1. For the simple homemaker: Best Cocoa Brownies
Best Cocoa Brownies Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet c/o The Huffington Post
Makes 16 larger or 25 smaller brownies (the size you see pictured yielded 25)
- 10 tablespoons (140 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (65 grams, though some brands may weigh more) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (or a heaping 1/4 teaspoon flaky salt, as I used)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, cold
- 1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup (75 grams) walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smooths out once the eggs and flour are added. [Note, many people who have tried this recipe have found that this step works just fine in the microwave. Couldn’t test this because we don’t have one, but it sounds like it would work.]
Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes is Medrich’s suggestion but it took me at least 10 minutes longer to get them set. Let cool completely on a rack. (I go further and throw mine in the fridge or freezer for a while; it’s the only way I can get them to cut with clean lines.)
Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.
2. For the avid camper: Betty Crocker's S'mores Brownies
- 1 box (1 lb 2.4 oz) Betty Crocker™ Original Supreme Premium brownie mix
- Water, vegetable oil and egg called for on brownie mix box
- 2 cups miniature marshmallows
- 4 graham crackers, broken into small pieces
- 2 Hershey's® milk chocolate candy bars, broken into 1-inch squares
1 Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Make brownies as directed. After removing pan from oven, set oven to broil. 2 Immediately sprinkle marshmallows and graham crackers over warm brownies. Broil about 4 to 5 inches from heat 30 to 60 seconds or until marshmallows are golden brown. (Watch carefully marshmallows and graham crackers will brown quickly.) Sprinkle with chocolate candy. To serve warm, cool about 30 minutes. For brownies, cut into 4 rows by 4 rows.
Use a plastic knife to cut brownies. Wrap up brownies individually in waxed paper or foil for picnics or tailgating.
3. For that time of the month: Slutty Brownies
Total Time: 1 hrs 5 mins
Prep. Time: 35 mins Cook Time: 30 mins
Serving Size: 16 brownies per recipe
For the BROWNIE layer: - 1 (18 ounce) box brownie mix, prepared and unbaked OR 10 tablespoons unsalted butter - 1 1/4 cups white sugar - 3/4 cup cocoa powder - 1/2 teaspoon salt - 2 teaspoons vanilla extract - 2 large eggs - 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
For the OREO layer: - 1 package of Oreo (regular stuffed or double stuffed)
For the COOKIE DOUGH layer: - 1/2 cup unsalted butter (at room temp) - 1/4 cup brown sugar - 3/4 cup white sugar - 1 egg - 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract - 1 1/4 cups AP flour - 1/2 tsp salt - 1/2 tsp baking soda - 1/2 tsp baking powder - 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Line the bottom of an 8x8 baking pan (I used a Pyrex pan) with tin foil and then spray the foil liberally with baking spray. 3.Make the brownie layer per box instructions (without baking) OR: In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the sugar and cocoa powder. Stir to combine and remove from the heat. Add the salt, vanilla and eggs to the batter and then whisk until combined. In a separate bowl, sift the flour and then slowly incorporate the flour into the batter until it's all mixed. Set the batter aside.
- If making your own cookie dough: In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars with a hand mixer. Add the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl as you go. Add the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder and mix on low until incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips and then set aside.
- Start by gently pressing the cookie dough into the bottom of the pan, making sure to create an even layer. (I found it helpful to use the back of a 1-cup measure cup.).
- Then add a layer of Oreos on top of the cookie dough. Nudge them as close together as possible without overlapping.
- Get ready for the gluttony: Remove the lid on the caramel sauce/dulce de leche and microwave for 35 seconds (until it becomes slightly warm and spreadable). Use a spoon to drizzle the caramel over the Oreos.
- Lastly: Pour the brownie batter on top of the caramel-Oreo layer. Use a spatula to make sure it's even.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes. Test with a knife to see if the center is done. It's OK if the knife has some brownie on it. It's easy to over-bake the cookie layer if left in the oven too long.
- Once out of the oven, heat up the caramel again as in step 5. With a spoon, lightly drizzle the caramel over the brownies. Sprinkle with the salt.
