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Ultimate Fudge Brownies
If you google “ultimate fudge brownies” there are millions of search results... (I don’t recommend doing this if you’re hungry.) I’ve thrown quite a few made-from-scratch brownie and bar recipes out there myself, and I've even written an entire brownie cookbook. So you can trust me when I say I know a thing or two about brownies and I guarantee that this ultimate fudge brownie recipe provides that box mix fudginess that we all know and love.
So often, homemade fudge brownies are disappointing (at least all the ones I’ve tried)... but I’m here to change your views on that. Those homemade fudge brownies that are drier than the Sahara desert in the summertime? Never again. Brownies that are too sweet OR not sweet enough? No thanks. And brownies that are described as “chewy” but taste like chocolate cake? Later dude. It’s time to say goodbye to mediocre brownies and HELLO to the best ultimate fudge brownies ever.
I don’t like throwing around ‘best’ and ‘ultimate’ all the time since I know brownie recipes can be subjective, of course. I don’t want to step on your Great Grandma Edna’s recipe or your favorite boxed mix, but for me, this is my new favorite.
Ingredients for Fudgy Brownies
You probably have most of what you need to make these chocolate fudge brownies already sitting in your kitchen. Here's what you'll need:
- Butter: The one and only. A high fat-to-flour ratio is one of the reasons these brownies are so ridiculously fudgy.
- Dark chocolate: I love using 70% cacao dark chocolate in my baked goods; but you could also opt for a semisweet chocolate for this recipe. When it comes to baking with chocolate, make sure to use the highest quality one that has the fewest ingredients.
- Cocoa powder: I recommend using Dutch-processed cocoa for that deep, chocolatey flavor
- Espresso powder: This is different than instant coffee! Espresso powder further brings out the chocolate flavor; don't worry... your brownies won't taste like coffee, I promise!
- Sugar: This recipe uses both granulated and dark brown sugar for the ideal chewy fudge brownie texture.
- Vanilla: Leaving it out will result in brownies that taste a little bland.
- Salt: Brownies made without salt taste a little plain, so don’t skip it.
- Eggs: Three large (room temperature) eggs are all you need.
- All-purpose flour: Only ½ cup of all-purpose flour is needed!
Note: If you don't have Dutch-processed cocoa powder, you can substitute it with an equal amount of unsweetened natural cocoa powder!
How to Make the Best Brownies from Scratch
These fudgy brownies are rather simple to make, but they do require a little extra work compared to your basic one-bowl brownie recipe. I promise it's worth it though! You'll need a saucepan, a hand or stand mixer, and three mixing bowls. To make them, you'll follow these steps:
- Melt the butter with dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and espresso powder. Here’s where the saucepan comes into play. You'll melt the butter until it's vigorously (read: violently) bubbling and then pour it over the chopped chocolate, some of the cocoa powder, and the espresso powder. After sitting for a minute or so, you'll whisk it all together until you're left with a smooth and well-combined chocolatey mixture.
- Whisk the sugars, vanilla, salt, and eggs together. This step is crucial to this recipe. You'll combine both sugars, vanilla extract, salt, and all three eggs in the bowl of your mixer and whisk them on high speed for precisely 10 minutes. This process incorporates a ton of air into our batter which will act as our leavening agent (rather than including any baking powder/baking soda). The final result will look like an extremely thick, pale yellow pancake batter.
- Add the chocolate mixture. With the mixer running, you'll slowly stream in the melted chocolate mixture and then mix it on high for about a minute or two to make sure it's nice and combined. Make sure to add the chocolate gradually so you don't run the risk of 1) cooking the eggs or 2) deflating your batter.
- Add the dry ingredients. Once the chocolate mixture is incorporated, you'll sift in the flour and remaining cocoa powder and then carefully fold the batter until the dry ingredients are completely combined. Again, be careful not to deflate the batter or overmix it!
- Bake. Once your dry ingredients are mixed in, you can transfer the batter to your prepared pan and bake! You'll bake them for 20 minutes and then remove the pan from the oven and *carefully* slam it on a solid, flat surface a few times. What this does is deflate them ever so slightly which contributes to an even thickness/texture and helps guarantee that beautiful crackly top. After slamming the pan on the counter a few times, the brownies will need another 10 minutes or so in the oven. Every oven is different, so keep a close eye on the brownies after returning them to the oven.
Recipe Troubleshooting & FAQ
ULTIMATE FUDGE BROWNIES: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I double this ultimate fudge brownie recipe?
Yes! You can easily double the recipe, and bake it in a 13×9-inch pan. You can adjust the 'servings' slider from 16 to 32 in the recipe card to get the proper measurements. Just keep in mind that your brownies might take a few minutes longer to bake overall.
Do I really need a mixer to make these ultimate fudge brownies?
Unfortunately, yes! Whisking the ingredients by hand just won't incorporate as much air into the batter, which is essentially our leavening agent. The recipe also instructs you to add melted chocolate and butter to eggs while the mixture is still warm. Using a hand or stand mixer helps prevent the eggs in the batter from scrambling because the whisking motion distributes heat more evenly!
Can I reduce the sugar in these brownies?
I don't recommend it, but you can reduce the granulated sugar by 1/4 cup (50 grams), and should be fine! I wouldn't mess with the dark brown sugar at all since the moisture (from the molasses in the brown sugar) helps contribute to the brownies' chewiness and fudginess.
How can you tell when the brownies are done baking?
