SERIOUS brownie points

Pizza. Spaghetti and meatballs. Cinnamon toast. Fried rice. Brownies.

What do these apparently random dishes all have in common?

They’re on my personal list of Foods I’ll Never Grow Tired Of.

I could eat any of these foods every day, any time of the day. Fried rice for breakfast? Done that. Cinnamon toast with the 11 p.m. news? Comfort, baby. Spaghetti and meatballs (pizza on the side) after church on Sunday? It doesn’t get any better.

And brownies. If I had to pick just one dessert to accompany me throughout eternity, it might just be brownies.

Not just any brownies, mind you. The brownies you’ll read about below. The ones I actually created myself, after years of fooling around with various recipes.

I’m under no illusion that these brownies are some momentous discovery, some miracle of culinary research akin to Jonas Salk and the polio vaccine. In fact, they’re exquisitely similar to many, MANY other brownie recipes.

But I’ve added a ”secret ingredient“ here, an amount tweak there, and a dab of technique to make what we here at King Arthur proudly call our Guaranteed Fudge Brownie, the ne plus ultra of brownie-dom—in our humble opinion.

Now, before you get all up in arms over this proclamation, notice that it comes with a disclaimer: These are the Best Brownies in the World IN OUR OPINION. Brownies are like wine, or cheese, or any other greatly beloved food. One man’s white Zinfandel is another man’s Chateau d’Yquem. To each his own Gorgonzola.

Brownies can be fudgy unto completely under-baked gooeyness, or they can masquerade as chocolate cake. They can be bitter enough to provoke a twinge behind the ears, or so sweet you wonder where the chocolate went. There’s the nuts/no nuts controversy. The fans of a pretty, shiny top vs. those who say, “Who cares, so long as it’s chocolate.” In short, to each his own.

But if you like a brownie that’s somewhere between bitter and sweet—call it semisweet; that’s midway between melted fudge and airy cake (we call it “on the fence”); and that, yes, has a GORGEOUS shiny top, a top that flakes off in tiny, delicate shards as you cut it—

Then this is your brownie.

Read our Guaranteed Fudge Brownie recipe as you follow along with these pictures.


Let’s start with the chocolate. I use cocoa, rather than solid chocolate. I think it makes a richer, darker, tastier brownie. I especially like our Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa, a mixture of “black” cocoa (a super-dark cocoa); and Dutch-process cocoa, which is unsweetened baking cocoa that’s been treated to lower its acidity, letting its lovely flavor shine through.


Next, the secret ingredient: espresso powder. Don’t tell me you don’t like coffee! You won’t taste any coffee in these brownies. Like vanilla, espresso simply heightens chocolate’s flavor.


Now, for the lesson in technique. Put 2 sticks of butter and 2 1/4 cups of sugar in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave till the butter melts.


While the butter is melting, put 4 large eggs in a mixing bowl.


Add the cocoa, baking powder, espresso powder, salt, and vanilla, mixing till smooth.


Take the butter/sugar out of the microwave.


Stir till well combined.


Then, put it back into the microwave, and heat till the mixture BARELY comes to a bubble, maybe 90 seconds to 2 minutes. You don’t want it to boil, so keep your eye on it. Remove it from the microwave when you see it starting to foam.

Why this extra step of melting the butter with the sugar? Our King Arthur product development director, Sue Gray, taught me this trick. Melting the sugar and butter together allows some of the sugar to migrate to the top of the batter during baking, forming that signature shiny/crackly crust.


Add the hot butter/sugar to the chocolate mixture in the bowl.


Stir together, then add the flour.


Stir to make a smooth batter.


Decision time: Do you want chocolate chips that show, and add a bit of chunkiness to your brownies? Or do you want the chips to simply melt into a rich smoothness, perfectly amalgamated within the brownie?

For chips that retain their shape and add chunkiness, let the batter cool for about 20 minutes before adding the chips, stirring occasionally to hasten the process. This is a good time to preheat your oven to 350°F, if you haven’t already done so.

For brownies where the chips melt right into the brownie, add them to the hot batter immediately, stirring to combine.


I prefer my chips to remain evident. This batter rested for 20 minutes before I quickly and gently stirred in the chips. If you beat or stir too long, the batter is still warm enough that the chips will dissolve, so take it easy.


Line a 9” x 13” pan with parchment, and grease the parchment. Is this necessary, all of you without parchment ask? No. But it sure is nice to be able to remove brownies from the pan intact, without sticking and crumbling.

Scoop the batter into the pan.


Shake the pan and/or use a spatula to smooth the batter into the corners.


Bake for 30 minutes. Or 28 minutes. Or however long it takes your 350°F oven to bake the brownies PERFECTLY.


Translation: A toothpick or cake tester, inserted into the center and poked around a bit, will reveal no unbaked batter—just very moist crumbs. Let me stress: VERY moist crumbs. In my 350°F oven here in the test kitchen, that’s a consistent 30 minutes.

Yes, this doneness test makes a divot in the center of your beautiful pan of brownies. But since you’ll cut them into squares anyway, so what? Save the divoted one for yourself.


Loosen the edges of the brownies. A baker’s bench knife works well here, though a table knife would also do the job. Let them cool in the pan till they’re lukewarm. Then slice into 2” (more or less) squares, which is four rows lengthwise, and six crosswise: 2 dozen brownies.


Now, take your bench knife (or a spatula) and insert it between the edge of the pan and the brownies. Lift up.


The brownies should slide right out, so long as you’ve used parchment.


See that gorgeous, shiny top? And note the lighter-colored chips evident on the left side of this brownie—that’s the look you’ll get when you wait for the batter to cool before adding the chips.

Serve with cold milk, or a cup of coffee. Heaven…

Carolyn commented below, “Will this recipe work in the Brownie Edge pan?”


So far, so good.


Will it overflow?


Not at all. It’s PERFECT. Just bake about 5 minutes longer, as it makes a slightly thicker (1 1/2”) brownie, with edges on at least two sides. If you like brownie edges, or know someone who does—this pan’s for you. And as Janet (our Web designer and devoted brownie-edge fan) points out, “If you’re lucky you can have a piece with edges on THREE sides.”

Can’t beat that, huh?

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Guaranteed Fudge Brownies.

Buy vs. Bake

Buy: The Night Kitchen Bakery, Philadelphia, PA: “Best of Philly” Fudge Brownie, $2.00

Bake at home: Fudge Brownie, 32¢

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. Nancy

    Oh – these look divine! The trick of melting the sugar and butter together is very interesting. Thanks for the tip. Your photographs are incredible and make me want to rush out to get the ingredients to whip up a batch of these.

  2. Bridgid

    I want to make these but my question is this: I really hate coffee. Can’t stand it. I made the whole grain chocolate lava cake (from the kaf whole grain cookbook, which I LOVE) and topped it with coffee instead of hot water, as suggested, and I hated it. The coffee flavor was there. It said it intensify the flavor & meld, but ick. The cake was lovely, no grainy-ness, it was wonderful, but then the coffee flavor hit.

    So…..question is: will I taste the expresso powder? I’d hate to make these and not like them.

    Also, I have made the fudgy brownies from one of the kaf cookbooks, and holy cow were they outstanding to the nth degree!! I made the macaroon topping for them and they were to die for!

    You don’t taste the espresso powder – it simply heightens the flavor of the chocolate. I’ve never heard anyone say these brownies tasted like coffee or espresso, so Bridgid, try and see for yourself. PJH

    1. Susan

      I made these yesterday; no espresso powder.
      They are great.
      I also used only 2 c. flour; didn’t seem to bother.

    2. Deer Park Momma

      I Dont like coffee either. I actually gag when I have to clean the pot. So I feel your pain, lol. You don’t taste it at all in the brownies-it just gives it a deeper chocolate flavor!

  3. Megan

    yummy…love your blog and all the tips. My fav so far is the different gadgets at each station-shows off the personality of the cooks! Thanks

  4. Keri

    I love the tip of melting the butter and sugar together. It does create a nice top!

    Is this basically the same recipe that’s in the brownie mix you sell? I just got a free package with an order and wow! were they good brownies. I won’t say how much I ate and how much I shared with my family.

    This is a variation of our Guarenteed Brownie Recipe: Frank from KAF.

  5. Marielle


    Now that I’ve picked myself up off the floor – how to convince hubby to postpone the southern poundcake tomorrow in lieu of brownies. I LOVE the tip for a shiny top.

  6. Sue

    Is this the same recipe that I found on a package of KA Flour? I can’t look right now to compare, but it rings some bells and the end product looks the same. If so, I’ve made these brownies and they are the best!!

  7. Terri

    I think these are your On the Fence brownies from the Cookie Companion, right? These have been my favorite since I got the book about a year and a half ago. I’ve not made them with the espresso powder, though – will have to try that next time. I could eat half a pan of these in one sitting! My mouth is watering thinking about them.