- *Note: Although you can scarf these right away (they'll be crumbly but delicious and gooey!), they actually get better with age. Let them rest for several hours for easier handling and serving.
- *Note: Prep time is reduced if using boxed/ready-made mixes.
4. For the Cheese Head: David Lebovitz's Cheesecake Brownies
One 9-inch (23cm) or 8-inch (20cm) square pan
- 6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 4 ounces (115g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 2/3 cup (130g) sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (70g) flour
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch process)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (80g) chocolate chips
For the cheesecake topping: - 8 ounces (225g) cream cheese, at room temperature - 1 large egg yolk - 5 tablespoons (75g) sugar - 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Line a 9-inch (23cm) or 8-inch (20cm) square pan with foil, making sure it goes up all four sides. Use two sheets if necessary. Mist with non-stick spray or grease lightly.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180C).
- In a medium saucepan, to make the brownie batter, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and beat in the 2/3 cup (130g) sugar, then the eggs.
- Mix in the flour, cocoa powder and salt, then the vanilla and chocolate chips. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
- In a separate bowl for the cheesecake topping, beat together the cream cheese, the yolk, 5 tablespoons (75g) of sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
- Distribute the cream cheese mixture in eight dollops across the top of the brownie mixture, then take a dull knife or spatula and swirl the cream cheese mixture with the chocolate batter. Rap the pan on a countertop a few times to let the batter and swirl settle together.
- Bake until the batter in the center of the pan feels just set, 35 to 40 minutes.
- Let cool, then lift the brownies out holding the foil and peel it away. Cut the brownies into squares.
Storage: These cheesecake brownies will keep in an airtight container for a couple of days. They also freeze well for up to two months. I recommend freezing them individually so you can remove them one at a time.
5. For the high-better: The Best Brownies Of Your Life c/o Amateur Gourmet
Summary: From dessert guru Alice Medrich by way of Food52.
Preparation time: 25 minute(s)
Cooking time: 25 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cold large eggs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (2 1/2 ounces)
- 2/3 cups walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
Preheat the oven to 325. Spray an 8 X 8 baking pan with cooking spray, then line it with parchment paper so the parchment hangs over the sides (this way you can lift the brownies right out). Spray the parchment too. Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt in a medium metal bowl and fit the bowl on top of a pot of simmering water. Stir, watching the butter; if it’s not melting quickly enough, turn up the heat. Keep stirring until the butter’s all melted and you have a paste. Stick your finger into the paste and when it’s hot enough that you’re like “ow,” remove the bowl from the pot and allow it to cool a bit. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. Add the flour and stir until it disappears, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with a wooden spoon (I suppose this develops the gluten a bit and helps give those brownies structure? Just a guess). Stir in the nuts and spread evenly in your lined pan. (At this point, you can sprinkle the batter with flaky Maldon sea salt, if you’re into that kind of thing.) Bake until a cake tester comes out mostly clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on a rack. Lift up the parchment on to a cutting board and cut the brownies into squares. Food52 says 16 or 25 squares; I say, “Bigger brownies are better” so make 9 big brownies.
As I mentioned in the post itself, I added a splash of coffee because I had some leftover. That upped the baking time but gave a subtle hint of coffee flavor. For a quicker way to introduce coffee flavor, stir in some instant espresso. Just a little bit’ll do the trick.
6. For the hopeless romantic: Raspberry Red Velvet Brownies
- 1 Box Fudge Brownies with chocolate chips
- 1 Package Raspberry Dessert Sauce
- 1 Stick of butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- ¾ Cup water
- In a medium bowl, mix together Brownie Mix and 1/2 cup Raspberry Dessert Sauce. Add in the butter, eggs and water and mix until combined
- Fold in the Chocolate Chips until stirred thoroughly
- Bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes
7. For the bitter palate: The Pioneer Woman's Dark Chocolate Brownies
PREP TIME: 15 Minutes COOK TIME: 45 Minutes SERVINGS: 16 Servings
- 1 cup Butter
- 5 ounces, weight Unsweetened Chocolate
- 1/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 2 cups Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
- 3 whole Large Eggs
- 1-1/4 cup Flour
- 3/4 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
- Powdered Sugar, For Sifting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium-large saucepan, melt the butter with the unsweetened chocolate over low heat, whisking occasionally until smooth and melted. Sprinkle in cocoa powder and whisk to combine. Remove the pan from heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
Stir in sugar and vanilla until just combined.
