The Very Best Brownies.

Rich and fudgy homemade brownies made from scratch- cookieandkate.com

Let’s rewind to Valentine’s Day. I’m single. I’m not feeling well. My mom is in town and our plan is to eat dinner and watch movies. As the sun goes down, I decide that I need a brownie—like I really need a brownie, for aforementioned reasons—and proceed to pull every baking book off of my shelves in my search for my ideal brownie recipe.

I wanted rich, dark, chewy, legit café-like brownies with crackly tops. I didn’t want gooey, fall-apart, stick-to-your-front-teeth brownies. I also didn’t want health-ified brownies or brownies swirled with cheesecake. I wanted one perfect brownie. Sometimes a girl just needs a brownie, you know?

cocoa and brown butter

I finally found a promising recipe in my copy of Alice Medrich’s Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts. It was a thinner brownie than I wanted, but it looked dark and delicious and had the most magnificent shiny, crackly top. The recipe contains a fair amount of butter, as legit brownies should, and the butter is browned before the addition of sugar and cocoa powder. If you’re going to put a lot of butter in something, you might as well brown it for extra flavor.

Alice’s recipe also called for a lower-than-usual baking temperature (325 degrees) and specified that the brownies be baked in the lower third of the oven. All of the chocolate flavor came from cocoa powder, too. Interesting.

chopped dark chocolate

Alice’s brownies made from scratch turned out beautifully. Crackly top. Dense, fudge-like interior. Rich, complex flavor. They weren’t quite matching my idea of the quintessential brownie, though. I wanted a taller brownie, one that is a little more like a brownie than fudge, with some chopped dark chocolate thrown in for textural interest. Thus began my obsessive quest for the quintessential brownie recipe.

Five batches of brownies and a bunch of brownie research later, I think I’ve found it. I learned a lot along the way. I learned that in order to achieve the shiny, crackly top, you have to stir the sugar into hot butter so it melts. Alice’s low baking temperature and rack positioning also seem to improve texture, but I couldn’t tell you why.

My final recipe calls for more flour and a little baking powder to help the brownies rise. I also used whole wheat flour, as always, but there’s so much chocolate in the brownies that I promise no one will be able to tell. (I’ve provided footnotes in my recipe so you can adjust the recipe to produce your ideal brownie.)

brownie batter

Ever since I started making simple baked goods from scratch, I’ve wondered how boxed mixes ever became mainstream. Sure, you don’t have to measure out flour and baking powder, but you still have to add liquid and crack the eggs. That hardly saves much time, and comes with the additional cost of preservatives and ingredients that should never be in your food. (Hydrogenated oil is the devil.)

Michael Pollan, my favorite food writer, came to Kansas City last summer to talk about his latest book, Cooked. He finally solved the boxed mix mystery for me.

The best homemade brownies ever - cookieandkate.com

Pollan explained that the first boxed mixes contained powdered eggs, which removed the step of cracking eggs into the bowl. I mean, why go to the trouble of cracking eggs into a bowl if you don’t have to, right? Wrong. American women initially wanted nothing to do with the boxed mixes. They felt like they were cheating when they used them. Once the manufacturers took out the powdered eggs so we could crack eggs over the bowl, we felt like we owned the final result. The baked good was then homemade enough to present to our loved ones.

If you have never made brownies from scratch, give these a try and I promise you’ll never reach for a box again. If you’re pinched for time, throw in chocolate chips instead of chopping the chocolate by hand. Ta da! Homemade brownies made from scratch and baked with love.

The best homemade brownies ever. (Made from scratch!) - recipe at cookieandkate.comCocoa and brown butter brownies made from scratch! - cookieandkate.comBrownies made from scratch - cookieandkate.com

4.6 from 19 reviews
The Very Best Brownies.
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
Rich, dark, chewy and fudgy brownies made from scratch. These brownies are flavored with cocoa powder and brown butter and feature a beautifully swirled, flaky top.
Ingredients
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch slices
  • 1¼ cups pure cane sugar
  • ¾ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder or very finely ground coffee (optional)
  • 2 cold large eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup white whole wheat flour (or flour of choice)
  • 2 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped (or ⅓ cup chocolate chips)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the lower third of the oven. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with two criss-crossed pieces of parchment paper, making sure that the paper is long enough to go up the sides a couple of inches. Grease the parchment paper.
  2. Brown the butter: Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook the butter, while whisking constantly, until it’s a pale golden brown and the particles suspended in it are reddish brown. This usually takes me about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the sugar. Then add the cocoa powder, sea salt, baking powder and espresso powder. Stir until the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating vigorously with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula after each one. When the mixture looks thick, shiny and well blended, add the vanilla extract and the flour. Stir until you no longer see streaks of flour. Then beat vigorously (put those arm muscles to work!) for 50 strokes with the wooden spoon or spatula.
  5. At this point, the mixture should be no more than slightly warm (if not, let it cool for a few more minutes). Fold in the chocolate chunks or chips.
  6. Spread the batter in the lined pan, then use a knife to make light swirls in the top of the batter. Bake on the lower rack for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Cool the brownies in the pan on a baking rack.
  7. Once the brownies are completely cool, lift the edges of the parchment paper and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Use a sharp chef's knife to cut the brownies into 16 or 25 squares.
Notes
  • Adapted from Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts and King Arthur Flour.
  • These brownies freeze well. Store them in a freezer-safe bag and let them defrost at room temperature.
  • For more dense and fudge-like brownies, cook the brownies a minute or two less.
  • For more fluffy and cake-like brownies, add another egg.
  • For less rich brownies, skip the chopped chocolate.
  • If you like nuts in your brownies, fold in 1 cup walnut or pecan pieces along with the chopped chocolate.
  • I haven't tried, but I think an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend could be substituted for the whole wheat flour with good results. (Update! Here's proof that Cup4Cup flour works great in this recipe.)