    Right, Terri – They’re On-the-Fence… a venerable favorite. PJH

  8. Bridgett

    Oh, these look so good! I love the tip you’ve given on the butter and sugar. It really does make these brownies look divine. And waiting until the batter is cool enough to handle the chips does appear to make a world of difference. I would vote for the whole chips too. Thanks for the great post.

  9. Daniel Smith

    Those look delicious.

    How should one store uneaten brownies?

    Store them tightly wrapped at room temperature. A plastic bag works well for this. Frank from KAF.

  10. Eric

    This recipe doubles *beautifully* baked in a sprayed half-sheet pan, no parchment required. The political capital found in homemade brownies knows no bounds; so plan to give away half the batch and sit back and reap the rewards.

    Personally I stir in 2/3s of the chips, and sprinkle on the rest after smoothing the batter into the pan with an offset spatula. I also think these are EVEN BETTER the second or third day stored in a sealed container.

    This is, by far, one of the best recipes I’ve ever used. It’s totally consistent, everybody loves them, I’ve won (four?) blue ribbons with them. You will not regret making these.

    HI Eric,
    I totally agree with you on the doubling for a half sheet pan. This is my go to recipe for bake sales, potlucks, etc. Once the brownies cool, I top with ganache, and leave one 1/4 plain, 1/4 topped with nuts, 1/4 with chocolate sprinkles and 1/4 with colored sprinkles or pearl sugar. Never a crumb left! ~ MaryJane

  11. Anne

    this looks very good! except, we don’t drink (or eat powdered versions) coffee for religious and dietary reasons. can you recommend a good cocoa-enhancing substitute?

    What about Postum? Frank from KAF.

  12. Jules

    These look great. I think these are in my near future. And I love the feature on the recipe page to switch between volume and weight! (Is that new, or have I just never noticed it before?) I seem to be pulling out my scale much more often these days for baking purposes, and it’s so lovely and precise.

    NEW as of last July – so “relatively” new, Jules. I love my scale – wouldn’t bake without it. PJH

  13. kathrine wehrung

    Funny you just posted this because I actually just catered a small event today with this recipe! Everyone LOVES these brownies and they make me look really good haha! Thanks for the best brownie recipe in the world, seriously! The only thing is to get them baked just right, takes practice!
    Love you guys!

  14. Sue

    Okay. I’m procrastinating. I work at home and just had to find the recipe I clipped from the bag of KA Unbleached AP Flour. The title is The Best Fudge Brownies Ever and it is the same recipe minus the espresso powder. These really are great brownies, and are now the “go to” brownie at our house. Next time I’ll add the espresso powder too! Thanks PJ and all the folks at KA Flour!

  15. Trisha

    Frank, unfortunately, Postum was discontinued a couple of years ago. To my great disappointment, I might add. I really miss it!

    REALLY! I’ve still got half a jar of Postum here in my cupboard. Is it THAT old??? PJH

    1. Michelle Purser

      Fast forward to 2016-2017, they now are selling postum in some stores, yay, so when shopping for groceries, you might want to look, cup of postim with a brownie, hmmmmm.

  16. elianna

    Awesome recipe. Never made the KAF version…i once found a recipe called “mexican brownies” that’s pretty similar except you add cinnamon & leave out the espresso powder…anyway, they’re awesome. but i applied what i learned from the mex brownie recipe to other recipes for brownies…and i can totally second PJ on two things…the heating of the butter & sugar makes them AWESOME…and if you get them “perfectly baked”-which DOES take practice!!!-you can make almost any brownies out of this world. 🙂
    In all honesty…once I found the Mexican Brownies version I said i never would try another one…but i’m clicking “print” right now on your recipe! 🙂 Looks awesome! thanks for the time & work you put into each of these posts…i am always telling people about this site! 🙂 it’s a bakers training course in a nutshell. 🙂 you guys are AWESOME!! 🙂

    Elianna, thank you SO much for your enthusiasm! PJH

  17. Melinda

    Dang, I’m out of espresso powder or I’d make these right now. 🙁

    Melinda, espresso heightens the flavor of chocolate. Don’t let not having it stop you. Make ’em now, and then make ’em again with espresso for a richer flavor… both will be divine! PJH

  18. lexee

    How long do these brownies keep?

    I am looking for a good recipe to make and ship to Thailand. Would these be a good candidate? If not, do you have any suggestions for other recipes that ship and keep well?


    Hi Lexee – Best to make a nice, crisp cookie, like Vanilla Dreams. Or even better: biscotti. You’ll find all kinds of biscotti recipes here. Have fun – PJH

    1. kathleen

      I have been using this brownie recipe for years! It never fails to deliver perfect brownies! thanks PJ!

    2. PJ Hamel, post author

      I agree, Kathleen. This is my absolute go-to brownie recipe; I try others at times just as a reality check, but this one is always the winner. Thanks for helping to spread the word! PJH

  19. Bridget

    I love your list and wholeheartedly agree….I will never get tired of those foods, either! We were having a family discussion on our top 5 dessert this week and brownies were on everybody’s list!

  20. ancameni

    I have made the On-the fence brownies since i ever laid first eyes on the recipes. Until then i never knew what brownies i liked, cakey or fudgey. Now I know it is on the fence. I do not make any other ones.
    I have made those brownies the other day and for some odd reason decided not add espresso powder. What a mistake. the esspresso powder add depth or whatever you call it. it intensifies flavor and i would not do it without.


    I agree about the espresso powder – it adds richness of flavor, without any coffee flavor. Thanks for chiming in! I keep trying to convince people about espresso powder… it feels like my goal in life sometimes! PJH

  21. Wanda

    When I clicked on the link & the page loaded & the first thing I saw was that brownie. WOW my heart skipped a beat. Brownies are my favorite. I have never tried espresso powder in my batter, but I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for the great blog.

  22. SimplePleasure

    wow! gotta try this recipe! I have always been wondering how to get that shinny top some how I never could figure it out. One time by accident I was able to baked a brownie with that shinny top but I never did figure out how
    *blush* Now I now so I’ll give it a test tonight

  23. Natalie

    I made these tonight for my family, and they have been declared “The best brownies in the world.” Friends offered to ‘independently varify’ my family’s claim, and I was met at the door with shreiks of joy – and unshered into the kitchen to watch grandma, mom, and teenager devour them with the last of the milk. The teenager then posted on her Facebook page “I just ate the best brownies ever. Ever. Everrrrrrr.”
    There is no ego boost quite like a complimentary teenager.
    And speaking of Facebook, may I recommend KAF create its own ‘official business’ Facebook page?

    Ah, Natalie, music to our ears…. the approval of a teenager, AND posting on Facebook – truly we’ve “succeeded”! I’ve been thinking we should sign the King up on Facebook – he could have all kinds of fun. We currently have a KA group – “Fan of King Arthur Flour” – but not a page for King Art himself… PJH

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  25. Denise

    Oh my!! These brownies look fantastic!! I agree, I think that brownies are my very favorite dessert. I could never get tired of them.

    I did have a couple of questions. Can you use the Double Dutch Dark Cocoa in all recipes that call for cocoa? I’ve seen some recipes that call for cocoa and others that specify Dutch processed cocoa. I’m sure there’s a difference in the depth of flavor but are they otherwise interchangable?

    On a completely different note, how do you get your brownies to cut so neatly? I’ve tried the bench knife, a plastic knife, serrated knives, and they brownies always clump up on the knife and I don’t get those nice clean lines. I don’t seem to be underbaking them.

    Thanks again for the wonderful recipes. I was going to make lava cakes this weekend but I may put that off and opt for these brownies instead! YUM!

    Denise, Dutch-process cocoa should be used in baked recipes that call for it – i.e., recipes with chemical leavening (baking powder, baking soda), as the pH content of Dutch and natural are different, and the leavening is geared for whatever cocoa is called for. Most older recipes assume natural cocoa. And if you see a recipe calling for baking soda, you can pretty much assume it uses natural cocoa. For other recipes without leavening (e.g., hot fudge sauce, candy), you can use Dutch process for a richer, “truer” chocolate flavor.

    As for cutting – dip the cutter in hot water between slices. That helps. With these brownies, I actually don’t have any problem with sticking. And yes, plstic does seem to work better than metal on sticky bars. Enjoy – PJH

  26. Chris

    I make a brownie from a recipe my aunt gave me called Wheat Ranch Brownies. It is very old but very similar. I can’t wait to make this one now. My problem is, now that I am watching my cholesterol would it be ok to use eggbeaters in this recipe? I would not dream of replacing the butter but I wonder about the eggs. One other question, can I make this in a smaller version as there is only hubby and me?

    Chris, try the eggbeaters; they’ll be slightly less moist and rich. And you can halve the recipe and make it in an 8″ square pan or 9″ round pan. – PJH

  27. Theresa

    I’ve made this recipe so many times and it has never failed me! The first time I didn’t get the nice shiny flaky top layer, but apparently I’ve corrected whatever mistake I made because now they always come out perfect. I now put in a little espesso powder in every chocolate recipe that I bake 🙂 It really does make the chocolate flavor so much richer and you DO NOT taste any coffee.

