Sweets,  Cookies, Biscuits & Bars

Prohibition Brownies

Some days just scream out for brownies. Today is one of them. One big problem I have with internet brownie recipes is that the all say they’re the BEST EVER! / MOST AMAZING! / YOU’LL NEVER MAKE ANOTHER BROWNIE RECIPE AGAIN! brownies and then when you make them they all sound one note: Sweet.

Looking for the gluten-free version of my Prohibition Brownies? Click this link to get there!

Sweet is great and all, but after a while “sweet” on its own just isn’t good enough. Let’s have some depth of flavor, right? Some delicious notes that we can’t quite discern. Something that reminds us of our childhood but has a definitively more adult flair than what we actually grew up loving (have you had a Pixie-Stick lately…? 🤢).

Also, we don’t really need to bake a giant tray of snacks and have Starbucks-sized brownies sitting around the house, do we? Perhaps something a little more restrained is in order. Let’s call it “Euro-sized:” Snacks that are big enough to satisfy your sweet tooth but not so big or abundant that they’ll destroy your waistline.

Now, I didn’t set out to create a brownie recipe for the kids here; there are plenty of those out there already and — in a pinch — a boxed mix can come down from the shelf and satisfy the sweet tooth of your average 8-year-old. No, this was an endeavor for the adults.

So here we go. These brownies have two kinds of fat (the little bit of oil will help them to retain moisture while baking), just enough flour to make sure that they (basically) hold together, cocoa powder to pack an extra-chocolatey punch, espresso powder to deepen the flavor of the chocolate, brown sugar for some molasses notes, and whiskey because — well, because it’s in the cupboard and why not? Whiskey and chocolate pair beautifully. Whiskey and coffee pair beautifully. Whiskey and chocolate and coffee pair beautifully. We’re all adults here: If we want to throw booze into our brownies, we can.

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Prohibition Brownies

  • Author: Matthew Smedal
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 16 brownies 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American


Whiskey and chocolate pair beautifully. We’re all adults here: If we want to throw booze into our brownies, we can.


  • 1 bar (4oz) unsweetened chocolate (133 grams)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (84 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (25 grams)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (60 grams)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (21 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder (2 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt (1.5 grams)
  • 3 large eggs (150 grams)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (107 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey (28 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (9 grams)


  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C). Make a parchment sling and line an 8×8-inch (20×20-centimeter) baking dish with it.
  2. Combine the flourespresso powdercocoa powder and salt in a small bowl. Make sure to break up any small clumps of flour of cocoa powder. If you managed this without getting flour everywhere you’re doing really well. 
  3. Melt the unsweetened chocolatebutter, and oil together in a small pan over low heat, stirring constantly so that you do not burn the chocolate. This is really important — we’re skipping the building of a double-boiler here to save time, so just make sure that the heat is low and the mixture keeps moving so you don’t ruin your chocolate. Remove from heat, stir in the whiskey and vanilla, and cover to keep warm.
  4. Whip the eggs with both sugars on medium-high speed until the mixture is thick and fluffy and ribbons off the beater. This will take about 4 to 5 minutes with a machine, or 8 to 10 minute by hand. I used the machine. 
  5. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture followed by the flour mixture. It’s OK if you deflate it a bit as we’re making brownies and not cake, but try to leave some air in those eggs as they’re the only things here that will help the batter to rise. Pour into your prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes.
  6. Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with wet crumbs but no wet batter attached / an instant-read thermometer reads 200°F (400°C).
  7. Allow brownies to cool in the pan. Remove the brownies with the parchment sling and place on a cutting board. Cut into sixteen squares with a chef’s knife dipped in hot water and wiped clean and dry after every cut.

Keywords: chocolate, whiskey, brownies, eggs, alcohol

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