Dark chocolate and dutch cocoa powder combine with brown sugar to produce the Best Homemade Brownies! Do you get chocolate cravings like I do? Do you find yourself searching your pantry and fridge for just a sliver of dark chocolate? Well, I’ve tested about eight different mixtures and methods to find the perfect thick, fudgy center consistency, and shiny top crust brownie recipe.
Grab some dark chocolate, dark brown sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, and sea salt! You are going to be so excited to devour these moist chocolate brownies.
Tools Needed for Making Brownies
For this recipe you will need either an 8×8 inch or 9×9 inch metal baking pan. I love a thick brownie, so I usually don’t bother with a 9×13 inch baking pan. The 8×8 inch pan will make a thick brownies, where the 9×9 inch will be slightly thinner. A hand mixer is required to whip your eggs, egg yolk, and sugars together to create that perfect shiny top. Plus, a good quality rubber spatula for folding ingredients and you’re ready to go!
What is the Best Pan for Brownies?
Metal non-stick pans are the preferred vessel for your chocolate treats. A glass dish doesn’t transfer heat as evenly. Casserole dishes are already ‘named’ for their best dish. Therefore, I would just invest in a good quality 8×8 inch or 9×9 inch square non-stick metal baking pan just for brownies and bars.
Ingredients You’ll Need
The Best Flour for Making Brownies
I always use all purpose flour in my brownie batter. Choosing the right flour will dictate the final baking structure. Cake flour has a low protein at 6-8%, which is not enough to hold the batter together and will result in a flaky mess. Bread flour on the other hand has too much protein at 12-15 % for this recipe, creating a thick hard chocolate bar. So, all purpose flour is the winner! With just enough protein at 10-12 % its the perfect choice for baking brownies.
Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder
Dutch processed cocoa powder is the way to go! It has a lovely complex bitterness that blends nicely with dark brown sugar for a smooth flavor once baked.
Cinnamon and Espresso Powder
To give a little extra oomph and enhance the chocolate, I prefer to mix in some ground cinnamon with espresso powder.
Dark Brown Sugar and Granulated Sugar
Why use a mixture of sugars? Well, the brown sugar adds notes of caramel and molasses to the flavor profile, plus it produces chewier more fudgy texture. Granulated sugar adds that much needed sweetness to the bitter cocoa powder and melted dark chocolate.
Everything is better with butter, period. I’m all about melting my butter for brownie batter. Brownies made with melted butter tend to be fudgier, with a more intense cocoa taste. Using softened butter results in a more aerated batter, that creates a cake like brownie. For this recipe, hot melted butter is added to the dark chocolate to create silky smooth chocolate.
I often brown my butter for this recipe, to add a hint of nuttiness to the chocolate flavor. Simply cook butter in a small saucepan on low heat until foamy and brown bits at the bottom. Remove from heat and pour over chopped chocolate.
How do eggs effect brownies? Eggs act as a binder to hold the flour and fatty butter together. The egg whites help the batter to rise, which is important since there are no rising agents added (baking soda and baking powder). The egg yolks help add overall richness.
Tips for the Best Homemade Brownies
- Always, always weigh and sift your cocoa powder along with the flour. If you accidentally add to much flour or cocoa powder to your batter, the outcome could be dry or dense.
- Use a quality dark chocolate baking bar, roughly chopped into chunks. Trust me there is a big difference in the outcome of flavor and texture when you use the very best ingredients.
- Pour very hot melted butter or browned bitter onto the chopped chocolate to melt. stir with a fork until silky smooth. Add the vanilla extract and stir again.
- Allow the chocolate butter mixture to cool room temperature before adding it to the whipped eggs and sugar.
- The whipped eggs and sugar give the brownies a nice shiny top.
- Drizzle the chocolate mixture into the whipped eggs, while gently folding with a rubber spatula until just incorporated.
- Mix in ⅓ of the flour mixture into the melted chocolate mixture at a time, folding slowly until smooth.
- I added 1 tsp of espresso powder, a little cinnamon spice, and 1 tsp of vanilla extract to enhance the chocolate flavor. Feel free to experiment with the amount for your own personal taste preference 🙂
- Line your brownie pan with parchment paper that folds over two sides, so you can lift cooled brownies from the pan without tearing them. Lifting the brownies and setting them on the counter, makes it easier to slice them into squares.
What Makes Brownies Fudgy?
- No baking soda or baking powder in the batter.
- Lots of fat! Bring on the melted butter.
- Incorporating dark chocolate into your homemade brownie batter makes a wonderful soft melt in your mouth texture. Cocoa powder can be drying, so I only use ¼ cup.