  28. Katie

    Try Cafix as a substitute for the espresso powder. A friend of mine swears by it. It is made from malted barley, barley, chicory, figs, and beet roots. It is available in many grocery stores, as well as

  29. Cynthia

    I made these last weekend and sent them to my son in NYC who has been haunting his mailbox since I told him they were on the way… but I used last year’s version… cut into hearts for Valentine’s Day… which leaves a lot of wonderful scraps for snacking, putting on ice cream, snacking some more, crumbling over pudding, snacking, rolling up into little balls of chocolate wonderfulness… did I say snacking?
    I also made a bunch of “Black Forest Brownies” for hubby and I to keep (and to take as a dessert to a friend’s house for dinner). Next time, I’m just putting the dried cherries in THIS recipe. It’s ‘way better!

  30. MrsM

    I’ve made the On-The-Fence Brownies, and they are wonderful. I don’t keep espresso powder here, I just substitute King Arthur’s Black Cocoa Powder.

  31. Louise

    I’m a big NUT lover…can I add a cup of walnuts to this recipe? If so, would that change the baking time? We are in the same league. I think a brownie isn’t right unless there are lots of nuts. 1 cup of nuts would work well. A cup of walnuts shouldn’t change the baking time. Mary @ KAF

  32. SallyBR

    Just made those yesterday to bring to work today – honestly, they are the best I’ve ever had, exactly the way I dreamed a brownie should be. I did not use espresso powder, by the way, so those wondering about skipping it, go ahead and give the recipe a try.

    Not too sweet, intense chocolate taste, I doubt they will last until the end of the afternoon

  33. MrMike

    Two questions:

    1. Is this the same recipe that is on the back of the bag of KA Flour? If so, yeah – they’re the bomb.

    2. If one didn’t happen to have espresso powder should one add a tiny bit of brewed espresso, a tiny bit of fine ground beans, or just skip it?


    Mr. Mike, I lose track of all the recipes on all the bags over the years, but it probably is the same – maybe minus the espresso powder on the bag. It’s a flavor enhancer – you can leave it out. I think it would actually be cool to ice these with chocolate ganache made with brewed espresso – wow, now THAT would be beyond decadent… PJH

  34. Candace

    PJ – In reference to an earlier post about shipping these brownies to Thailand, I’ve been meaning to ask this. I have a “school son,” a former exchange student from Indonesia. His most favorite bit of American cooking was chocolate chip cookies. I’d love to surprise him at college (in Indonesia) with a batch, but can’t figure out the details. Do you think some kind of crisper cookie base (maybe not – end up as crumbs?) and mini chips would withstand the trip better than a classic CCC recipe? Any ideas the KAF gurus (or Bloggers) have will be appreciated. Thanks! Have you thought about making the chocolate chip cookies into bars? They’d survive the trip better and are delicious. Just take the batter and spread it into a 9 x 13 pan and bake in a 375 oven for 20 minutes. Molly@KAF

  35. Karen

    I just made these very brownies last night, brought them to work this morning, and all that’s left on the plate is a few crumbs. They were snatched up, and then word spread (you know how it goes at the office). I cut out heart shapes with a cookie cutter – they turned out so cute! I did the same thing at Christmas and kept the scraps in a sealed container. They were still tasty weeks later … I had forgotten about them. PJ, you’re brilliant. This is, no doubt, my favorite brownie recipe.

  36. carmel

    I love this blog, thank you thank you!

    PJ, is there anything special about melting the butter+sugar together for other recipes as well? I’m thinking it could save me a step while making cookies. Any ideas?

    And I’m just going to throw this out there: I make spicy brownies and they’re fantastic. I add a bit of dried chiles (ancho chili) and cinnamon. It sounds weird, but for a little something different, they’re amazing.

    Carmel, I’ve made brownies with black pepper, and brownies with cayenne – WHOOO-EEE. Interesting. I thinnk if you melt butter and sugar together for cookies, the cookies will be flatter/spread more. But give it a try – PJH

  37. Maggie Poort

    These brownies are almost exactly my grandmother’s recipe from years ago; and they are delicious! I was intrigued by the second cooking of the butter and sugar, I will be sure to try it when I make them. I will try your recipe soon, it’s a bit different (she didn’t use any baking powder), but making brownies always reminds me of the best cook I ever knew, my grandma martin. thank you.

  38. Alison T

    What if you just double the vanilla in lieu of the espresso powder? I have the same issue with respect to religion/dietary. I don’t know if the Cafix stuff will actually act as a flavor enhancer from a food science perspective, but I would defer to the KAF folks on that… Looking forward to trying this out!

    You can certainly leave out the espresso, Alison – it’s a flavor enhancer. Add any other flavopr you like – mint, raspberry, extra vanilla… anything that marries will with chocolate. PJH

  39. Linda

    I love the fact that your pan looks as old as some of mine do, and that you made a divot in the middle, then let us see it. 🙂 The divot is a great tip, and your description and closeup of the proper crumbs is very helpful. The moistness factor is probably my biggest problem in baking.

  40. AndyC

    These look wonderful; can’t wait to try them. I agree about the nuts, but my hubby can’t chew them. What I’ve done in the past is to measure the correct amount of nuts, then grind them up and add them to the batter with the flour. If the recipe calls for oil, I reduce it about a teaspoon or so, because the ground nuts will release a little oil when baking. That way we get all the flavor and health benefits and no chunks.

  41. Fred

    I’ve been making this brownie since it first started appearing on your bags of flour, and as everyone above says, it is fantastic! I too don’t think I would like the expresso flavoring–I have memories of my mother making mocha frosting on deep chocolate cake when i was a kid and anything similar makes me sad. However, I’m mostly writing about the technique issue.

    I’ve tried mixing this recipe the way you suggest and then tried a few variations that would permit me to join the cocoa and the flour and the salt and baking soda and then add the whole thing (like a brownie mix) to the wet ingedients which i’ve previously blended. The tricky part is to not have the sugar so hot the eggs cook, but your 110 works beautifully, so i just mix all the wet ingredients and all the dry ingredients in separate bowls and stir them together til moist. There is no difference in texture or flavor, but it is easier to incorporate (i always had a tough time getting all the flour to disappear before the batter got stiff) and the brownies are gorgeous. The batter done this way is also cool enough so the chocolate chips retain their shape, and as someone suggested i put half the chips in the mix and half on the top–exquisite!

    Good ideas, Fred – thanks! PJH

  42. Victoria Mississippi

    These brownies are absolutely the best and your guarantee stands! My family went crazy over them. My husband did tell me not to bake them while he is dieting anymore — he couldn’t resist. The espresso powder wasn’t strong and added depth to the taste. Also used your Double Dutch Dark Chocolate — it made all the difference. Thanks for great recipes! Victoria

  43. Loader Lady

    Can’t wait to try these, but as I’m a person who can’t stand the taste or smell of coffee, I’m not putting expresso powder in mine. I don’t have any anyway. Is there anyone out there who can’t stand coffee who has made this recipe and can state categorically that they can’t taste the powder? You can just leave the espresso powder out if you are worried about tasting the coffee. I’m not sure you would notice it but I’m a coffee lover so I’m not the best judge. Molly@KAF

  44. ChocLover

    This looks like the same recipe on the back of the flour, except for the coffee. I LOVE that recipe and everyone asks for it. The double dutch chocolate does add a better flavor (I resorted to hershey’s for a while). Yummy!!

  45. iii_bake

    I have been hunting for the shiny top for years and have already given up.
    SO delighted to spot this recipe. But i falied.
    Mine came out dull n matt.
    I used Valrhona cocoa n the flour i had ( i run out of KAF).
    What could be the reason?
    SOS It sounds like the sugar wasn’t dissolved enough. The cocoa and the flour would not make would not make a difference for the shiny top. Molly@KAF

  46. Mariana

    Other chocolate-flavor enhancers (caffeine-free) Trisha might try are cinnamon, a tiny touch of cayenne or other ground hot pepper (ancho comes to mind), or a bit more vanilla. Raspberry and orange are lovely with chocolate too, but they are not so much flavor enhancers as companion flavors. I’ve seen de-caf espresso powder, if that would be acceptable.

  47. Kathleen

    Just as everyone else has said, these look totally mouth watering and delicious. I’ll have to order some of the double dutch cocoa, as I have found that KA’s superior products makes a superior baked product. As the saying goes “you get what you pay for.” I hate coffee even though both my parents were coffee addicts, so if you also do not like coffee you will NOT taste the expresso powder in your finished baked goods. Give it a try, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Thank you for the tip about heating the butter and suger. I’ll have to try that to.

