How do you like your brownies? Cakey or fudgy? Chewy or tender? With a crisp crackly top or with a warm gooey middle? Well, you’re in luck, because no matter what you answered to all of those questions, this magical recipe fits the bill!
Why is a good brownie so hard to find?
Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of sweets as a kid, and brownies were actually one of my least favorite desserts. (With the exception of Little Debbie’s Cosmic Brownies — the pinnacle of culinary excellence, right?) As I got older, my sweet tooth grew (although sometimes I wish it hadn’t), but at every potluck and party, the brownies were still disappointing. So many recipes are dry or tough or bland, maybe with a bit of frosting on top to try to fool you.
Stumbling on greatness, and recreating it for myself
One day I wanted to throw together a quick treat for some family get together. Even though I still hadn’t come to love brownies, I wanted an easy “mix it up, pour it in a pan, bake it, and go” solution. I picked a random recipe on Pinterest, not thinking it would amount to much. But when they came out of the oven and I took my first bite, I was blown away!
Somehow they were fudgy and gooey and all of the things a REALLY good brownie should be, but still had a tender melt-in-your-mouth texture that makes people fans of cakey brownies. They were absolutely incredible.
I made them a few more times over the next year or so (I don’t make desserts often) and then something awful happened. I went back to the blog again to make them, and the recipe had completely changed! (Don’t worry, I’ll never do that to you!) I knew even before baking it that something was wrong, because the batter was thin and runny, while the batter for the terrific brownies I remembered was so thick it was almost a dough.
I made it my mission to figure out the secret to the original recipe. I scoured Pinterest. I took this ingredient from one recipe, that instruction from another, mixed and baked and tweaked until I got it just right. And that is the recipe I have here for you.
Don’t miss these steps!
This recipe isn’t difficult or complicated to make, but there are a few shortcuts you might be tempted to take that will keep you from the absolutely perfect brownies that you’ll get if you make them the right way. Baking is a science, you take the same basic ingredients — flour, sugar, butter eggs — and make hundreds of different things. That’s why the ratio and process are so important.
Personally, I hate being precise when I’m cooking, but over the years I’ve learned which parts I can cheat on and which parts are necessary, and in this recipe there are a few things that are crucial to the incredible texture of these amazing brownies:
- Whip the eggs. The secret to the crackly top and the tender-yet-fudgy middle of these brownies is incorporating plenty of air. That starts with the very first ingredient and the very first step. Whisk the eggs at a nice high speed for a good long time until they’re very frothy and noticeably lighter in color. This is the easiest step to skip, but trust me, it’s not worth it.
- Whip the eggs & sugar. After adding the sugar to the eggs, you want to get even MORE air in there. Don’t just stir them together and move on, you want to transform the eggs and sugar into a nice glossy fluffy mixture. Whipping “to ribbons” means that you can see the trails left by the mixer as it mixes.
If you pick up the whisk and drizzle some “ribbons” across the surface, it should take a second or two for them to melt back into the rest.
- Fold in the dry ingredients. After being diligent to incorporate all of that air into your batter, you don’t want to just squish it all back out again, which is what too much stirring will do. This batter isn’t nearly as delicate as, say, a sponge cake, but you do want to be careful with it. Be sure to whisk together the dry ingredients separately so all of the cocoa, salt, and baking soda can be distributed evenly without having to do much mixing after adding to the wet batter.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix by hand with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. It doesn’t need to be a perfect gentle fold, just mix gently until most of the flour is incorporated, and no more. Some streaks or lumps of dry mixture are just fine, it’s more important to keep it nice and fluffy than to get it completely combined.
Why measure by weight?
There’s a reason that I call myself a cook, NOT a baker. Baking requires so much more precision. For consistent results, you need to be able to make consistent measurements. It may seem fussy to weigh your ingredients, but it actually saves you time! It is actually is LESS effort to add everything directly into the mixing bowl instead of having to dirty a dozen different measuring cups and spoons, plus you get better results. It’s a win-win! Do yourself a favor and get a kitchen scale today!
By Metric Weight – Recommended
- 4 Eggs
- 480 grams Sugar
- 15 grams Vanilla
- 255 grams Chocolate Chips
- 226 grams Butter
- 222 grams Flour
- 45 grams Cocoa
- 7 grams Salt
- 3 grams Baking Soda
By U.S. Volume
- 4 Eggs
- 2 cups Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups Chocolate Chips - semisweet
- 1 cup Butter
- 1 3/4 cups Flour
- 6 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
- Preheat oven to 325° F. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper or foil and spray with cooking spray.
- Whip eggs until light and very bubbly.
- Add sugar and vanilla and whip to ribbon stage — it should leave trails as you mix or when you lift the whisk that take a second or two to melt back into the mixture.
- Melt chocolate chips and butter together in the microwave for a minute at a time until smooth. Mix into the eggs and sugar.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda.
- Gently mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients just until most of the flour is incorporated. There will still be some streaks of flour throughout.
- Spread batter into prepared pan. It will be very thick.
- Bake at 325° F for 30-40 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few sticky crumbs, not batter.