How to Make Easy Brownies From Scratch - Delishably - Food and Drink
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How to Make Easy Brownies From Scratch

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" and "Taste of Home". She belongs to Cook's Recipe Testers for "Cook's Illustrated".

Delicious, chocolatey brownies

Delicious, chocolatey brownies

Chewy, Fudgy Brownies from Scratch

Brownies are a go-to snack in our home. They're quick and easy to make, stand up to packing and go down easily with a cold glass of milk or a cup of coffee. Why use a box mix when you only need a couple extra minutes to whip up a batch of brownies from scratch? This recipe calls for butter rather than oil, which makes a much more delicious brownie than anything you can mix up from a box. And if you buy better quality cocoa powder, you'll turn these brownies into a chocolatey gourmet treat.

There are two keys to making delicious brownies every time:

  1. Buy good quality cocoa
  2. Do not overbake!

It's much better to underbake the brownies a bit than to overbake them. There's nothing worse than brownies with burnt, dry edges. Be sure to hang out by the oven the last five minutes of baking time so you can be sure you don't overbake them.

I have experimented with many types of cocoa powder: Hershey's extra dark, Ghirardelli, Cacao Barry and Pernigotti. All of these cocoa powders will make delicious brownies. Although Pernigotti is rich and chocolatey, it is also pricey. Hershey's extra dark and Ghirardelli are delicious, but my favorite is Cacao Barry cocoa powder. It's made in France, is more affordable than other European-made cocoa and is rich and dark without a hint of bitterness. I prefer to use alkalized (sometimes called European or Dutch Process) cocoa in this recipe instead of natural cocoa, since the end result is much more rich and fudgy. Stick around after the recipe to learn about the difference between Dutch process and natural cocoa.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

30 min

45 min

12 brownies

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder*
  • 2 tablespoons strong coffee
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

*If baking at high altitude, reduce baking powder to 3/4 teaspoon for 6-7,000 feet or 1/2 teaspoon for 8-9,000 feet.

Optional ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped good quality chocolate or chocolate chips, such as Ghirardelli
  • 1 cup nuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Lightly grease a 9x9 inch square pan. If using a silicone pan, skip this step.
  3. In a large bowl combine eggs, cocoa, salt, baking powder, coffee and vanilla extract. Batter will be dry.
  4. Melt butter and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until butter has melted.
  5. Heat butter/sugar mixture until bubbly but not boiling, stirring constantly. The sugar will melt and the mixture will look shiny.
  6. Allow mixture to cool for a couple of minutes.
  7. Add warm sugar mixture to the cocoa batter. Beat with a mixer until smooth.
  8. Add flour and optional ingredients, if desired. Blend with a spatula just until combined. Pour into prepared pan.
  9. Bake brownies for 30 minutes, or until edges are set and pulling away from the pan. The center will look moist but not liquid. It's better to underbake the brownies by a couple of minutes than to overbake them.
  10. Cool and cut brownies. Store them in a tupperware for 3 days at room temperature, if they last that long. Or you can wrap the brownies well and freeze them for about a month.

Easy Brownie Photo Tutorial

Gather ingredients.

Gather ingredients.

Combine eggs, cocoa and other dry ingredients.

Combine eggs, cocoa and other dry ingredients.

Batter will be dry.

Batter will be dry.

Combine sugar and butter in a saucepan over low heat.

Combine sugar and butter in a saucepan over low heat.

Cook until sugar melts, stirring constantly. Cool a couple of minutes.

Cook until sugar melts, stirring constantly. Cool a couple of minutes.

Add warm butter/sugar mixture to cocoa batter. Using a hand mixer, mix well.

Add warm butter/sugar mixture to cocoa batter. Using a hand mixer, mix well.

Add flour and optional ingredients. Fold in with a spatula just until blended.

Add flour and optional ingredients. Fold in with a spatula just until blended.

Batter should look like this.

Batter should look like this.

Pour into prepared 9x9 inch pan.

Pour into prepared 9x9 inch pan.