  48. Morten

    These brownies are great! Just make sure to let them cool off before eating them, even though it’s hard…

    Living abroad, I have a hard time getting hold of flavoring. I was thinking of using vanilla sugar instead of vanilla extract, but what about espresso powder? If I use freshly brewed espresso instead of espresso powder, how much should I use, and should I e.g. add more flour to get the same consistency?

    Not sure about the brewed espresso, Morten – you could try substituting 1/4 cup espresso for 2 ounces of the butter. Or just plain leave it out, though it does add depth of flavor. Give the brewed espresso a try, and let us know. – PJH

  49. James Ortiz

    OK on the question from Denise asking if you can use Dutch-process cocoa in other recipies can you use natural cocoa in reciepes that call for Dutch cocoa? Is there a rule of thumb on how to adjust for the exchange for the levening? I bought one of those “Volume packs” from my local warehouse grocery store, I got lots natural cocoa left from the holidays!……it was a good deal.

    James, you might want to add some baking soda to any chemically leavened recipe calling for Dutch-process cocoa where you want to use natural. How much? Depends on how much cocoa. I’d say, maybe, 1/8 teaspoon to every 1/4 cup of cocoa called for? It’s a guess, but probably a reasonable one. Good luck – PJH

    1. "David Sifre"

      Out of curiosity, why not replace the baking powder with baking soda when using natural cocoa? I thought, for leavening you were supposed to use baking soda with natural cocoa and baking powder with the dutched cocoa. So why would you use both?

    2. PJ Hamel, post author

      David, I haven’t made these brownies with natural cocoa using the baking soda substitution, so I’m not sure exactly how much you’d use. I’d guess 1/4 teaspoon, since baking powder is about 25% baking soda… but I’m just not sure. I’m also not sure where you’re seeing to use both baking powder and baking soda? I guess I’m a bit confused – could you clarify? Thanks – PJH

  50. Kimberly D

    For religious reasons I can not use espresso powder, would it really hurt it if I didn’t use it? I have made brownies from scratch and never used it and it taste fine.

    Of course, Kimberly, leave it out. Espresso heightens the flavor of the chocolate, but doesn’t affect the brownies’ texture in any way. PJH

  51. Emaline

    Yummmmm! I just made them today, didn’t have any chocolate chips, so tried some white “chocolate” chips. And also added some walnuts. Actually, a lot of walnuts. I really liked it with the white chips, but am going to try chocolate chips next time I get to the store. Learning the trick of heating the butter and sugar was great – can’t believe that in all these years I’d never heard of it.

  52. Tory

    Okay, I’ll just have to make these in the morning with what I have on hand… So that means using salted butter. Usually when I get caught like that, I just cut back on the salt in the recipe. But what’s the official ‘Rule of Thumb’ on salted vs sweet butter in recipes (when you are adding salt to the sweet butter in the recipe anyway)???

    Thanks for the discussion on Dutch-process vs natural cocoa. I’m finally starting to understand the differences! The blog and website are truly great finds (as are all your products!)… Thanks!

    Thanks for your kind comments, Tory. I’ve always gone by this, and it seems to work: There’s 1/4 teaspoon of salt in every stick of salted butter. So cut back (or add) that amount to the recipe, depending on whether you’re using salted when it calls for unsalted, or unsalted when it calls for salted. PJH

  53. Tory

    Perfect timing on the butter question, PJ! I’m just heading to the kitchen take out the cocoa, etc. Now I won’t feel like I’m flying by the seat of my pants! Thanks so much.. and Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!

  54. Pat

    I just took the brownies out of the oven. The smell is great! I followed the recipe exactly as written. I used a cake tester to test for doneness and found what I thought was batter and left the brownies cook 5 minutes longer. I realized that the batter was melted chocolate chips. Live and learn. I hope this doesn’t change the texture as I like “on the fence brownies”. I know the taste will be great…as is every recipe I have tried from KA.

    Thanks for the wonderful recipes, ingredients, tool and of course the blog. I am again beginning to bake well after a hiatus.

    Thanks and many thanks,

  55. Lynn Crawford

    Wow, that is the best and most detailed instructions I have seen for high altitude baking. Can’t wait to make brownies. Thank you!

  56. Mike

    Just made these today. They’re definately a keeper. I did a couple of things different, though. First, I used mini-chocolate chips. Even though the butter/sugar was heated to 120°, the final mix wasn’t that warm and I didn’t wait 20 minutes before adding the chips. The chips were still chips after baking. The other thing I did was bake the brownies in muffin top tins. This way there was more crispy parts and it was like one big giant cookie. Mmmm, good brownie!

    Thanks for your variations and suggestions! It’s great that you made these changes and your success will inspire others! Irene at KAF

  57. Rona

    I just made these tonight and used the Espresso powder and I HATE coffee. I was hoping I would not like them and eat less, but they tasted great.

    Unfortunately, I tried them in mini muffin pans and they stuck like crazy — the chips were left on the bottom. I sprayed with a combo (oil-flour) spray which usually works and did not use paper. Any suggestions?

    Hmmmm. Mini muffin pans….great for some recipes but not this one due to the dense texture of the batter that’s probably why they stuck and chips were at the bottom. Stay with a larger pan and enjoy your newfound appreciation for coffee! Irene at KAF

    1. Rosanne

      I did these in my aluminum nordicware making no muffin tin and sprayed a very good layer of Trader Joe’s coconut oil nonstick cooking spray – it puddled a little actually – and they popped out when I inverted onto a rack right out of the oven. The second batch I let cool for a bit and I had to loosen a little with a knife first but there was still no real sticking. Skip the flour and just grease or oil you pan.

  58. Gina

    So…I made these brownies today, and I totally screwed them up, and they are still the best brownies I’ve ever made!

    First, the good news. I halved the recipe and baked them in a 9-inch square pan, which worked perfectly. I also added 1/2 cup (per the half batch) of chopped pecans. Yum!

    However, I guess I did not melt the butter and sugar enough, because I did not get the much-desired, super-shiny top. And then I didn’t hear my timer go off, and ended up over-baking them by SIX MINUTES! Yegads! The brownies around the outside were definitely overdone, but the inner ones were still perfect. And the FLAVOR! I used a mix of Ghiradelli and Scharffenberger cocoas, and with the espresso powder, the chocolate flavor is so deep and lusciously BITTERsweet! DELISH!

    So I’m giving myself a solid B grade for my first attempt. Next time, I will melt the sugar more and keep a close eye on the bake time, and I’m sure to produce an A+ batch! Thanks, King Arthur!

    Your dilemma is a common one with bakers. We tend to multi-task and not pay attention to the step at hand! This, I believe, is the case with the sugar/butter melting. First, sugar/butter needs to melt and be stirred and second, heated again to foam/bubble (just barely). We’re looking forward to your A results! Irene at KAF

  59. SimplePleasure

    Hi! PJ,

    I made this recipe twice now. First time last night and it came out bad, I think it had to do with the fact that I used Splenda. Tonight I made my second batch but I had a hard time in melting the sugar. Is there a special trick on how to do this? My brownies turn out okey but still did not have that shiny top. Help!

    Sorry this recipe hasn’t worked for you yet. For tips on baking with Splenda, check the blog under Searching For Sweetness for lots of tips about baking with this sugar substitute. About the melting sugar,we suspect different microwaves or wattages may affect the melting sugar… your product and try to match up your results to the pictures or descriptions on the blog. Remember there are 2 steps to the melting butter/sugar, first to melt and stir to combine, then heat again until it just bubbles. This takes some attention – can’t walk off to start the next step until this one is done! Irene at KAF

  60. SimplePleasure

    Is there a special technique on how to melt the sugar? I can’t seem to do it and my brownies turned out okey but NO SHINNY top.

    Be sure to follow the directions and blog pictures to a “t”. This means two parts to the sugar/butter in the microwave. The first part is melting the butter/sugar then stir it….the second part is heat again just until the mixture starts to foam or bubble. I hope this helps to get the shiny top you desire! Irene at KAF

    1. shan

      hi,how about if using double boiler in melting sugar/butter? iv tried it with double boiler but no shiny top came out.. maybe i did something wrong at this part

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Shan, you’re welcome to use a double boiler to melt the butter and sugar if you like. Just be sure to follow the same basic steps illustrated here and look for the visual cues that are given. After the sugar is added, heat until the mixture barely comes to a bubble. You don’t want it to boil, but it should start to foam slightly. The sugar should look mostly dissolved, which will help you achieve the shiny top. It’s almost important to add the two cups of chocolate chips if you’re looking for the shiny top. It seems to make a big difference in the final result. Kye@KAF

  61. Loader Lady

    I have a possible answer to the espresso tasting question. Last Tuesday a friend made some brownies, cream cheese frosting and Heath Bar chips on top for a get together. I got to take some home and the next day I couldn’t figure out why it tasted like coffee. Yes, I found out she did put espresso in the brownies. I think most people really can’t taste the espresso, but I’m one of the ones that can taste phenylthiocarbamide. Check it out on Wikipedia. I used to use this test in my 6th grade science classes. Two or three, including me, could taste it in each class. I never drink coffee or wine, though sometimes tea. Any wine tastes too bitter for me to like after 3 small sips. I’ll look forward to making and enjoying these brownies, without the espresso. For me the espresso pushes all the other flavors aside and stands right up and says, “Here I am, taste me.” For me, it’s not as bad as drinking or smelling coffee, but the flavor is there. My bet is that I’m in a VERY small minority here.

