The Fudgy Brownies Journey
All my life I was making brownies out of a box mix. And I was content with it, until I wasn’t. A couple of years ago I made a box mix that was dull, flavorless, and more cake-like than true brownie texture. I didn’t even really want to serve them to my friends but that was all I had time for that day. Maybe it was the brand or type of mix that I bought that was the problem. I suspect it is actually just that I have higher expectations of baked goods. So I began the process of creating my own recipe. I bake everything else from scratch, why should fudgy brownies be the exception??
As it turns out, fudgy brownies are actually a huge lesson in chemistry. I did not study chemistry of any sort in college, certainly not food related chemistry. So, when my first attempt at my own fudgy brownies failed, I began to research. You’d be surprised how little information there is out there on how to get that shiny, flaky “skin” that we all love to see on top of our brownies. Without finding much info online, I have modified, adjusted, and tested several versions of brownies. Each version has been delicious. The asthetic has just been off from what I want.
As I was about to finalize my recipe, a friend shared a YouTube video with me. She didn’t know I had been working on this recipe for a year and a half. A delicious, chocolate filled year and a half. This video explained what I was trying to figure out. That flaky shine on top of brownies is related to the sugars being fully coated in fat. I altered my recipe again… and again. As I sit here typing, I literally have four slightly different batches sitting on my counter. What I’ve determined is that the a super high gloss shine is achievable. I can almost see my reflection in one batch but it doesn’t taste as good. The ultimate balance is a light, flaky shine on top while maintaining that fudgy, rich chocolate in the middle. So here it is, my labor of love, my fudgy brownies recipe. Enjoy!
- Electric mixer. Ideally, a stand mixer is best for this recipe.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional but adds richness to the chocolate flavor)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350℉.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Scrape sides of bowl as needed. When you think you have it fully combined, scrape the sides again and continue beating the mixture for a few more minutes.
- Add powdered sugar to the butter mixture. Start mixing on low so the powdered sugar doesn't fly out of the bowl. Gradually increase speed of mixer and beat until mixture is light in texture and almost white in color. (I use a stand mixer and let it run at the second highest setting while I prepare the next ingredients.)
- In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate chips in microwave. Stir every 30 seconds in order to not burn the chocolate. Once fully melted, set aside to cool slightly.
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt. Set aside. (Don't skip sifting. This prevents you from having clumps of cocoa powder in your brownies.)
- Add eggs and vanilla to butter mixture and begin mixing at low setting.
- While continuing to mix butter and eggs, add melted chocolate. Beat on medium speed until fully combined. Scrape sides of bowl as needed.
- With a sturdy wooden spoon or spatula, gradually stir dry ingredients into mixture.
- Spread brownie batter into greased 9×13 baking pan. Bake 30 minutes or until test toothpick come out almost clean (you want to see a few bits of slightly undercooked batter on the toothpick).