One at a time, stir in the eggs.
Gently stir in the flour until halfway incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and stir just until combined.
Pour batter (it will be very thick!) into a greased 8 x 8 or 9 x 13 baking pan. (Square pan will result in thicker brownies.) Spread to even out the top and place in the oven.
Bake for 40 minutes, then check the brownies with a toothpick. If it is overly gooey/messy, return to the oven for 5 to 10 more minutes. (Just be careful not to burn the edges.)
Allow to cool completely (important!), then sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into small squares. The brownies are very rich!
*Note: When warm the brownies will seem overly gooey/soft. As they cool, they will firm up. (Brownies are best several hours after baking, or even the next day!)
8. For the peanut butter lover: Jo's Chewy Peanut Butter Brownies
Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 25 minutes Ready In: 40 minutes
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/3 cup margarine, softened
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C ). Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan. In a medium bowl, cream together peanut butter and margarine. Gradually blend in the brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, and vanilla; mix until fluffy. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the peanut butter mixture until well blended. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in preheated oven, or until the top springs back when touched. Cool, and cut into 16 squares.
9. For the health concious: Simple Vegan Brownies c/o Minimalist Baker
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) non-dairy butter (such as Earth Balance)
- 3/4 cup natural cane or granulated sugar
- 2 large flax eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour (Optional add-ins:) 1/3 cup walnuts, hazelnuts or chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray 7-8 standard-sized muffin tins with cooking spray. Alternatively, fit each with a paper liner. Prepare flax eggs in a small bowl and let rest for 5 minutes. Place butter in a large mixing bowl and melt in the microwave. Then stir in the flax egg, sugar, vanilla, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Whisk to combine. Lastly, add the flour, then fold in any mix-ins - chocolate chips or walnuts would be excellent here. Scoop batter evenly into 7-8 muffin tins until 3/4 full and bake on the middle rack for 22-26 minutes, or until the brownies start to pull away from the sides and they spring back slightly to the touch. Be careful not to overcook or they will get crumbly. Remove from oven and let rest in the tin for 5 minutes before removing to cool completely on a plate or cooling rack. Store in an airtight container to keep fresh for a couple days. Freeze for long-term storage.
Serving size: 1 brownie Calories: 237 Fat: 12 g Saturated fat: 3.5 g Carbohydrates: 30 g Sugar: 18 g Sodium: 161 mg Fiber: 2.5 g Protein: 2.7 g
10. For the major sweet n' salty girl: Ina Garten's Salted Caramel Brownies
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 8 ounces plus 6 ounces Hershey's semisweet chocolate chips
- 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 3 extra-large eggs
- 1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee granules, such as Nescafe
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 to 6 ounces good caramel sauce, such as Fran's
- 2 to 3 teaspoons flaked sea salt, such as Maldon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9 x 12 x 1 1/2-inch baking pan.
Melt the butter, 8 ounces of the chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate together in a medium bowl set over simmering water. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature (see note below).
In a medium bowl, sift together 1/2 cup of the flour, the baking powder, and salt and add to the chocolate mixture. Toss the remaining 6 ounces of chocolate chips and the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour in a medium bowl and add them to the chocolate mixture. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Don't overbake!
As soon as the brownies are out of the oven, place the jar of caramel sauce without the lid in a microwave and heat just until it's pourable. Stir until smooth. Drizzle the caramel evenly over the hot brownies and sprinkle with the sea salt. Cool completely and cut into 12 bars.
It is very important to allow the batter to cool before adding the chocolate chips, or the chips will melt and ruin the brownies.
Which recipe looked the best to you? Share in the comments below and don't forget to post this list on your Facebook for all of your friends to see!