    Thank you for this insight about our sense of taste. Some among us are considered “super tasters” who can distinguish the slightest variations in ingredients. As with any recipe, we can adjust it to our personal taste – in your case leaving out the espresso powder with this or future recipes that may call for it now that you know it is a culprit in your enjoyment of food and beverage! Irene at KAF

  62. John, Mesa, Arizona

    I made these last night for Valentines Day dinner for my wife. They turned out just perfectly. I used the stove top instead of the microwave just to have a bit more control. Ghiradelli chocolate chips. After the dinner that I made her ( fillets, lobster tail with butter and garlic, roasted asparagus with hollidaise, baked sweet potatoes ) these brownies were a perfect simple desert. Without a doubt the best brownies that I have ever made. Well done, PJ!

    Thank you for letting others know you don’t have to use the microwave for the butter/sugar part of this recipe. Your variation in technique may help others who are having trouble with that step. Irene at KAF

    Hey John, when are you making dinner for the rest of us? Sounds like you and your lovely lady had a great day. ~MaryJane

  63. Marcia

    I make batches and batches of brownies every year for a local bicycle race. Can you help me scale this recipe up to work in a half-sheet pan?

    Marcia, double it, but be prepared for some possible overflow. I’ve done it in a half sheet pan (doubled), and it just… about… fits. Good luck – PJH

  64. Neil in Montreal

    For clean-cut edges I use a pizza wheel. If you’re cutting sticky items like Rice Krispie squares you can lightly grease the wheel with some non-stick spray; usually this isn’t even necessary as the stainless wheel glides through the baked good. People have asked me how I get such nice sharp edges. You can even use a long ruler as a guide to make sure the cuts are truly straight and square.

    I will be baking up a half batch of these later today–with the espresso powder. KA recipes have NEVER disappointed me!

    Thanks Neil, for the great tip. I use a pizza wheel for my marshmallows but have not tried it with the Rice Krispy treats. Enjoy the brownies. ~MaryJane

  65. Chris

    Have you ever used a Pizza tool called a Rock and Roll cutter… Great for pizza and other things like brownies and rice krispie treats… available on line….

    Yup, Chris, we’ve sold that off and on in the past. Works well – you need a big surface to “rock and roll” it (i.e., unless you have a small one, it hits the edges of the pan), but if you turn the bars out first it works fine. And definitely good for pizza. Just don’t use it on non-stick. PJH

  66. Julie

    I saw these gorgeous brownies when I opened my KA email. The recipe said they could be ready in 42 minutes, and I didn’t lose a second getting them started. They do seem to be “on the fence”, neither gooey nor cakey. I’m eager to see what the texture will be like when they cool, if there are any left.

  67. Al

    I’ve tried these brownies twice now, and both times they turned out as described. However, if someone wanted a bit more fudgey and a bit less cakey, which ingredient would you modify? On a side note, King Arthur Flour is my new favorite site. The way the recipes include pictures and seem to be written by real people, and not cookbook writers is very appealing to me.

    Al, best to simply use a cake-type brownie recipe, rather than try to amend this one. We have a good one in The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion cookbook; you could probably check it out at your local library. And thanks for the kind words – I write cookbooks, but I’m also a “real person.” (Luckily for my family!) PJH

  68. Maggie

    Hello again, this is to Al… he aske which ingredient could be modified to make them more fudgey, less cakey. I had posted earlier that these were almost exactly the brownies my grandma used to, and I still make. I would cut out the baking powder and chips and give it whirl.

  69. Carolyn

    Do you recommend using the new “all edges” brownie pan for this recipe? If so, will one recipe make one pan? I saw the pan in the KA catalog and want to order it.

    I recommend it if you prefer the crustier edges to the gooier centers… Many people love those brownie edges, and this is what that pan is for. I haven’t tried this recipe in it – hmmm, sounds like I’d better get at it! I’ll report back- PJH

    SUCCESS! Works great. I’ll add some photos above… PJH

  70. Erik

    I tried these brownies this weekend and they were awsome! I won’t give them 5 stars yet only because I don’t know which cocoa and which chips I’ll settle on as my favorites. But the recipe was what you said it would be – somewhere between cakey and fudgy with that beautiful glossy top. This is moving into position as my go to brownie recipe. Thanks! Now if only you could develop and ‘all centers’ pan for those of us who don’t like the edges 🙂

  71. Kelly

    Just made these this afternoon and can honestly say I now have an GREAT brownie recipe (I’ve been looking for one for a long time)! The shiny top is a really nice touch. If one wanted peppermint-flavored brownies, how much extract should one add? I tried adding some to a brownie recipe 6 months ago, and I must’ve added too much…it was horrible. Now that I have a new favorite recipe, I can’t wait to try it!

    Kelly, if you had peppermint oil, I think MAYBE 1/4 tsp. would be enough – but extract – start with 1/2 teaspoon and see. Taste the batter, and see what you think before baking. Next step – hmmm – peppermint patties melting on top??? PJH

  72. maureen

    I have bunches of bittersweet valrhona chocolate on hand but I really want to make these brownies. Does anyone know how to sub chocolate for cocoa? I’m thinking I could use some appropriate amt. perhaps 8 oz. and reduce the butter some.

    Maybe there exists a substitution formula for chocolate and cocoa+butter?

    I really like the espresso-ganache idea too. Thanks.

    Maureen, 3 tablespoons cocoa + 1 tablespoon fat = 1 oz. chocolate. So I’d use 7 ounces of chocolate, melted, and reduce the butter in the recipe by 7 tablespoons, and the sugar by a little bit – maybe 1/4 cup? This will make it harder to melt the butter and sugar together, but give it a try – let us know how things work out. PJH

  73. kate

    Quick ?…does the cocoa ever “expire”? I have some by Peet’s (the coffee folks out of San Francisco) and it’s probably 2 years old. Thanks in advance…this recipe sounds perfect as a gift for someone I know.

    Cocoa stays good for a long time. It MIGHT get rancid from its oil after awhile… but if you smell it and don’t get that whiff of “off” or rancidity, should be fine. Go for it! PJH

  74. Esther Shacham

    Hi KAF bakers. Here is some “food” for thought
    Double acting baking powder starts to work when mixed with wet ingredients, and works again when heated. I always add the baking powder, and salt with the flour.
    In KAF recipes the baking powder is added to the wet ingredients, why? What happens when you add it to a warm batter and let it sit for extra 20 minutes? Don’t you loose half of your lift??

    Very good observation, Esther. I wondered this myself, so I tried it. For whatever reason, it just doesn’t seem to matter, adding BP along with the wet ingredients, as in general you’re adding the flour directly afterwards. As for brownies and letting the warm batter sit, these brownies are just barely leavened; that’s why they’re so dense and fudgy. So if the BP loses some of its stuff during that 20 minutes, no prob. The one I really don’t understand is the bran muffin recipe with baking soda th t you keep the batter in the fridge for up to a week… and it still works. What’s up with that? The BS should lose its stuff immediately, yet it doesn’t. Any chemists out there? PJH

  75. Marie Daily

    I made these brownies day before yesterday, I normally would rather bake a cake from scratch then to do brownies. I have to say that of all the receipes I have tried, this is the best ever. I like them more cake like, and the flavor is fantastic. I used 3 different kinds of chocolate chips, milk and semisweet and put them on top. Next time I will blend them all into the batter. I loved them, they are truly the best ever, and did not last as all who ate them loved them too.

  76. maureen

    Hi PJ and all,
    I made these brownies with the chocolate substitution recipe changes you gave me.

    “Maureen, 3 tablespoons cocoa + 1 tablespoon fat = 1 oz. chocolate. So I’d use 7 ounces of chocolate, melted, and reduce the butter in the recipe by 7 tablespoons, and the sugar by a little bit – maybe 1/4 cup? This will make it harder to melt the butter and sugar together, but give it a try – let us know how things work out. PJH”

    It worked great. Nice and fudgy but a bit cakey too – just like it says.
    I ran out of vanilla, only had a tsp. or so- but I upped the espresso powder anyway because I was sure I would like it. Seemed to work out well.
    By habit I had already put the baking powder into the flour, so it was added then. I don’t remember any recipes that add it to the eggs, is there a reason for that?
    Other than that I followed the recipe exactly as per PJ’s adjustments. As she mentioned it seemed to be a bit difficult to dissolve the sugar in the reduced amount of butter, but I watched over it and may have overheated it a bit, but I got the much coveted shiny cracking top, so that worked great.
    I added the chopped up chocolate to the butter mixture while still quite warm (but not too hot) so that it melted easily. Then I added all that to the eggs, salt, espresso and vanilla.
    I tested for doneness at 29 mins. and it looked a bit wet in the center, so I let it go for almost 5 more minutes and brought it out to test again. At first probe I thought it was still wet, but then I remembered the melting chips as another poster described and dug around some more, and found nice looking moist crumb- Looks perfect now that it’s cool and cut.
    All my tasters love them: “Great chocolate flavor”, “Good looking brownies”, “the chocolate chips are my favorite part”.
    Thanks for all your help PJH.