A toothpick is your best friend when testing brownies for doneness. You'll want to remove these brownies when your toothpick is covered in moist crumbs; they might even still look ever so slightly underdone in the center. The residual heat of the pan will continue to finish cooking them to fudgy perfection, however, so make sure to let them cool completely in the pan.
Can I top these with frosting for fudge brownies?
You could... but they really don't need it. These brownies are so rich and indulgent that they don't really need frosting on top! You'll enjoy them just as is, I promise!
What can I substitute the eggs with?
I haven't tested this recipe using any sort of egg substitute nor do I plan to, unfortunately. The eggs are such a key component in this recipe and contribute to the overall thickness, texture, and fudginess of the brownies; I'm skeptical that any sort of substitute would work without significantly changing the final result.
What pan should I bake these fudgy brownies in?
This brownie recipe calls for an 8x8-inch metal pan! It is possible to bake brownies in a glass pan, but I don't recommend it for this recipe. Glass bakeware is slower to heat than metal, and once it's hot... it retains that heat for much longer. So when using a glass pan to bake something like a batch of brownies, you may find that the sides and bottom brown at a much faster rate than the interior cooks... which is not ideal!
How do I cut these brownies neatly/cleanly?
I like to use a chef's knife because the long blade can slice across the length of the pan in one cut. There are two different methods I recommend. You can either
1) Lightly spray the blade with cooking spray on both sides before making your first cut. After making the cut, wipe the blade clean with a warm, damp paper towel, and then repeat the spraying, cutting, and wiping.
2) Keep the knife in a tall container of very hot water and dip/wipe it between each cut to rewarm the knife and remove the crumbs.
What's the best way to store these homemade fudge brownies?
These brownies should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature; they'll last for up to 4 days. If you plan on storing for longer than 3 days, I recommend adding a piece of sliced bread to the storage container. The moisture from the bread will help keep the brownies soft and fresh longer.
Can I freeze leftover fudge brownies?
You can absolutely freeze these brownies! To do so, individually wrap any leftover brownies in two layers of plastic wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil. (The aluminum foil will prevent the bars from absorbing any other flavors or odors in the freezer.) Freeze for up to 3 months. Transfer the brownies to the refrigerator to thaw overnight before serving. You can eat the brownies straight from the fridge, or rewarmed in the microwave.
ULTIMATE FUDGE BROWNIES: TROUBLESHOOTING
Help! My brownies don't have the shiny paper crinkle top like yours do! What did I do wrong?
It’s likely one of three things! You either 1) used too much flour, 2) used too little sugar, or 3) baked the brownies for too long. If you used cup measures as opposed to weight measures, your ingredients were probably a little off. As weird as this sounds, measuring cups aren’t as accurate as you think and it's easier to use too much or too little of an ingredient when using volume measures. This is why I list ingredients by grams first and why you should really be measuring by weight with a kitchen scale instead—it’s much more reliable and completely eliminates any inconsistencies.
If you used weight measures and are STILL experiencing issues, it’s likely that the brownies were overbaked. Check out the notes below on how to test brownies for doneness.
Help! My brownies came out a little cakey and tough. What did I do wrong?
Cakey, tough brownies are caused by overmixing the batter! When mixing the dry ingredients into the rest of the batter, simply mix just until the flour disappears! If you mix beyond that, your brownies will come out tough and no one wants that...
If you like your brownie recipe to be fudgy and super chocolatey, well then, these ultimate fudge brownies were made for you. Give 'em a try and let me know what you think! If you're afraid you'll eat the entire pan in one sitting, then I suggest making these small batch dark chocolate fudge brownies instead!
*Originally posted May 19, 2019*
*Blog post updated September 6, 2022*
Ultimate Fudge Brownies
- 230 g unsalted butter
- 115 g dark chocolate chopped (70% cacao)
- 45 g cocoa powder divided
- 2 teaspoon espresso powder
- 150 g granulated sugar
- 110 g dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 3 large eggs (approx. 150 grams)
- 60 g all-purpose flour
- Grease an 8×8-inch pan with butter, then line with parchment paper, leaving overhang on all sides. Grease the parchment with butter, then set aside.
- Combine the chopped chocolate, espresso powder, and 2 tablespoons (15 g) of cocoa powder in a medium heatproof bowl and set aside.115 g dark chocolate, 45 g cocoa powder, 2 teaspoon espresso powder
- Add the butter to a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until the butter just comes to a vigorous simmer, stirring often. Immediately pour the hot butter over the chocolate mixture and let sit for 2 minutes. Whisk until the chocolate is completely smooth and melted, then set aside.230 g unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to preheat to 350°F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or using an electric hand mixer, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and eggs for exactly 10 minutes on medium-high.150 g granulated sugar, 110 g dark brown sugar, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, 3 large eggs
- With the mixer on, pour in the slightly cooled chocolate mixture and mix until smooth.
- Sift in the flour and remaining cocoa powder and use a rubber spatula to gently fold until just combined.45 g cocoa powder, 60 g all-purpose flour
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes and then remove the pan from the oven and slam them on a flat surface 2-3 times (this deflates them slightly, giving them a more even texture and encourages that beautiful crackly top). Return to the oven and bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the brownies comes out fudgy but the edges look cooked through, about 10 additional minutes.* The center of the brownies will seem underbaked, but the brownies will continue to set as they cool.
- Allow brownies to cool completely in the pan.
- Use the parchment paper to lift the cooled brownies out of the pan. Cut into 16 bars and serve. Enjoy!
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