A couple of weeks ago I posted a photo of a batch of brownies, and I was flooded with requests for the recipe. I get it — as much as I love tinkering with flavors and techniques, hands down the dessert I crave most often is a good old brownie.
I realize that what constitutes a good brownie varies tremendously from person to person, which is why this is the millionth brownie recipe on the internet. To me, a good brownie is crackly-topped, chewy but tender, and deeply chocolatey. Oh, and well-salted.
These brownies check all those boxes for me. I still have some tweaks I want to try so I won’t go as far as to call them “perfect,” but for the time being this is the batch to beat.
Without getting too brownie-nerd on you (there’s plenty out there should you wish to delve into that world), here’s a little bit of the rationale behind this recipe:
- Both butter and oil for a mix of flavor and moisture
- Both cocoa powder and melted chocolate, the first for a rich chocolate flavor and the second for texture and that crackly top
- A touch of brown sugar for moisture, flavor, and chew
- A modest amount of flour to keep things from getting too cakey, but enough so we’re not completely in fudge territory
- Espresso powder to enhance the chocolate flavor
- The eggs and sugar are whipped together to provide structure and also to aid in getting that crackly top
- Baked in an 8×8 square pan for thick, non-wimpy brownies
This recipe is the result of a lot of tinkering, which is why the measurements are a bit weird. I developed it using gram measurements (I bake by weight 99.9% of the time), but the cup measurements are below as well — just know I haven’t tested them myself.
To great brownies!
Really Good Brownies
Makes one 8×8 pan
- 85g (6 Tbsp) unsalted butter
- 75g neutral vegetable oil (I used grapeseed)
- 85g (3 oz) bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I like Callebaut 70%)
- 100g (3/4 c + 2 tsp) AP flour
- 57g (2/3 c) Dutch process cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
- 169g (3/4 c + 1 Tbsp) granulated sugar
- 56g (1/4 c + 1 tsp) brown sugar
- scant 1 tsp coarse kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp espresso powder
- Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8 square pan with foil and lightly grease.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, oil, and chocolate. Melt over low heat, then set aside to cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder.
- Combine all ingredients from the sugar through the espresso powder in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on low briefly to combine, then crank up the speed to medium high and continue whisking until the mixture is thick and pale (about 5 minutes).
- Reduce the speed to low and drizzle in the butter-chocolate-oil mixture. Once incorporated, add the flour-cocoa mixture, mixing just to combine. Use a silicone spatula to stir from the bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is well-mixed and there are no pockets of unincorporated flour.
- Pour into the prepared pan, sprinkle generously with flaky sea salt, and bake until the top is cracked and glossy and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few wet crumbs (not raw brownie batter, but not completely dry), about 25-30 minutes (start checking at 20 minutes — baking these just the right amount of time is critical to getting the right texture!).
- Allow brownies to cool completely before slicing. Store leftovers in an airtight container, or freeze for later. (I actually like chilling my brownies in the fridge for an hour before eating — I find this gives them the perfect amount of chew!)
39 thoughts on “Really Good Brownies”
Hey! Can I substitute dutch processed cocoa with natural, unsweetened cocoa?
Hi! I haven’t tried it myself, but since there aren’t any leavening agents in this I think it would work. I’m not sure how it would affect the taste, though. Please let me know how it works if you try it!
Hi there! I tried it and it came out really good 🙂 I dont know how it compares to yours in terms of taste but the whole batch was polished off in about half an hour, so i’m guessing quite good! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe:)
Yay! That’s great to know. Thank you so much for reporting back!
Is it OK to use olive oil? And since I do not have espresso powder, can I use instant coffee powder?
Thanks in advance.
If you like the flavor of olive oil with chocolate, you can use it here!
If using instant coffee powder, I would double the amount or you can simply leave it out. The espresso powder is just there to enhance the chocolate taste so it’s not strictly necessary.
Lovely deep chocolate flavor without being too cloying. Recipe was easy. I added crushed peppermint candy canes, as per your recent insta post, as well as 3/4 tsp peppermint essence for extra zing. Thank you for this!
I love that description – exactly what I was trying to achieve! Thank you!!
Tried this, but found the oil overpowered everything. Lots is oil in this recipe!!
Sorry if it was not to your liking. I use a flavorless oil and don’t find it overpowering, but to each his own!
Just tried the brownies and it’s really really good, the chocolate flavour was so intense and love the crackly top so much. Just that I think it’s a little too sweet, but after all it’s a brownie!
Is there a rule of thumb for substituting brewed coffee for the espresso powder?
I would probably go with 1-2 Tbsp of fresh espresso or very strong coffee. Normally I’d swap that out for another liquid in the recipe, but since there isn’t really much liquid in this one I’d try 1 to start and/or brown the butter to get rid of some extra moisture!
Thanks so much!
Hi! Just made these and they look incredible. Do you put them in the fridge while still warm or after you cook them completely first? Thanks for the great recipe !
Hi! I usually let them cool to room temp before refrigerating. Enjoy!
Hi! I was wondering if you had any thoughts on the best way to adopt this recipe to a larger (9×13) pan? 8×8 just isn’t enough brownies IMHO 😉
I’d double the recipe for a 9×13! Not sure if the bake time will be the same; I’d start checking around the 20 minute mark!
I’ve tried this recipe but the brownies came so cakey .
I’m not sure what I did wrong. I think that whisk the sugars and egg for 5 minutes give them to many air, that could be possible?
Hmm, did you measure the flour by weight or cups? Usually the reason brownies come out more cakey than fudgy is when there’s too much flour added. Overbaking or not cooling the brownies long enough before cutting can also affect the texture. Could any of those things happened?
Thanks for your answer. I did measure all my ingredients and baked them for 25 minutes.
I will try them again
once you add the dry ingredients, still minimally until the flour mixture is incorporated. Over mixing at that point will cause a cakey brownie. Hope that helps!
*stir not still!
Made these a while ago and wow, REALLY good brownies indeed!
I made some substitutions: used coconut oil instead of grapeseed (didn’t have it on hand), used 1-2 Tbsp espresso (didn’t have espresso powder on hand) and browned the butter to evaporate some liquid so as to not throw off the dry to wet ingredient ratio as some comments suggested, then topped it all off with some leftover salted caramel from the back of the fridge (to use it up) as I didn’t have good flaky salt. They were the best brownies of my life so far… such intense chocolatey flavour and the fudgy texture was incredible after chilling in the fridge for a few hours once cooled.
That’s great to hear! Great to know about those substitutions, too!
Hey, I haven’t made these yet but I would like to know if I can substitute or go without the espresso powder. I do NOT like espresso. Thanks!!
You can leave it out, but the espresso powder does help intensify the chocolate flavor. The brownies don’t taste like coffee/espresso.
Hi! I already follow the recipe expect lessen the sugar. Do you know why my brownie is not crack? And a bit dry? 🙁
The shiny top comes from whipping the eggs with the sugar, so I’d suspect the eggs weren’t whipped enough or that you reduced the sugar too much. If they’re dry, it’s probably also due to reducing the sugar (as sugar adds moisture) and/or overbaking. This brownie isn’t too sweet so I’d recommend trying again with the full amount of sugar for best results.
Thank you so much!!!
I’ve tried again, whisking for 5min and using the exact amount of sugar but there’s no shiny & crack top like yours 🙁 is it because i’m using hand mixer instead? Or is it because my oven only can operate seperate flame (top/bottom)?
It could be an oven issue, but I can’t speak to that as I don’t have that kind of oven. A hand mixer should work but would take longer than a stand mixer. The eggs and sugar need to be whipped long enough so they’re very thick and roughly tripled in volume.
How do you recommend to use the oven? I am having the same problem
Sorry, I don’t have an oven with separate top/bottom heating so I can’t advise on how to use it!
These were very good.
I used raw cacao as the cocoa powder otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Seriously really good brownies.
So glad you enjoyed them, Elaine!