    Maureen, thanks so much for reporting back. I’m so glad it worked for you, and you were able to use some of that chocolate for a “good cause”! As for the baking powder – I kinda add it whenever I think of it. Go ahead and add with the flour, if that’s what you’re used to; it’s fine. PJH

  77. Kathy Cline

    Is there a way to get cream cheese into the brownie?
    Would it be added (swirled) before baking, or would the brownie need to be partial baked first?

    Kathy – Yes, the addition of a cream cheese filling (cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, heavy cream, eggs) would be really good. You would spread 3/4’s of the brownie batter in the pan, then spread the cream cheese filling, followed by dollops of the remaining brownie batter. Then draw a knife through the first 2/3’s of the 2 fillings while making a swirl pattern. We have a recipe (Cheesecake Swirl Brownies) for the filling on page 161 of our book called, Cookie Companion. The recipe is called Cheesecake Swirl Brownies. Call our Baker’s Hotline at 1-802-649-3717 to speak with a baker. A copy can be sent to you. Elisabeth @ KAF

  78. susan

    Made the brownies. They tasted great but I did screw it up. I was cooking with my 4 yo and I put all the dry ingredients together (including the flour) and added them to the eggs. Needless to say it didn’t incorporate well. I persevered and they still came out good. Next time will be better if I follow the directions!

    Hey, at least they tasted good, eh? 😉 PJH

  79. Ariel

    So I made these brownies about a week ago. Though they were rich and delicious, I did not get the shiny, crackling, flaking top. And that is usually my favorite part of a brownie. I did change a few things though… I used eggbeaters instead of regular eggs, but I used the “with yolk” version. I was out of espresso powder, so I used a tablespoon or so of extra coffee from the morning, and cut back by a tablespoon on the eggs. I also mixed hersheys dark and regular dutch process cocoa powder to get a similar effect of the cocoa powder in the recipe. Otherwise, I think I did everything right. I let my mister take care of the melting butter and sugar, so though I described it and made him read the article, he might not have done that right. Could my changing the egg effect the flaking top or is it the fault of the butter/sugar not getting hot enough?

    Ariel, probably not heating the butter and sugar till it was VERY hot. Needs to go on the stove or in the microwave till just about bubbling… Give it another try doing it t his way, OK? PJH

  80. Ben

    Perfection on the second batch. The chocolate lovers in my neighborhood loved the first batch, but was just a little too much chocolate for me so I replaced 1/4 cup cocoa with flour and left out the chips (works fine). To my aunt Betty’s dismay this has replaced her recipe as my favorite. However I didn’t want to crush her completely so I still have her recipe taped to the inside of my cabinet door and still make hers every now and then. Thanks for the help.

  81. Esther Shacham

    Hi PJH.
    More about the secret works of baking powder and baking soda
    What about the New York Times recipe for Chocolate chip cookies Jul. 9 2008?
    It calls for keeping the cookie dough in the refrigerator at least 24 hours, preferably 36 hours before baking. Check it out. KAF has an almost similar recipe for chocolate chip cookies. It has baking soda and vinegar. Baking soda will react with the acidic vinegar as they are mixed together. You have to get cakes leavened this way into the oven immediately, yet the recipe says you can keep it in the refrigerator for 24-36 hours.
    May be the secret is the refrigeration? The NYT recipe has both baking powder and baking soda, but no acidic ingredient to interact with the baking soda.
    Where are all the chemists when you need them?

    Esther, Harold McGee and Shirley Corriher are standing by – both are excellent food scientists who’ve written books on baking chemistry for the home baker. I just haven’t accessed them yet. Did you read our post on the NY Times cookies? We did a comparison of our recipe and theirs. MY thought is cookies don’t rise that far anyway, so they’ve still got enough ooomph left to do so, even with the rest. And remember, not only vinegar is acidic – I don’t know for sure, but I think the NY Times recipe also includes brown sugar, which is actually quite an acidic ingredient. Some questions I dig right down to the moecular level, and I know there’s an answer for this one – I just haven’t got out the shovel – yet! PJH

  82. Esther Shacham

    Hi PJH.
    Thanks. Yes I read the article about the Chocolate Chip Cookies, and printed both recipes: NYT, and KAF. I plan to try both.
    My son has the McGee “Bible”. I will ask him to take a look.

  83. Taneasha

    I made this brownie recipe over the weekend, and it was fabulous! Beautiful shiny crust on top, soft and moist in the middle. I’m almost drooling now just thinking about them. I did make one little variation. I don’t keep espresso powder on hand, so I added about 2 tablespoons of coffee instead. My egg and cocoa mixture was way too think anyway, so it worked out well.

    Glad you enjoyed them, Taneasha… this is actually one of my favorite recipes. Thanks for sharing your success story! PJH

  84. iii_bake

    Here again, with still dull matt top.
    I have noticed that the sugar n butter i melted did not look like the pictures.
    i then have these questions:
    1. The first melting: The butter was heated until melt or clarified. I could not get the white foam top…
    The instruction says…heat butter until melts. Mine melt but no white foam???
    2. The second heating, again, when the mixture is about to bubble…mine did have the foam.
    3. From my first post, Molly thought my sugar did not dissolve enough…
    I also think so…my finished batter looks grainy.
    How do i get the sugar dissolved as much as possible??? From the first heating and then stir a lot…not just to combine?
    The mixture tends to boil before the sugar dissolves.
    4. Another question is…how hot is the butter when it is added to the cocoa & egg.
    5.If i rub the finished batter with my fingers, how grainy is the sugar in the mixture?
    I wish i could solve this shiny top issue. It has been killing me 🙂
    Thanks in advance for your advice.

    I’m just not sure what’s happening here… Maybe you should try melting the sugar and butter on the stovetop. Are you using real butter? Real sugar (e.g., cane sugar, not beet sugar)? The sugar won’t totally dissolve in the butter; it’ll form a big sludgy lump, but it should definitely be so hot you don’t dare stick your finger in it. I just give it a few stirs to try to mix it up a bit, then I add it to the cocoa etc. mixture within a minute or so of taking it off the heat. And in the prepared batter I can’t feel any graininess – it’s smooth. Well, I can’t remember if it’s absolutely perfectly smooth, but when I lick the spatula (yes, childhood habits die hard…), I don’t recall thinking, “Hmmm, this batter is grainy” – it has a smooth feel on the tongue. Also, are you using large eggs? That shouldn’t really make a difference in the crust, but it would make your batter thicker than it should be if you’re using smaller eggs. Again: hmmm… hard to diagnose these things from afar! BUT – don’t let it kill you, we’ll keep trying! (Are you at high altitude?) PJH

  85. iii_bake

    Thank you for your explanation, i am dying still ha ha.
    I use French Butter, President and normal sugar.
    I am afraid if i melt butter too long and it becomes too hot…the egg in the choc mixture will be cooked.
    Should i be watchful on that? or any level of heat will do??? 🙂
    I am not in the US, will our large egg weight the same? ( mine = 65g with shell)

    Do you think castor sugar, the one that is almost powder, will help?

    I am not at Hi altitude though.

    I have all the ingredients ready here. Only lack courage to whip up another batch. 🙂

    Thank you for your reply again. It did make me smile somehow.

    Well, our large eggs are about 50g without shell. Don’t think that would make too much difference, your extra egg. You might just try using 200g eggs, and see. I’ve considered whether too hot cooks the eggs, but haven’t found it to happen. Remember, the eggs are mixed with the cocoa, which protects them somewhat. The brownies still taste food, right? So don’t be afraid to make them again – beauty is only skin deep, remember… 🙂 PJH

  86. iii_bake

    Dear PJH,

    Pls bear with me…
    Definitely the brownies are delicious, the problem is we the whole family are on diet 🙁
    I made another batch this morning using two different kinds of castor sugar, one in fine grains ( finer than the previous ones i used), another one in powder form ( i used half of each.)
    The sugar butter mixture foamed and looked like yours this time…i was so happy.
    I divided the batter and baked in three rectangular pans.
    First : plain, without chips n nuts.
    Second: Plain, without chips n nuts but sprinkled sliced almonds n maccademia on top.
    Third…this is the batter from the bottom of the bowl…with chocolate chips stirred in while the batter was hot.