- Using brown sugar in your brownie batter will help add moisture. For this recipe I chose dark brown sugar, because when baked it adds a slight caramel flavor. You can substitute for light brown sugar as well.
- Folding the dry ingredients in by hand! Using a hand mixer incorporates air and works great for the eggs and sugar mix. However, we don’t want our brownies to rise and fall too much. Also, having extra air in the batter will result in more of a cake-like consistency.
- Not over baking your brownies. It only takes a few minutes to ruin a good brownie. I always check mine with a toothpick to see if there are just a few wet crumbs before pulling them out of the oven. The residual heat in the pan will finish cooking the center. Remember these are fudge brownies not cake brownies, so you want a soft chocolatey chewy center.
How to Tell When Brownies Are Done Baking?
- The brownies should have a shiny crispy top with small cracks. You should also see a crust forming where the batter touches the pan.
- When you insert a toothpick into the center of your brownies it should come out with just a few moist crumbs and a little melted chocolate. You will not have a clean toothpick. But if the toothpick is covered in melted chocolate, you will need to bake it longer.
- The center of the brownies may rise a bit higher than the edges with a little dome in the oven. As they cool this will settle and even out for more level brownies with a crinkled top.
How Long Do Brownies Need to Cool?
- These are fudge brownies, so remember to let them cool all the way to set. They will be soft and chocolatey in the center, with a few chocolate chunks, yum!!
- Let them cool about 25 minutes before lifting them from the pan. Place parchment paper with brownies onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- You can also let them cool completely in the pan before lifting if you prefer.
When to Cut Brownies?
- Fudgy Brownies are ready to cut when they are completely cooled. You can eat them sooner but they may not hold their shape. I like to give mine about 1 hour after placing the pan on the wire rack before I cut into them. But, if you can hold out an extra hour, they taste even better!! You will have cleaner edges and the rest period will also help the flavor develop.
What Do You Top Brownies With?
- Drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle with sea salt for the best tasting brownies!!
- A scoop of vanilla ice cream is always a great idea.
- Have you ever tried drizzling a little olive oil on a rich chocolate brownie? I suggest you try it right now, its so delicious. Let me know what you think.
How Do You Store Brownies?
- Store sliced brownies in an air tight container at room temperature for 2-3 days.
Can Brownies Be Frozen?
- Yes! You can freeze them as one large square or wrap them individually.
- To freeze the entire pan, let brownies completely cool in pan. Place pan in the fridge for 2-3 hrs to chill. Lift brownies from pan with parchment paper. Wrap twice with plastic wrap and then twice with aluminum foil. Place in freezer.
- To freeze individual brownies, cool completely then wrap each piece in plastic wrap twice and then twice in aluminum foil.
- Frozen brownies will keep for about 2 months.
- To enjoy a frozen brownie, place on counter to thaw completely. Then microwave for about 10 seconds for a warm gooey chocolate brownie.
More Brownie and Blondie Recipes:
- Chocolate Banana Brownies
- Apricot White Chocolate Blondies
- Easy Lemon Bars
- Peppermint White Chocolate Blondies
Best Homemade Brownies
- 1 ½ cups (188 grams) all purpose flour sifted
- ¼ cup (21 grams) dutch processed cocoa powder sifted
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder enhances chocolate flavor
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter melted and very hot
- 8 ounces premium baking quality dark chocolate roughly chopped
- 1 ½ cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (110 grams) dark brown sugar packed
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp Sea Salt Flakes
- Preheat oven to 350 F (176 C).
- Line an 9×9 inch square baking pan with non stick baking spray and a piece of parchment paper, let paper hang over sides.
- In a medium bowl, hand whisk together flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, espresso powder and sea salt. Set aside.
- Using a separate medium bowl combine dark chocolate chunks with the hot melted butter and stir with a fork until all of the chocolate is melted and you have a shiny buttery liquid. Then, stir in the vanilla extract. Let mixture cool to room temperature.
- Place granulated sugar and dark brown sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs and egg yolk, then whisk together with an electric hand mixer on medium high until foamy and thick, around 1-2 minutes.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the sugar and eggs. Fold together using a rubber spatula in soft figure eights until just combined.
- Spoon in a third of the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, folding with spatula until in a figure eight pattern, and around the sides of the bowl until just mixed. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture. The batter will be thick and shiny.
- Scoop batter into the prepared brownie pan and level with an offset spatula.
- Bake on the middle rack for 28-32 minutes. Check the brownies after 30 minutes of baking. Brownies will be set on the edges and look soft in the middle, but not uncooked. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out with just a few wet crumbs. The residual heat of the pan will continue to cook the center of the brownies, which will firm as they cool.
- Let brownies completely cool before lifting from pan, slicing and serving. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt!