These rich, fudgy brownies are made entirely from scratch. They are much better than boxed brownies. You probably have everything you need in your kitchen already.
- 10 tablespoons (145g) unsalted butter
- 1 ¼ cups (250g) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (75g) unsweetened cocoa powder, spooned and leveled, see notes
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 large cold eggs
- 1/2 cup (65g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, see notes
- 2/3 cup (80g) chopped walnuts, pecans, or chocolate chips, optional
- Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 325°F (162°C). Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides to help remove the baked brownies from the pan.
- Add the butter to a medium saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and cook until the butter melts completely, then turn off the heat. Stay close, and do not let it brown.
- While the butter is hot, stir in the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. Stir well until blended. Don’t worry if the batter looks gritty. Once you add the eggs, the brownie batter will become smooth.
- Set the saucepan aside to cool until the mixture is warm, not hot — 5 to 10 minutes. Test the temperature by touching the batter, it should be comfortable to hold without feeling hot.
- Add the cold eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously after each egg.
- When the batter looks thick and well blended, add the flour. Use a spoon to beat the flour into the batter until it is very thick and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. I use a wooden spoon or spatula and beat for 40 to 50 strokes (see video for reference).
- Stir in nuts or chocolate chips (optional).
- Spread the thick brownie batter evenly in the prepared pan — it can be hard to spread because it is so thick. Do your best to push the batter to the corners and even out the top.
- Bake the brownies until the edges look dry and the middle is slightly underbaked, 20 to 30 minutes. A toothpick plunged into the center should emerge somewhat moist with batter. As the brownies cool, they firm up but will always be moist and fudgy in the middle.
- Cool completely before removing the brownies from the pan — this step is essential and helps the brownies set. Cut into 16 squares.
- Cocoa powder: Use your favorite cocoa powder for this recipe. Dutch-processed cocoa makes these taste more mellow and chocolatey. The chocolate flavor reminds me of Oreos. Natural cocoa powder like Ghiradelli or Guittard (Guittard Cocoa Rouge is used in the video) makes the brownies taste richer and like sharp dark chocolate.
- Measuring the flour and cocoa powder: Mismeasured flour can cause this recipe to fail. Either measure by weight (grams) or use the spoon and sweep method to fill your measuring cup. Stir the flour in your storage container, then sprinkle the four into your measuring cup with a spoon. Use a flat edge to sweep excess flour from the top. See me do this in our video.
- Microwave: Combine butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl, and then microwave for 20-second increments until the butter melts into the sugar. Stir the mixture in between microwaving.
- Double-boiler: Originally, we recommended using a bowl set inside a saucepan with barely simmering water to melt the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder together. After years of making this brownie recipe, we no longer do this ourselves and instead melt the butter and sugar in the saucepan. Our updated method saves a little time but delivers the same results. To make these using the double-boiler method, place a heat-safe bowl with the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder over barely simmering water. When the butter melts, set aside to cool, and then add the salt, vanilla, and cold eggs (one at a time). Continue with the flour as written in the recipe above.
- Baking pan: We prefer a metal 8-inch square pan. Ceramic and glass pans may affect bake time. Check on doneness 5 minutes early and every 5 minutes after that.
- Cutting brownies: Cooled brownies are much easier to cut. For clean edges, use a chef’s knife and wipe it clean after each slice. For guaranteed perfect edges, chill the brownies in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours before slicing.
- This brownie recipe is slightly adapted from Alice Medrich’s Cocoa Brownies, which is found in many of her cookbooks, including Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts. If you love dessert as much as we do, buy it.