    Guess what?
    The first two pans came out dull n matt.
    Only the third one had a crack papaery thin top!!!!

    (I noticed that with my other brownies recipes…the last drop of the batter from the bowl was always baked out shiny.)

    Is this different tops the result of uneven mixing?
    I will sure try again but in case u have any advice, others can learn it together with me.

    Thanks for all your kind help, this is the first papery thin top brownie i made. ( box ones do not count.)


    In general, the stuff at the bottom of the bowl doesn’t have as much flour. Since you’ve said n the past your batter is very stiff, I’m wondering if it has something to do with how you measure your flour. Take a look at our flour measuring method. Is that the way you’re doing it? The flour in your recipe should weigh 4 1/4 oz. per cup, so a total of 6 1/4 ounces in the recipe. Yes? Hey, I admire your doggedness on this… though as I said, there are no brownie failures (or baking failures), because there’s always someone who’ll enjoy what you bake- PJH

  87. Hannah.

    Hi, do you have any specific instructions for those of us who would like to use the stovetop to melt the butter and sugar? We don’t have a microwave and I want to get it just right. Also, I couldn’t find any espresso powder at our local grocery store. Would grinding up some regular coffee beans in my grinder on the espresso setting be acceptable? Thanks! 🙂

    Hi Hannah – I’d say melt the butter, then add the sugar, then gradually bring the mixture to a simmer, so that there are bubbles all over the surface. Remove from the heat, stir, and add to the eggs/cocoa. As for grinding coffee – I don’t think you can get it fine enough in a home coffee grinder, even on the espresso setting. It needs to be fine as talcum powder. What you can do is grind as fine as possible, then see if you can dissolve it in a tablespoon of hot water, with no grittiness remaining. If so, just add that hot water/coffee right to your batter. Good luck – PJH

  88. Carli

    I have hated homemade brownies (read: dry and bland) my whole life… until I tried this recipe. Thank you!! They bake up just as promised and taste wonderful. The only change we make is leaving out the baking powder as we prefer a more fudgy brownie, but that’s just preference! FABULOUS!

    I’m living abroad now and tried to make do with local flour. Couldn’t! I have my KAF shipped over. Thanks for a great product and a company I can get behind.

    And thanks for your loyalty to KA Flour and your kind words, Carli. Glad the brownies were a hit – PJH

  89. Hannah

    Hey…just wanted to let you know that the brownies turned out to be excellent. I think they are even better the day after! Thanks for the tips on the coffee and the butter melting. Your blog is very inspiring! 🙂

    Thanks, Hannah – glad the brownies were a hit… PJH

  90. SimplePleasure

    Hi! PJ,

    I just want to share my latest result for this brownie, please drop by my blog and check it out:

    I still can’t get that shiny crackly top but so far so good I’m getting there hopefully my next batch would be perfect.

    What are you talking about? That brownie is GORGEOUS. Beautiful shiny top. And love your blog – you must have to scramble to try to match ingredients with our recipes, being in the Philippines? PJH

  91. Brownie Power

    Your brownie recipe looks great. I will have to order some of your Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa and give it a test run.

    Hope you like them – your screen name tells me you’re an aficionado… PJH

  92. goodlaurag

    Would adding instant coffee powder have the same effect as the espresso?

    Can coffee/espresso powder be added to any chocolate recipe –double chocolate cookies, cakes, etc? (I have many that don’t call for it, but I was wondering if it might enhance the taste) If so, what would the approximate formula be for adding it?

    I’m thinking of buying your double dutch process cocoa to try this recipe and others. I did a recipe search of your site for ‘dutch process’ and came up with only 7 recipes. Do you have an cookie or coffeecake recipes that use the dutch process cocoa?

    Thanks for all of your great advice.

    Hi – You can try instant coffee powder. Not sure how much, as they’re all very different grinds (some are very light and fluffy, some dense and powdery…) Espresso powder is very finely ground, and dissolves easily. If you use instant coffee powder that’s not finely ground, you might need to dissolve it in a very little bit of hot water first. I can’t really tell you an exact formula, since I have no idea what you’re using – but try using the amount of espresso powder called for in the recipe, see if you like it.

    As for Dutch-process cocoa – search on “cocoa,” you’ll get 29 recipes using cocoa. You can use Dutch-process cocoa for all recipes calling for cocoa, unless they specify “natural cocoa” – which is a more acidic cocoa, and one that the recipe will have balanced the leavening for. I highly recommend the Double-Dutch – it’s the only cocoa I use, actually. Enjoy – PJH

  93. KariQ

    I have never written to give reviews of anything, but I couldn’t resist this time. I printed this recipe a few months ago when it appeared on the cover of the KAF catalog. It’s been laying around in a pile of other recipes I have wanted to try and finally I made these brownies for our Easter gathering and they were not only delicious, they actually looked like the photo! They are gorgeous. You really have to be a chocolate lover to eat these though, and I am for sure. I also added half the chocolate chips while warm and stirred then added the rest and pressed into the top once a bit cooled before putting them into the oven. I have been looking for a big fat brownie like this one for a long time. Now I want a big hunken chocolate chip cookie recipe.

    Success! So glad you found the recipe for the brownie of your dreams! Happy Baking! Irene at KAF

  94. Roni

    There is only 3 stores in my town, one of which started carrying KAFlour about 1 1/2 yrs ago. I knew from many internet cooking sites that it is a top notch flour. I was ecstastic to be able to buy it locally and avoid shipping charges. I scoffed at the name on the bag of flour because so many cooks think their’s is the BEST, and title it so. Well, I tried the “Best Brownies” on the flour bag, and have since at least 3 times cut it out, to make sure I never loose a copy. And I have it hand written in my Experimental Cooking tablet, for extra safe keeping. Hand’s down without a doubt the BEST Brownie’s. AND I only used the recipe on the flour bag with adding a about a 1/3 tsp of cinnamon and no other changes in ingredients. Right now as I think back I probably added the dry ingredients together used a hand whip to whisk well together. If the recipe says to add the soda to the cocoa/eggs I probably thought that was weird. My sugar/butter mixture I let cool a bit knowing if it was too hot it could curdle/cook the eggs. And I did that on the stove as that is in closer proximity to my Kitchenaid than is my micro on the other side of the kitchen. (poorly designed kitchen). If it said to let it set for 20 min to rest….I am sure I didn’t do that either…My batch of brownies did rise up higher on the sides than in the center, I didn’t see it as a problem or drawback the brownies were fantastic. Super delicious, topped with a Good Vanilla Ice Cream and my homemade Hot Fudge Topping. Decadent, rich, and over the top. Next time I will bake them in my Pyrex as glass does give me a more even baking and better rise. (My breads come out higher than in my metal pans…all baked at the same time)
    I did use Dutch Cocoa Powder, as I bought about 3 lbs bulk in an Amish Store when visiting family in Pa a few years ago. It was so cheap. Cinnamon Powder too.
    As far as Expresso Powder, I will either buy that from KAF or subsititue Instant Coffee granules, dissolved in boiling water. I normally do that anyway for the added flavor. I actually make it like a paste, then use it in the wet ingredients to incorporate it. 2 heaping tsps to a few dribbles of H20 works in most recipes without and other changes to the ingredients. I would mix the paste in with the milk or water and sometimes if only eggs are the liquidy part then mix with the eggs. We are coffee drinkers and love the added flavor in many recipes, mostly with chocolate. Thank you KAF for having a Reviewers Section, it helps many cooks learn new techniques from other cooks. Many times it helps to teach the youngin’s how to’s in the kitchen.
    Well, my keeping 4 copies of the recipe must tell you what I and my Family thinks.
    One more tip: If you use parchment paper on the roll, then cut it longer to cover both sides and the bottom in one piece leaving enough dangling out of the pan to be able to lift out the brownies onto a cutting board. Foil works too. Let brownies cool the rest of the way before cutting, and yes dip that knife in hot water, and clean it between cuts. Spray with oil works on the first couple of cuts, then clogs up anyway. Hot water and clean knife on each cut makes a big difference, and nice clean cuts.

  95. Meg

    Made them. Love them. I’ve left out the espresso just because I didn’t have it, and they come out fine. Consistently great recipe.

  96. SarahB

    Absolutely delicious! I’m not a coffee person and didn’t have any expresso powder on hand, so I just left it out. Wonderful rich brownies!

  97. Grace

    Was just going to comment on iii_’s problems with this recipe. It is apparent that she doesn’t live in the U.S., and therefore is probably not using KA flour. Since I have lived in both Europe and Asia, I know that the flours there are not at all the same as here in the US. And definitely not KAF equivilent. I believe that is why she is not seeing a perfect result. Too bad she can’t get someone to ship her some KAF.

  98. Kurt

    I have baked these brownies many many times and have never been disappointed with the results.