P.s. If you really want health-ified, naturally sweetened brownies, I have some dark chocolate zucchini brownies over here. Note that they don’t have the crackly top that these brownies do and that the zucchini hardly adds much nutrition because it’s almost entirely water. If I made them again, I would try skipping the zucchini altogether, upping the cocoa powder to 2/3 cup and decreasing the baking powder to 1 teaspoon for richer and less cakey results. 5/2/14: sorry folks, Terri says the brownies don’t turn out well when made this way!

Comments

  1. Christine says

    I’ve made Alice Medrich’s “best cocoa brownies” recipe fifty times in two years, after finding the recipe on “The Wednesday Chef,” and have never considered that anything possibly could be better. I’m excited to try your variation, though. Thanks!

  2. says

    These look so good! Brownies are probably my favorite food ever, and I can’t quite nail down any one version that I like better than the others. It just needs to be brownies all the time! I especially love your close up photo of the baked swirl in the top – beautiful!

  3. says

    Giiirrrrllll we are SO on the same page. Brownies are probably my favorite thing (shh – don’t tell cake!) and these sound like they might fit my “perfect” brownie description, too. I’m currently working on a search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie, which I will be discussing on my blog in the future. But after that, it’s on to brownies, and these will most likely be on my list for competition as a top contender!

  4. says

    I’m so picky about brownies (and that top crust), these look like perfection! I enjoyed that section of Cooked too – so crazy how “food” in this country has evolved…

  5. says

    I think we’re all on the hunt for that elusive, perfect brownie aren’t we? And it’s interesting because we all have different perspectives on what a “perfect brownie” truly is, since it’s really quite subjective. I myself prefer the more dense and fudgy brownie compared to the lighter, cakier variety. These look like they’re right smack in the middle and they look absolutely delicious, especially eyeing that perfectly crackled top!

    Very interesting tidbit about boxed baking mixes!

  6. says

    I believe that many coffee shop brownies are made from a mix ;) but I think the reason for boxed brownies or cake is three-fold.
    1.The chemical taste gives people the nostalgic feeling of what they got as kids, something that can’t (and should not) be replicated in scratch baking.
    2. With a box you don’t have to stock baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, butter, sugar or even flour – how many times have I had to run to the store because I was just missing one item
    3. People think baking is this elusive thing that they can’t do – they get intimidated by having to measure out exact amounts.

    These look yummy!

  7. says

    I do love a good brownie with a crispy top! These sound incredible. I heard that story, too, about powdered eggs in cake mixes and the ladies rejecting that notion. I feel the same way about boxed cake mixes (why?) and for heaven’s sake, pancake mix. Pancakes are just a few pantry ingredients plus milk. I just don’t get it.

  8. says

    Brownies are my kryptonite! And I also lovingly call myself a ‘brownie whore’. Whenever I make them, I might as well sit down with a fork and the pan and go to town. Just by the look of these, I can tell they would do me in! Delicious.

    …and now I want a brownie with a big pot of coffee…thanks.

  9. says

    These look amaaaazing! I think we love the exact same type of brownie. I just posted recently about not really liking the fudge-brownies and how brownies are just not something I want to healthify. I’ve just always been afraid to try making them GF! 8+ trials later I landed on the perfect recipe. So happy to have brownies back in my life. Although, so very dangerous. haha :) Looks like you nailed it!

  10. says

    Well, these may have to happen just about immediately. It’s been…six months? Maybe? since I last made brownies. This is clearly unacceptable! Brownies for all! :)

  11. says

    These brownies look amazing! I tend to always go for the box mix when making brownies because I can never get my from scratch brownies to be as thick and fudgy. Thanks for taking the time to figure out the perfect brownie recipe, so now all I have to do is buy the ingredients! Also, that is a really interesting story about the evolution of box mixes, thanks for sharing!

  12. says

    These look tremendous and I love that you took the time to research and plick and pluck until you got them just so! I ADORE your new blog look. So fresh and easy to navigate!

    • says

      Hey there, the recipe I was working from in Sinfully Delicious Desserts actually called for only 1/3 cup flour. The brownies tasted amazing but they were bordering on fudge. I wanted taller brownies and I wanted brownies with chocolate chips, so instead of doubling all of the ingredients in her recipe, I doubled the amount of flour and the added chocolate makes up for any loss of rich flavor. (I decided to go this route after consulting a bunch of King Arthur recipes.) I hope that all makes sense!

  13. says

    From scratch is far superior to out of the box any day, if you ask me! Cracking eggs is a small price to pay for deliciousness (and better nutrition too, in the case of lots of boxed products!) These look gorgeous. I bet this was a fun recipe to test – gotta be thorough with recipe testing, right?! ;)

  14. says

    You’re so right — nothing beats a homemade brownie. I have my own favorite recipe (like everyone does!) and a few “healthy” recipes…but I have a feeling I’m going to have to try this one, too! You know, in the name of “research.”

  15. says

    I never get tired of reading (and making) new brownie recipes and I’m excited to try this version! I played around with Alice’s original recipe a few years ago and it ended badly but everyone speaks so highly of them that I’ll have to try again.

  16. says

    Love that you went through 5 batches to get here. Can’t wait to try these! Homemade brownies can be so, so easy, and are for sure worth the effort. I use a Cook’s Illustrated brownie recipe, which is to die for. But requires a million extra steps, so I’m curious to see how these compare!

  17. Tina says

    I’ve been out of town and just saw the new website…I like it! Very bold. Congratulations on the transition!