Bake about 30 minutes, until edges are pulling away from the pan. DO NOT overbake!

Bake about 30 minutes, until edges are pulling away from the pan. DO NOT overbake!

Unique Brownie Add-Ins

  • Peanut butter brownies: Swirl spoonfuls of natural or regular peanut butter into the top of the batter before baking.
  • Turtle brownies: Swirl caramel sundae topping into brownie batter before taking. Sprinkle with chopped, toasted pecans and chocolate chips.
  • Peppermint Patty brownies: Spoon half of brownie batter into prepared pan. Add a layer of peppermint patty candies before covering with the last half of brownie batter.
  • Almond Joy brownies: Bake brownies as directed. After 15 minutes, remove brownies from oven. Combine 3 cups of flaked coconut, 1 cup sliced and toasted almonds and 1 can sweetened condensed milk in a medium mixing bowl. Drop spoonfuls over brownies. Return to oven and bake 15 minutes longer, or until edges are pulling away from pan.
  • Sweet 'n Salty Pretzel brownies: After brownies have cooled slightly, ice with a can of chocolate or vanilla frosting. Sprinkle with chopped pretzels and mixed nuts.

What's the Difference Between Alkalized and Regular Cocoa?

Without explaining the chemical process involved, alkalized or Dutch process cocoa is treated with alkali to neutralize its natural acid content. This makes a neutral cocoa that doesn't react to acidic ingredients like baking soda. Dutch process cocoa is darker and richer than regular cocoa, which translates into dark, chocolatey brownies.

Cacoa Barry is my favorite Dutch process cocoa. You can buy it in a 2.2 pound bag which turns out many batches of delicious brownies!

Comments

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 15, 2016:

I hope you have a chance to try them AliciaC!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 14, 2016:

This recipe looks wonderful. I love the basic ingredients. The variations look so delicious that I'd like to try them all!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 13, 2016:

Hi Blond Logic, the condensed milk gets absorbed into the brownies during the 15 minutes of cooking. They are pretty gooey but delicious. Please let me know if you try them. I don't know about substituting chocolate powder for cocoa. Can you get cacao? We can get cocoa in Peru but it's not very flavorful, so when we travel to the U.S. To see family I always bring back a big bag of cocoa powder.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 13, 2016:

I'm glad you're going to try this recipe Alyssa Nichol. Thanks for your comment.

Sakina Nasir from Kuwait on September 13, 2016:

Amazing recipe! I m very fond of chocolate, will try this some day. Thanks for sharing.

Emily from Oregon on September 13, 2016:

Looks delectable! Can't wait to try them :)

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 13, 2016:

I like this recipe and looks so delicious!

Mary Wickison from Brazil on September 13, 2016:

Okay, I have to try these. I make virtually everything from scratch. One question, I have is about the almond joy ones. All that extra liquid in the condensed milk, is it just absorbed by the coconut?

Where I live, sourcing some of these ingredients can be tricky. Cocoa powder for example, is not easy to find here. I will need to try chocolate powder and reduce the sugar.

Alyssa from Ohio on September 13, 2016:

Those look delicious! I will be trying this recipe out soon!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 13, 2016:

Thanks for commenting and sharing, peachpurple!

peachy from Home Sweet Home on September 12, 2016:

thanks for sharing your brownies

peachy from Home Sweet Home on September 12, 2016:

looks so delicious, with the photos attached, it will be easier for me to try baking them. thanks, shared at my FB

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on September 12, 2016:

Easy to make and delicious, thank you for sharing.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 12, 2016:

Thanks for the excellent idea, FlourishAnyway!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 12, 2016:

Thank you sallybea!

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 12, 2016:

These look delicious and oh, so rich! My favorite add in is cream cheese (with a little egg and sugar), swirled. Makes it perfect.

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on September 12, 2016:

Yum! These look delicious. These will definitely be on my list of recipe's to try. Thanks for sharing.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 12, 2016:

Thanks Paul Edmondson!

Paul Edmondson from Burlingame, CA on September 12, 2016:

Oh, boy. These look tasty!