Place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Place parchment paper between layers to prevent them from sticking.
Freezing: After the assembled brownies have chilled and set, freeze in a single layer for an hour. Then place in an airtight container with parchment paper between layers. Freeze for up to 3 months and defrost in the refrigerator before serving.
Make ahead: Brownies may be baked and made 48 hours ahead of time. Frosting and ganache will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. Reheat the ganache in a double boiler or the microwave on 50% power level before spreading.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, in a pinch, boxed brownies may be used for this recipe. I prefer Ghirardelli brownie mix.
The butter was too warm when the frosting was made or you are baking in a warm climate. It should be soft and cool to the touch, but not greasy. To fix this, put the mixing bowl in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes, beat the frosting for 5 seconds and use.
The chocolate is not high quality or the ganache temperature is too hot. The heavy cream and Bailey’s should be scalding hot, not boiling. The liquid will have small bubbles around the edges of the saucepan when it’s the right temperature.
Here are some more recipes to try for the holiday!
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Get the Recipe: Bailey’s Brownies from Scratch
- 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons (200 g) good quality semisweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup (113 g or 1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into quarters
- 3 tablespoons (18 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder (or instant coffee), optional
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 ¼ cups (250 g) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (125 g) all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (1 1/2 sticks or 170 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups (360 g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 3 to 5 Tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur
- ¾ cup (4 oz) good quality semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- ½ cup (120 ml) Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line an 8 by 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a makeshift double boiler over low heat, melt chocolate chips and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove pan from the heat and whisk in the cocoa and espresso powder (if using). Set aside to cool.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add vanilla and salt until combined, about 15 seconds. Keep mixer on low and slowly pour in warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
- Remove bowl from mixer and stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until just combined.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, spread into the corners and level with a rubber spatula. Bake 25 minutes, or until the top is shiny and the center is still dense. Brownies will continue to bake once removed from oven.
- Cool completely to room temperature, about 2 hours. Prepare frosting.
- Using an electric mixer, beat butter until high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. Add Bailey’s Irish Cream and mix until combined. If a thinner frosting consistency is desired, add more Irish cream one tablespoon at a time.
- Spread frosting over cooled brownies and refrigerate while ganache is prepared.
- Place chocolate chips in a bowl and set aside.
- Add heavy cream and Bailey’s Irish Cream to a saucepan. Heat until scalding hot and the cream at the edge of the pan is simmering. Pour hot heavy cream over chocolate chips and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth and chocolate is melted.
- Spread over frosted brownies and let them sit for 20 minutes before transferring to the refrigerator to set. Slice and serve.