Friday, August 25, 2023

The Best Brownies Ever

These one bowl, all butter, cocoa brownies are thick, chewy,  and fudgy with a shiny crackly top. Everything a brownie should be! They can easily be made gluten free too.

As you probably all know by now, I have been working on perfecting my brownie recipe for YEARS. I have had a tradition of working on this recipe every time I'm pregnant. There's just something about chocolatey brownies and third trimesters for me. And now, with my 5th baby, I finally cracked the brownie code.
I was being an extreme perfectionist about this recipe. Brownies are just such a basic dessert, but a truly good brownie is so hard to come by. Box mixes are usually your best bet, but here at high elevation, even the box mixes often fail. And don't get me started on gluten free box mixes. 

No, it's high time that I finally had a go-to brownie recipe that's thick and chewy, shiny topped, rich and chocolatey, made in one bowl, works well with gluten free flour, doesn't collapse at high elevation, and is made with all the ingredients I always have in my pantry. Is that too much to ask?? 
Well, luckily for you, it wasn't too much to ask, because here they are. Even if it took 5 pregnancies and hundreds of pans of brownies to get here.

Are these brownies cakey, chewy, or fudgy?


They are the best of all worlds. I would say thick and chewy are the first adjectives that come to mind. A tiny amount of baking powder adds just enough air to the batter to create the perfect chew without being really cakey. The high sugar, butter, and cocoa content and low flour and baking powder content is really the perfect ratio that makes the texture sing. They are gooey and rich without being underbaked. They're very similar to the texture of most box mix brownies (but better of course).

Should you use dutch process or natural cocoa powder for brownies?


Dutch process cocoa powder is much better for dark, rich brownies. Dutch process cocoa is treated with an alkalizing agent to reduce the acidity of the cocoa, making it much less bitter and also darker in color than natural cocoa powder. I use Hershey's Special Dark (dutch process) cocoa powder for these brownies. 
You can see in the photo below the difference in color when this recipe is made with dutch process cocoa powder (top) vs. regular natural cocoa powder (bottom). The flavor of the top brownie is much richer and less acidic. 

Many people use melted chocolate (sweetened or unsweetened) in their brownie recipes, but I find that to get the most chocolatey, rich flavor, dutch process cocoa powder is the way to go!


How do you get a shiny, crackly top on brownies?


 The shiny, crackly top of brownies is created by beating the eggs and sugar together, which creates a type of meringue on top of the brownies. This is why proper mixing time is essential for a shiny top. Melting the butter and sugar together is also an important step which dissolves the sugar and leads to a shinier top.  Chocolate chips in the batter help create a bumpy texture on the top of the brownies and can also contribute to adding to that shiny meringue like topping as they melt in the batter while baking.


How do I know if my brownies are done? 


Your brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with sticky crumbs, but not any wet batter. This ensures that you will have chewy, moist brownies without having to leave them too gooey and underbaked. See the photo below to get an idea of what the toothpick should look like when it's done. 

The exact bake time for brownies will have to do with the thickness and material of your pan, so don't be afraid to add a few extra minutes if you are still getting batter on your toothpick. Make sure when you test your brownies that you don't poke your toothpick right into a chocolate chip and mistake the melted chocolate for raw batter! 


Should you use a glass or metal pan for brownies?


You can use a glass or metal 9x13 inch pan for this recipe. They turn out very similarly, but the glass pan will be slightly more tall and cakey and the metal pan will be slightly more dense with chewier edges. The reason for this is that metal pans heat up more quickly. The glass pan will need to bake longer to finally get the center of the pan baked, therefore cooking the outer pieces for longer. I prefer a metal pan for this recipe.

I hope you all enjoy this recipe and let me know how they turn out for you! They were a labor of love. And now that I have so lovingly eaten so many brownies over the years (for you!!), I think I can safely say that I can rest assured that I have gotten them perfect and will happily not eat another brownie for the next decade. But when I do, they will be these.

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  1. A good friend of mine made very tasty brownies but she faces problems with her toughest assignments because she does her job with her studies. So she decided to take help with assignment masters because they help students to complete their toughest assignments quickly so students can easily do their other activities.

  2. Oh YUM! Comparing these to my own almost-perfect-recipe, they sound like a winner! I'll be trying them tomorrow. Thanks so much for your laborious perfecting of another recipe. I love having a source I can trust absolutely!

  3. I have tried every brownie recipe under the son as they are my grandchildren's favorites, this is the best one ever. The only thing I do different is I use semi-sweet chocolate chips but everyone loves them as do I.