  18. says

    I completely agree about boxed baked goods – why bother?
    Love this post – some really helpful tips on getting the perfect brownie. Thanks for sharing your research :)

  19. kelli says

    I like to add orange zest and juice from one medium orange or tangerine instead of coffee….although coffee is awesome on the side…in a cup

  20. says

    I feel your pain about Valentine’s Day Kate. Recently single myself, like literally 3 days before Valentine’s Day. I needed brownies that day too! These look great! I’ve never been able to achieve that crackly top like you get from a box mix. So I’ll have to try these out.

  21. Madeline says

    A friend and I made these last night and the only difference we made to the recipe was that I was short a yolk, so we had one full egg and two whites. The brownies (while still having great flavor) didn’t get that smooth/matte/crackle top, and were instead seemed fairly oily and glossy. Could being short one yolk really make that much of a difference? Love your blog and curious about your thoughts!

    • says

      Madeline, that is interesting. Assuming that your oven was set to 325 and the oven rack was in the lower third of the oven, I guess the egg yolk must make the difference. I don’t know what else it could be! I’ve made these brownies six or seven times now and the brownies have never seemed oily. Hmm.

          • says

            Hey Drea, I’m totally baffled by the reports of oily brownies. Could you please tell me what kind/brand of cocoa powder and chocolate you were using? Could you describe what you mean by oily brownies a little better? Thank you!

        • says

          Madeline, I’m trying to figure out this oily brownie issue. Could you please tell me what brand/kind of cocoa powder and chocolate you were using? I don’t know what else could be causing the issue!

          • Madeline says

            Thanks for being such a detective, Kate! I hope this isn’t driving you crazy though, we definitely still gobbled up all those brownies!

            I will say though that I thought about the cocoa too the other day, since the kind I used wasn’t Dutch-processed. Maybe that would make the difference? It was Nestle brand, which doesn’t have any other added things in it, just cocoa, but it didn’t say Dutch-processed on the box. I used a semisweet baking chocolate (the kind that comes in those little individually wrapped nuggets) and a bit of some Trader Joe’s dark chocolate (from the giant bar) for the chunks. Also, I used cane sugar, but it was the large crystal kind, like tubinado. Perhaps that was my mistake?

          • says

            Hey Madeline, thank you for getting back to me! I also used cocoa powder that was not Dutch processed, so that doesn’t explain it. I’m not sure if the semi-sweet baking chocolate could have caused the problem. Sometimes that stuff has additives like wax (seriously!), which could make the brownies turn out funny. I used the Trader Joe’s giant dark chocolate bar for my chocolate. The turbinado sugar might be a factor… usually it’s a fine substitute for sugar but since the goal is to melt the sugar into the hot butter, maybe it didn’t melt down as much and that’s why your brownies didn’t get that matte, crackly top. Hmmm! I will let you know if I find a more conclusive answer.

  22. Sheryl says

    Did anyone try these? Did the 25 min at 325 degrees work for you? I have them in the oven right now and it’s been 45 min and the toothpick is still coming out covered. That toothpick tastes fantastic, mind you, but I’m wondering how long I’ll need to cook them beyond the recipe’s time.

    • says

      Sheryl, that’s very strange. I’ve made these brownies at least six times and they never needed more than 30 minutes in the oven (I keep an oven thermometer in my oven so I can make sure the temperature is accurate). I’m wondering if your oven isn’t working properly or if you could just be hitting chocolate chunks with the toothpick… If the sides of the brownies are pulling away from the pan, the brownies are done!

      • Sheryl says

        I pulled them out at just over 45 min: the middle was a bit moister than I’d like, but the flavour was excellent. Will have to try an oven thermometer.

          • Becky says

            I’m having the exact same difficulty right now… they have been in for 35 minutes and no where near done. I was wondering if the oven temp was a typo and it was supposed to be 425?

          • says

            Hi Becky, 325 is correct. I’m not sure why your brownies aren’t baked through yet! I’m sorry that’s happening. Hope they turn out well.

  23. says

    Brownie research = THE BEST KIND OF RESEARCH. Also, should be added to the list of reasons why food blogging is the best. These are perfect.

  24. says

    I have NEVER understood the whole cake mix idea either, Kate, even when I was a child and you don’t think too much about things like that on the whole. I remember wondering what the point was when you still have to add eggs and liquid. I guess people are just attracted by the pretty box and the idea that it’s supposed to be easier, even if it isn’t all that much – clever marketing I suppose! Anyway, thanks for doing all this brownie research. I can imagine that this is a very trustworthy recipe and will pin it for future reference!

  25. says

    I have literally woken up my boyfriend before on multiple occasions to take middle-of-the-night runs to the 24 hour Walmart for brownie ingredients. I can definitely relate to the need for a brownie! These sound delicious (:

  26. says

    reading about the origins of boxed cake mixes was fascinating, I’ve often wondered what the point of them was too! experimenting to find the perfect brownie sounds like such an amazing way to spend the last month!

  27. Kerry says

    These came out delicious! I used Hersey Special Dark cocoa and doubled the recipe for a 13 x 9 pan. The batter was very stiff and I had quite the workout–but they came out wonderfully dark & chewy. Oh, they also baked quite a bit longer (I may have an oven issue). These are probably the best brownies I’ve made–thank you!

  28. says

    These look so good, Kate! I also loved to hear about the recipe development process. Will remember this recipe the next time when all I want is a perfect brownie.

    Have a great week,
    Sini

  29. says

    Lady, I hear you! This past week was a rough one for me: Matt was at SXSW and I was by myself with Neko, who got sick the first day he was gone, wasn’t sleeping and generally being a terror. Add in stress around work stuff and I was in real need of some comfort food. I wish I had this recipe! Brownies are the best kind of comfort. xo

    • says

      Oh, that sounds rough, Kasey! Hope this week is going much better. I would’ve teleported you a pan of brownies if I could have. :)

  30. says

    There is something so good about brownies, it’s hard pressed to find anyone who does not enjoy them. That crunchy top, the slightly charred corner, the chewy but melt in the mouth texture (how do those two things even happen at the same time??) that make chocolate brownies moreish. Your pictures are literally showcasing the perfect brownie. Am off to bake!

    • says

      Hey Rachel, I’m sorry your brownies didn’t turn out like mine. The only time that my brownies didn’t have the flaky top was when I baked them with a pizza stone on a rack above them—that was a mistake! I’m really baffled as to why they turned out oily. I’m wondering if it’s due to the chocolate. Would you mind telling me what kind/brand of chocolate you used in the brownies?

      • says

        Thanks for the response! I used Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa and added chopped bittersweet chocolate (from those chunks of chocolate at whole foods). I didn’t have a pizza stone in the oven but like I said, I had the rack in the middle of the oven.

        • says

          Hmm, well, I’m still confused as to how they turned out oily. Sometimes baking chocolate has weird additives like wax (for real), but I would expect Whole Foods’ chocolate to be better than that. I adapted this recipe from one of the most popular brownie recipes out there—I doubled the amount of flour (which should make it less greasy) and added chocolate—so I’m fairly convinced that it has to do with the chocolate.

  31. says

    Oh. Goodness. These. Brownies! I never go back to a page to comment aster trying a recipe, but when someone does all the work to solve one of life’s great mysteries, I believe they deserve a “thank you.” So thank you! Now I’m going to take another bite followed by a swig of milk straight from the jug to celebrate ;)

  32. Caroline says

    Wow! What an amazing recipe!
    I have tried making brownies from scratch in the past and have never been successful.

    The brownies came out AMAZING! Way better than a mix. I will never use a brownie mix again. :)

  33. Patricia says

    Hi!! I´m about to bake your great looking brownies but I wonder how much a Tbsp butter is in gr. or oz.??
    Thanks!!

  34. Stacey says

    Based on some of the challenges people sited with cooking time, I increased temp to 3:30 (3:35 for last 5 min). It still needed about 10-15 min over 25 min. They came out perfect and no issues with oiliness. I made as directed but omitted the extra chocolate. Thanks for creating!

  35. says

    Ohhhhh yes. These look incredible. The crackly top is definitely ESSENTIAL for a recipe to be termed ‘the best brownie’, and yours certainly cuts the metaphorical mustard! I have a fave recipe already but I will definitely try this one for comparison. It looks divine, thanks for sharing the deliciousness xx

  36. Annie says

    Made these today and they came out really oily without the flaky top and too moist in the middle. I followed the recipe exactly as well.

    • says

      Annie, I’m so sorry the brownies didn’t turn out right for you. I’m thoroughly baffled by the inconsistent results but I’m doing everything I can to get to the bottom of the matter.

  37. says

    Made these last night and they were delicious! They were a little too sweet for my taste, so next time I’ll cut down on the sugar. I don’t think I’ll add the coffee next time either, it kind of took over the chocolate flavor. They hit the spot, and were gorgeous to boot! Thanks for all your hard work!

    • says

      Leah, glad the brownies turned out well! The sweetness/coffee flavor could have to do with the strength of your cocoa powder and coffee. Glad you liked them, though! I bet your next batch will be just right.

  38. Elizabeth says

    I was so excited about these brownies, and I just baked them tonight, but they didn’t come out of the oven with the crackly top and they look oily. I followed the recipe to a T. I even baked the brownies in the lower third of the oven. But, like other comments noted, maybe it was the chocolate I used. I used some fancy schmancy kind I got for Xmas (Julius Meinl cocoa from Vienna, Austria, but bought in Chicago). It seemed like the perfect cocoa – unsweetened, the real deal. But maybe it isn’t. ‘m going to try again with another cocoa.

    I was worried something was wrong as I was putting the uncooked brownie mixture in the pan. It was very hard to spread, and I definitely couldn’t swirl it to get the beautiful top that Kate achieved. I’m determined to try again. Fingers crossed!

    • says

      Elizabeth, I’m so bummed to hear that your brownies didn’t turn out. It’s driving me crazy that they aren’t turning out perfectly for everyone! I actually spent the weekend at a baking workshop hosted by King Arthur Flour and asked what could be going wrong. Susan said it could be the fat content of the various cocoa powders, or it might have something to do with variations in the brown butter. I wonder if it has to do with the chopped chocolate addition. Ugh! She offered to try making the brownies and let me know if she finds any clues, so I will let you know if we figure it out!

      • Elizabeth says

        Kate, you’re the best for offering to sleuth on brownie troubles. (And to reply to all these comments from folks like me!) I’ve loved everything I’ve made from your blog. I’m sure with more brownie research I’ll nail it like others have. But if you have any more tips, I’m all ears!

  39. krystal says

    Just FYI (ask me how I know) – you can’t double this recipe as written. I’d guess it would be best to go with only 16 tbsp butter for a double batch. If you use 20, the butter separates out during baking and….. it’s not pretty.

    That said, I’ve made this recipe lots and love it!! I’m actually remaking two separately mixed batches right now. They really are THE VERY BEST BROWNIES.

    • says

      Krystal, thank you SO much for your comment! I’ve been baffled by others’ reports of oily brownies, and your suggestion that the butter separates out during baking gives me a much better clue of what’s going on. So glad you agree that they are the best!

      • krystal says

        It makes sense, and I noticed this suggestion above, that is might be variability with the browning or what the fat content is in the butter.

  40. Mariam says

    I just love this post! It is so accurate, I have tried probably 20 different healthy brownie recipes and none truly satisfied my need for a real brownie. Sweet potato brownies were terrible, most black bean ones were actually really good but generally lack the chewy factor! They look SO good! And at least your using much less processed ingredients!

    • says

      Thanks, Mariam! I’m glad we agree. I’m more satisfied by a small piece of a seriously rich, real deal brownie than a whole pan of those healthy brownies.

      • Mariam says

        Kate, I finally got around to making these and you are correct, they really are the best ever brownies! I use 1/2 c of flour just so it could be midway between both recipe but I’ll try with the full 3/4 next time. Turned out to be a huge hit when I brought them to school! Thanks so much (ps, no oily problem, they worked out perfectly!)

  41. Erica says

    I love the look of these brownies and can’t wait to give them a try. Just one question – why the awkward measurements of butter? It seems odd to measure out ten tablespoons of butter… is butter in the states different to butter in NZ? Our butter comes in blocks of 500gms and so I don’t get how I would even measure it out by the tablespoon.

    • says

      In the U.S., our butter comes in sticks with tablespoons labeled on the outside. I googled the conversion and I think 10 tablespoons is 140 grams of butter. Hope that helps.

      • Erica says

        That’s so weeeeeird haha. I converted it too, and did about 140 grams of butter and used a gluten free baking mix as these were a treat for my partner. They were YUMMY, despite the fact that they were made with dreaded gluten free flours. They still had the crackly top and tasted nice and fudgy. Now I want to try them with normal flour because I bet they taste even better. So glad I came across this recipe!

  42. says

    Made this for me and my husband this weekend and they turned out just as you described; crackly-topped and fudgy! Loved your detailed explanation of what you were looking for and how you got there with this recipe :)

  43. Terri says

    I made these today and they were quick, easy and delicious. I also made the healthy version with your suggested edits with leaving out the zucchini, increasing the cocoa and decreasing the baking powder. It was extremely dry so I added so almond milk and only cooked for 25 min. Was very dry and not attractive. Have you tried making it yet? Do you melt the coconut oil? Thoughts

    • says

      Hey Terri, I’m glad these brownies worked out for you but sorry that the others didn’t! I was just throwing those ideas out there because I thought they would work, but apparently not. I won’t do that again. Yes, I melted my coconut oil, and I just realized the recipe didn’t state that fact. Just fixed that, but I’m not quite sure what should be done to remedy the recipe. I’m sorry. :(

      • Terri says

        Thanks for the feedback – I am going to try making the zucchini ones this weekend – just bought the zucchini today. Looking forward to trying those.

  44. DeAnn says

    I love the flavor from the browned butter, they almost taste carmel-ish. I also used the big Trader Joe’s, shiny, purple, chocolate bar instead of chocolate chips. They turned out amazing. The only problem is….my boys keep making the recipe and using up all my precious chocolate bars.

  45. Kellie says

    Hey, I just tried this recipe and it came out really oily and lumpy! :( I could already feel that something was wrong when the mixture became grainy (kind of like when chocolate seizes) after i put the sugar, cocoa powder, sea salt, baking powder and vanilla extract into the melted butter! But i went on because i was really expecting it to turn out to be a great brownie :(

    • says

      Kellie, I’m so sorry that happened to you! I’ve heard from a few others who have had the same problem. It’s driving me crazy because I can’t figure out what’s causing the problem. Your comment gave me a few more clues, though. I’m really sorry they didn’t turn out well and hope to figure out why soon!

  46. Isabella says

    I just made these and am reaching for another slice… Seriously the best brownies ever. I followed the recipe to the dot and they came out utterly perfectly! Thank you so much!

  47. Kashia says

    I did everything the recipe said–until it came to the vigorous mixing. I literally couldn’t mix anything. It was stiff and thick and really just scooted around the pan. Since mixing by hand wasn’t working out, I put it into my mixer and the mixer just scooted it around the bowl so I decided just to pick up up and put it in the dish and like someone else said, I could hardly spread it and definitely couldn’t swirl it.

    I baked it for 25 minutes but there was oil all over it so I continued to bake it for about 10 minutes. Then I just decided to use a paper towel to soak up all of the grease and took it out. It looks nothing like the picture : ( The toothpick came out clean but looked very oily. Because of desperation, I’m still going to eat them (I think). Because I struggle to wait until things are cool, I’ve tried some edges and they taste pretty good (I don’t think as good as they should but still good!).

    I’m not sure what I did or if any of this was normal? I’ve never made homemade brownies and was brought up on boxed brownies so that’s all I had to compare to other than comments from others. Either way, I’m definitely willing to retry these! Just some more info that may help out with the problem: I left out the chopped chocolate and the espresso.

    • says

      Kashia, I am so bummed the brownies didn’t turn out for you. I’m sorry! You are not the first one to report this issue. I made another batch last weekend to try to figure it out, but that batch turned out well, too. It’s driving me mad! I think that cocoa powder combined with liquid can just be finicky sometimes, but I’m still searching for a better answer. The batter should have seemed loose and easy to manage the whole time. I’m going to email a baking expert at King Arthur Flour and see if she can help me figure it out. I’m so sorry your brownies didn’t turn out well! Don’t eat them if they’re terrible—if anything, I’ll mail you a good batch. :)

  48. Sammy says

    Hi Kate – I discovered your website a while ago but today was the first day I cooked any of your recipes. I made the brownies and your Caprese Pasta Salad along with some grilled salmon from another website. Everything came out great! Thanks for introducing me to parchment paper and white balsamic vinegar (I’m new at cooking). Anyhow, I just thought I’d post about the brownies in case it helps. I followed the recipe exactly except I forgot to put it in the bottom third of the oven – you might want to add a reminder to step #6 because it appears I’m not the only one who forgot. I used Hershey’s 100% cacao natural unsweetened cocoa powder and Ghirardelli semisweet baking chocolate. Yay for American chocolate!

    I really liked the brownies The batter was thick but not hard to deal with. I didn’t find it to be oily at all. The top was not as flaky as yours seems to be from the pictures. Also I baked them for at least 35 minutes and the toothpick was not coming out clean – I stopped because I didn’t want to over-bake them. The only taste comment I have is, strangely enough, they didn’t seem to be as sweet as I’d like – they really tasted very cocoa powder-y. Do you think maybe somehow I didn’t use enough butter? I’m surprised since there is a lot of sugar and I used semisweet chocolate and I thought I got the butter right. I thought it just might be that I have a sweet tooth (I do) but others made the same comment. Overall, I thought they were great and I’d make them again. Thanks!

    • says

      Sammy, thank you for commenting! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the recipes. Thank you for your suggestion about the brownie rack reminder, I’ll add it. The brownies are richly chocolatey in flavor, but I can’t say that mine tasted cocoa powdery. Cocoa powder brand varies pretty widely by brand, so you might like the brownies better with another cocoa powder? Not sure!

  49. Katie says

    Hi! Just wanted to let you know I tried your brownies and they came out perfect! I used graham flour because it was all I had…so there are some crunchy bits lol, good for fiber I guess! I also used Navitas Naturals Raw Cacao Powder, which has very strong chocolate flavor already, so I didn’t put any additional chocolate and I’m satisfied with the result. I didn’t have any butter problems or oil problems. (I used a pretty expensive all natural butter, so I’m not sure if that mattered?) I spent a while making the brown butter, maybe 13 minutes or so? Then the butter foamed up and gave off the most amazing caramel smell so I knew it was ready! To me, these brownies are a “gourmet adult-version” with the strong brown butter flavor. Great to serve with coffee/tea to friends, house guests! :D Thank you for posting this recipe!!

    • says

      Katie, thank you! I’m so relieved the brownies turned out beautifully for you. I’ve only made these brownies with organic butter, so maybe you’re onto something with the high quality butter idea. Thanks for commenting!

    • says

      Hey Sam, I don’t think that margarine is going to brown like butter will. I would definitely advise using real butter. Caster sugar should be a fine substitute, though.

  50. says

    Impulse baked these Thursday night when my roommate surprised me with GF pizza for dinner. She’s moving out so it’s been a week of little gestures. Just thought I’d share that she absolutely LOVED these and they came out great GF/DF. Nice crackle top and fudgy center, perfect!

    • says

      Yes! So glad you both loved the brownies. Also glad to hear that your gluten free/dairy free version turned out well! Thanks, Grace!

  51. Erin says

    Oh my gosh. These are amazing. So rich and decadent, I could barely finish my brownie square (but, don’t worry, I did). These remind me of Starbucks brownies: moist, chewy, fudgy, and NOT cakey!

    Every online brownie recipe I’ve tried lately comes out cakey and hubby and I are disappointed. These were perfect. We are trying not to finish off the whole pan in one weekend. THANK YOU!

  52. SAM says

    Hi Kate, why not substituting foil or baking paper for parchment? I’m not from the USA, though, but I’m trying really hard to find which alternatives suit the recipe.

    • says

      Hey Sam, foil should work! I’m not familiar with baking paper—sounds like it could be another name for parchment paper.

  53. says

    Just thought I’d leave a note…made these today and they turned out gorgeous. Crackly top, rich fudgy but not too fudgy middle. Reminiscent of a great boxed mix but decadent enough to feel like they were from a fancy pants bakery.

    For what it’s worth…I used unsalted land-o-lakes butter that I browned too quickly b/c I had 3 kids going on full steam around me, whole foods brand cocoa powder and ghirardelli semi sweet chocolate chips (not chopped). Oh and all purpose flour instead of whole wheat. I followed the instructions to a T…although I did totally incorporate the sugar into the butter before mixing in the cocoa and other ingredients. I was worried that the mixture wasn’t cool enough to add the eggs but I was in a hurry so I added them anyway and stirred very vigorously.

    The result was PERFECTION. My husband said…”they taste like the brownies you get at a nice restaurant or a great bakery.”

    Thanks for a wonderful recipe! xo

    • says

      Abby, thank you for the note! I really appreciate your feedback and ingredient details. I’m glad to hear that the brownies turned out well with Land O’ Lakes butter. I’ve only used Trader Joe’s butter with this recipe and was wondering if that might have something to do with other recipe makers’ troubles, but maybe not.

      Btw, I used to work for a floral network, and your website was my escape. Your photos have so many flowers in them that my boss never noticed that I wasn’t actually working. :)

  54. SAM says

    Kate, I followed exactly the recipe, but I alternated it instead – I skipped browning the butter and followed another Alice Medrich recipe. I baked them for almost 40 mins. & came out bad. The inside’s too moist, like it’s not fully baked. And the top really stuck to my teeth. I figured out, maybe because I used margarine & an oven toaster.

    • says

      Hey Sam, I’m sorry the brownies didn’t turn out. It very well might be because of the butter. I think it’s important to use real butter and brown it first. In the process of browning the butter, some of the water in the butter is released as steam—I have a hunch that if that water is still in the butter, it makes the chocolate seize up and then the oil in the butter rises to the top.

  55. Kimberly says

    Without a doubt, the BEST homemade brownie recipe!!! I made a few mods – I used salted butter because that’s all I had on hand. The only sea salt I had was fleur de sel and since I used salted butter, I used 1/4 tsp. I used all purpose flour and ghirardelli semi sweet chocolate chips. They turned out perfect! So rich and yummy with that crackly top!!

  56. JOYJOYY says

    I tried baking this recipe for the first time and it came out so perfectly awesome,rich and chewy on the inside and crispy on the top. I love it so much except that i found it was too sweet for me. So i bake it second time and reduced to a cup of sugar instead of 1 1/4 cup. But what i get was that the chewiness and the crispy top has gone… what should i do? any suggestion? Oh! by the way, is the oven rack position effecting the result cause the first time i bake i put it in the middle rack but the second time i put it on the bottom rack. Note that my oven is just a small one.

    • says

      Hmm, that is interesting. Stirring the sugar into the hot butter is what makes the top all crackly. I’m not sure why 1/4 cup less sugar would have that effect! I’m sorry.

  57. Gwynnie says

    I made these last night, and huge hit! They’re gone… I wanted some more… They tasted great, but a little dark. I’ll try decreasing the cocoa a little bit next time. They were still fantastic, and the best brownie recipe I’ve found yet! I’ve never heard of browning the butter before.

    • says

      Gwynnie, glad you enjoyed the brownies! I’m a dark chocolate fan myself, but decreasing the cocoa powder or using a less dark cocoa powder should do the trick.

  58. Sarah says

    I made brownies from this recipe, but added a couple of spices to make them “Mexican Brownies.”

    I love your recipe!! The brownies have a perfect consistency and making them was so fun. Didn’t even use a mixer. Today, I’m going to another event that involves food, so I’m going to try making coffee brownies with this recipe.

    The tidbit about browning the butter was interesting and the smell is fantastic when you do it!

    • says

      Thanks, Sarah! I’m so glad the brownies turned out great for you. Your variations sound delicious! Hope the brownies were a hit at your events.

  59. Sarah says

    Just tasted these brownies! Absolutely perfect–my fiance and I both agree that they really are the best.
    I used turbinado sugar, but added it while the butter was still over low heat to ensure that it mostly melted. I also used sprouted whole wheat flour. I baked them in a glass dish on the bottom rack. They turned out just as you described. Thanks for such a quality recipe!

  60. DanielleB says

    I’ve made these brownies twice and they are super delicious and moist – but I can’t get them to look like the lovely ones in your photos. Instead mine come out oily and with a kind of weird sugary crust on top. I’m thinking it might be because I used raw sugar – maybe it’s too coarse? But not sure if that would explain the oily factor . . .

    • says

      Danielle, I’m sorry for my slow response. I’m bummed that your brownies aren’t turning out like mine. I’ve heard from others who have had similar issues, so I’ve been tweaking my instructions, which seems to have helped resolve most of the issues. It’s maddening because none of my brownies have turned out greasy! I have two ideas. One, are you mixing the eggs into the batter vigorously? It’s important to beat them in very thoroughly so the batter is properly emulsified—if it’s not, that would explain why the fat in the brownies is separating from the rest. My other question—are you browning the butter long enough? I wonder, since melted chocolate seizes on contact with water, if you’re adding the ingredients before all the water has evaporated from the butter. You might also try using a different brand of cocoa powder or butter to see if it makes the difference. Sorry again!

      • DanielleB says

        Hi Kate! Sorry for the delay – I now have a little one who prevents me from baking as often as I would like. I tried the recipe again but used granulated sugar this time instead of coarse sugar, and it made a huge improvement in the look of the brownies! My hubby likes the previous ones made with the coarse sugar because they had a sugary crust on top, so both taste good. But they definitely look better with regular sugar! Great recipe – super yummy brownies :)

        • says

          Hi Danielle, thank you for getting back to me! I’m glad to know the brownies turned out well both times. Now I want to try that sugary crust version!

  61. Arshia says

    These are easily the best brownies I’ve ever made — so perfect! I sprinkled a bit of fleur de sel on top for a bit of contrast. Thanks for writing such clear instructions and coming up with such a great recipe! <3

    • says

      Hooray! Thank you for commenting, Arshia! So glad the brownies turned out well for you. Fleur de sel on top sounds perfect.

  62. Jen says

    These are divine! Just replaced my previous brownie recipe! I cut the chocolate chips down and put in a bit of TJ’s peanut butter chips and mini peanut butter chips. So yummy!

    • says

      Excellent! Thanks, Jen! I’m so glad the brownies turned out great for you. I bet they are extra irresistible with peanut butter chips.

  63. Jessie says

    By any chance I could use Brown sugar instead of cane?
    And for the baking powder, may I use baking soda instead?

  64. Jessie says

    They said I could mix ½ teaspoon baking soda with ½ cup buttermilk, sour milk or plain yogurt, and that its the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of baking powder.

    You think I should go for it…Does it sound okay to use (You know Yogurt and brownies?) those ingredients in this recipe?

    • says

      Hey Jessie, I’m sorry, I haven’t tried either of those substitutions so I really don’t know. These brownies are a little finicky so for best results, I’d use regular sugar and baking powder as directed.

  65. Vina says

    Hi Kate,

    I made these yesterday and they were.so.evil.
    Wicked.

    I ate so many of them!!
    Guests got some too :)

    I added toasted walnuts and sprinkled sea salt flakes on top because I wanted a nutty, salty-sweet brownie.

    Thank you for a recipe that did wonders ;)

  66. Ryan says

    Hi Kate. I’m going to make these tonight. I’m not sure what’s going to happen as Australian ingredients tend to differ from those back home in the states. I promised my wife that we would watch movies and eat brownie Sundays before we got together. We have tried SO many times with so so results. I’m really looking forward to this. I’ll let you know. Thanks for the recipe.

  67. Jessica says

    Just a question about texture, because I think you said you didn’t want fudgy – are these a cake-ier brownie? I love a caky brownie, with crisp-ish edges and soft insides…just like me. Also, have you ever tried Barefoot Contessa’s Outrageous Brownies? Those are usually my go-to brownies and they are perfection (I don’t use nuts though, NO NUTS in my desserts)…but I’m always happy to test out “new” brownies!

    • says

      Hey Jessica! I’m afraid these aren’t very cakey on the inside—they’re more dense and firm, which might mean that they’re more on the fudgy side. They’re definitely not gooey. I haven’t tried Barefoot Contessa’s brownies, but they sound great!

  68. Lori says

    I can’t wait to make these this weekend. My husband and son thank you! I will make them with a homemade gluten-free flour mixture which is comprised of the following:

    40% Whole Grain:
    -200 grams Brown Rice Flour
    -200 grams Millet Flour

    60% Starches:
    -200 grams Sweet Rice Flour
    -200 grams White Rice Flour
    -200 grams Arrowroot Powder

    I make a big batch of this to keep on hand for my weekend baking habit.

    Recipe is from Gluten Free Girl. Check it out for substitutions in what makes up the grains and the starches. There are many other options than what I listed above. http://glutenfreegirl.com/2012/07/how-to-make-a-gluten-free-all-purpose-flour-mix/

  69. says

    I can’t thank you enough. I can now see the end of my shamefaced Ghirardelli dark chocolate boxed brownie days. I honestly can’t bring myself to even look at the ingredients because I know if I do I won’t be able to eat them…but they are JUST what I’m looking for in a brownie! Now it sounds as if you’ve truly recreated the perfect brownie! I’m so excited to try them!

  70. Rin says

    These are perfect!!!
    They are crispy outside and soft inside, exactly what I’m looking for!
    Thanks for the recipe:)

    Anyway, I find it a little bit to sweet for me. I might reduce the sugar the next time I make these again. I’m thinking of making some orange brownies since I always love orange-flavor brownies!

    By the way, I read from another website that the key of crispy brownies is the egg white. Their recipes are almost the same as yours but they seperate the egg and make a ‘soft peak stage’ meringue from egg white and sugar before fold it into the rest of the ingredients. They also use higher temperature about 350F and 25 minutes longer baking time. I tried their recipes once but the brownies came out too crispy, more like brownie brittles to me. Not sure why they didn’t work:/ – just want to share:)

    • says

      Thanks, Rin! Glad you enjoyed the brownies! That’s interesting about the crispy brownies. A higher temperature and 25 minutes longer in the oven would certainly dry out the brownies—maybe that’s why yours ended up so brittle.

  71. Splashing In Puddles says

    Did you ever figure out for sure what was causing the oil to separate? I’m planning to make them tomorrow and I was going to use Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips. Do you think that will work?

    • says

      No, I’m afraid I never got to the bottom of the matter, but I did tweak the recipe steps and have been getting fewer and fewer reports of oil separation. I haven’t tried those particular chocolate chips. I hope they turn out great!

  72. Rebecca says

    These brownies are amazing! I used 3 eggs because I like them cake-y vs. fudgey, and they were delicious! My brownies took about 40 minutes to cook at 325 and for the last 5 minutes I moved them up to the top third of the oven, but that is the only modification I needed to make. Delish!

  73. S says

    I made these brownies before and they came out fab, nice crunchy top too. But this time I didnt have a crunchy top :/ I figured its probably because I was lazy and only melted the butter in the microwave.
    Thanks for the recipe :)

    • says

      Hi S! Yes, that’s probably why. Browning the butter releases a lot of moisture from the butter, then the sugar dissolves in the hot butter to make that crackly top.

    • says

      Hi Jana! I haven’t tried doubling the recipe, but another commenter (Kerry) said the brownies turned out well with those variations. She had to bake the brownies longer, probably to account for the additional batter. Good luck!

  74. Renee says

    Oh my goodness, you are a brownie goddess. These are, exactly, what I have been craving… going to make them right now, review to follow shortly :)

    • Renee says

      Hi Kate, I tried the recipe and sadly it came out oily, flat, and far too fudgy :( I’m thinking that maybe the flour might need to be scooped straight into the measuring cup, and not spooned into it, as this would slightly increase the amount of flour to help with texture. I’m going to try these again doing the flour that way, and also try cutting the butter back to just one stick, and increasing the baking powder to one half teaspoon. I followed the recipe exactly, even using the whole wheat flour. Even with the quirks of the finished product the flavour is amazing. I think perhaps owing to the browned butter. I think it will be worth it to work out the kinks so it works in my kitchen. You’re amazingly dedicated to this blog and the art of brownie making! I will definitely be checking out more of your recipes :)

      • says

        Hey Renee, I’m so bummed your brownies didn’t turn out like mine. Your ideas sound like good ones. I used the spoon and swoop method to measure my flour. Please be sure to cook the butter long enough, so all the water evaporates from it, and really put some muscle into it when you’re mixing the eggs into the mixture, which ensures that they’re emulsified. I hope your next batch turns out better!

  75. says

    I made these brownies last night and they were freakin’ amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I actually didn’t have enough cocoa powder the recipe calls for but just added a bit more choco chips :} I also had to leave my brownies in for about 40 minutes. But I do live at high altitude so I just always assume thats why. These are the best ‘from scratch’ brownie recipe I have come across. You’re a genius. Thank you! I will never try another brownie recipe again. This one is TOO perfect :}

  76. Alice says

    Hi Kate,
    I made these today and they are divine!
    I made one change – added 100g melted dark chocolate instead of the chunks.
    These are up there with the best brownies I’ve ever had – slightly cracked top and super chewy in the middle.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  77. Cala says

    I made these last night and read a lot of comments first so thought I’d give it a go.my partner said ther not brownies without all the chocolate as main ingredient but I was chuffed to say he was wrong they turned out lovely n texture perfect too with cracked top.was worried I’d manage to mess it up coz I have a lot of hit n misses in the kitchen but thanku it somehow worked for me :-D

  78. says

    I just popped the pan of decadence into the oven, and am waiting eagerly for them to be done. So far, they look amazing!! I couldn’t help myself and took a few licks of batter off the spatula, and wowowowow.
    If all fails, I’ll just eat the batter.

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