    One thing you can try with these is cover the top of your batter with whole pine nuts before putting into the oven. By the time they are done the pine nuts will have a light golden brown color to them. I also sift powdered sugar on top after the brownies have cooled. ( a perfect look for the holidays ) I realize you sacrifice the gorgeous shiny top. But believe me I have to bake a a double batch for every potluck at work – they cause a near riot every time 🙂

    People at work think I am a God because of these brownies. I have actually heard people proclaim out loud that they are the best brownies they have ever had.

    WHOA – these sound seriously decadent, Kurt. I’m not surprised people are shouting out for them! Thanks for sharing – PJH

  99. Debra

    OMG – these are the best brownies on the planet. I followed the recipe exactly except I did add an additional 1 tsp of the black cocoa powder. DELICIOUS!!!! I have made these 3 times now and they come out perfect everytime right down the shiney top. THANK YOU

  100. Jennifer

    Hi! I have made these brownies a few times, and they are wonderful, but aside from the first time I made them, I have not had alot of success getting the shiny, crackly top, and I think I have figured out why. The recipe for these says to melt the butter and *then* add the sugar, but in the blog you melt the butter and the sugar together, stir and then heat it again. I wonder if that longer time that the sugar is in the microwave/on the stove is making the difference and melting more of the sugar? When I just melt the butter and then stir in the sugar and reheat, it never makes that shiny, crackly top, even when I heat it to practically boiling! I have never used the microwave to make this recipe, I wonder if that is also part of the problem?

    Great observations! Who knew we would be scientists as well as bakers? Melting the sugar and butter together allows some of the sugar to migrate to the top of the batter during baking, forming that signature shiny/crackly crust you seek. Whatever method you use to heat, be sure to melt the butter and sugar together. Happy Baking! Irene at KAF

  101. ali

    Thank you for the delightful recipe and detailed step-by-step instructions.
    I really enjoyed the process of making these brownies, and the resulting chocolate chip effect in particular…
    I always find it hard to tell (or guess) when a cake is perfectly baked, and using a thermometer to monitor the butter-sugar mixture temperature, i was wondering whether it could be used to determine brownie doneness as well.

    Good idea, Ali – give it a try and let us know the PERFECT brownie temperature! (I’ll try to remember to do it next time I bake brownies, too.) PJH

  102. Lydia

    Have not made these brownies as yet. I also don’t use regular coffee for religious reasons but can use decaf instead. I plan to use the powdered decaf when I make them. How can I go wrong?

    Answer: You can’t go wrong with these! Enjoy, Lydia – PJH

  103. Cookie

    It seems like melting two cups of chocolate into a batter would make a big difference in how the recipe turned out where adding two cups of chocolate chips wouldn’t. Is the recipe improved by some quantity of melted chocolate? They seem like separate steps. Melt chocolate into batter. Add chocolate chips. Oh well, guess i should try it your way.

    Let us do the testing for you….then once you try the recipe our way, let us know how it meets your expectations! Irene @ KAF

  104. jo

    Hi – This looks like the kind of brownie I’ve been looking for! I have a question though, the instructions on the blog say to use 2 cups of sugar to be melted with the butter but the recipe says that there are 2 1/4 cups of sugar. Does the extra 1/4 cp get added in later or are we supposed to just use 2 cups ?

    It’s a slight variation of the recipe – we’ve gone back and forth between the two amounts, Jo. I always use 2 cups (and I’ll take a look at that recipe and see where I was with the 2 1/4 cups). Thanks for pointing it out. PJH

  105. Jim

    I have seen a number of folks ask about high altitude, but what about those us us living at sea-level? My elevation is 42 ft. Will that affect the techniques or ingredients described here? Thanks in advance!

    Jim, sea level is just fine (aside from the melting polar ice cap…) No adjustments necessary. PJH

  106. Minhee

    This is exactly “The Brownies” what I’ve looking!
    But unfortunately,at the moment I live in Seoul, S.Korea and can’t get Espresso powder any of here..ioi You said that Espresso powder is the secret in this let me know it’s ok if I transfer normal instant coffee powder or real espresso liquid instead of espresso powder.
    Or.. Do you ship your product to oversea country ?? if so, I really want to buy your Espresso Powder..You could use instant coffee powder in place of the espresso for a similar effect. It won’t be quite the same, but should work fine. We also ship to indiviuals internationally. Mary @ KAF

  107. tc

    I would love love love love to try this recipe as well as many others, however I don’t use eggs, egg beaters, egg whites nor anything that has any part(s) of an egg so can please kindly give a substitute for the eggs? Thank you so much!!

    Sorry, there’s no egg substitute that will yield the same taste-texture result as the real thing. However, please take a look at this article on egg substitutes – it’ll give you a start on trying various replacements, and seeing which you like best. Good luck – PJH

  108. kristina

    I can’t find dutch process cocoa locally. Can I use regular cocoa powder instead?

    Try the European-style cocoa that’s made by Hershey (I think) – it’s in supermarkets. If you don’t see that, you can use natural cocoa; the brownies just won’t be as tasty. Hope you can find the European-style – PJH

  109. kathi

    This is another fabulous recipe you folks have perfected. They are known as ‘killer brownies’ around this outfit.

    I printed the recipe and followed the blog, which other than the butter/sugar technique appear to be identical. The blog said there are variations to recipe and techniqe. I was going to try them both ways and see if they cared which I made. After reading the entire blog and comments, I see that it has been around awhile. Have the two morphed into the same recipe by now?

    Which begs another question. How long do you folks leave a recipe and/or blog up? I would hate to loose one that is older and would gladly back them up somewhere if needed. Thanks as always.

    Blogs stay up forever, Kathi. Recipes stay up until (unless) they’re replaced by an updated version of the same recipe. The brownie blog is based on the Guaranteed Brownie recipe; I’m not sure what recipe you’re looking at in comparison? PJH

  110. Buddy Zeagler

    I look forward to ordering the ingredients from KAF, and trying this recipe with a related mission in mind: the perfect chocolate, chewy, shiny-top, brownie-style cookie.

    Situated about 60 miles south of Houston, TX along US Hwy 59 is a smokehouse that offers among other food items, a chocolate cookie, that the owner has named “The Chocolate Chewy.” It is without a doubt the finest cookie, of any variety, you will ever eat in your lifetime. They sell them by the “bazillions.” It is like a chewy, glossy skinned brownie in cookie form, whose glaze is not brittle, and does not crack into pieces when you bite into it.

    My mission is to try to develope a recipe that matches “The Chocolate Chewy.” I have tried so many recipes, I have lost count, and resigned myself to defeat until I received my March/April issue of Cook’s Illustrated which has an article on craking the code for making chewy brownies. With that “scientific” article, together with KAF’s top rated recipe, I have resumed my quest to the end that I may mark it off my Bucket List.

    Any advice is much welcomed. And many thanks to KAF….I fell in love with baking when I stepped into your shop in Norwich almost 30 years ago.

    Buddy, try our Fudge Drops recipe – I think it’s just what you’re looking for. Flourless Fudge Cookies might be a possibility, too – they’re chewier than the Fudge Drops. I would SO like to help you knock this off your bucket list – esp. since you actually visited our store oh-so-many years ago! Have fun – PJH

  111. Ange

    My oven has the convection function and I find baking in convection results in much more even and consistent finish. When I used the convection setting, I usually decrease the temp by 25 degree and bake the same amount of time. Would you recommend baking the brownies in the convection or convention setting?

    I also don’t have metal baking pans, only Pyrex. Do I need to adjust baking time as well?

    Thanks in advance!

    Ange, I’ve never used a convection oven – but since you seem used to it, go for it. And if you adjust for your Pyrex pan with other recipes, adjust with this one, too. Usually they tell you to bake at a 25° lower temperature, I think…? PJH

  112. alpenrose

    1/2 sheet pan? My sheet pans have a very short side. How high do these brownies rise up, won’t a regular sheet pan be too short in the sides?

    Sorry, I’m not finding a reference to a half-sheet pan in this blog. These brownies should bake in a 9″ x 13″ pan with 2″ sides, OK? PJH

  113. Andrea

    These brownies are just what I’ve been searching for! They are exactly as you claim–perfectly fudgy, but not too gooey. I’ve made them twice now, and there was complete silence with an occasional ‘mmmmm’ in the kitchen. This is a rare occasion in a house full of little ones. Thanks a million for sharing! I now have a ‘go-to’ brownie recipe!

    That’s our goal, Andrea – to supply you with “go-to” favorites, so you never have to wonder which version of brownies, or chocolate chip cookies, or sandwich bread to make (unless you’re looking for variety). Glad you like these – I sure do! They’re my go-to, also… 🙂 PJH

  114. Hope

    hi there
    the brownies look so delicious
    but I can seem 2 find the measurments for the powder coco, nor for espresso powder, salt, or vanilla!!

    At the end of the blog is the link for this recipe, Guaranteed Fudge Brownies. You’ll find the amounts you need there. Irene @ KAf

  115. Ellen

    I don’t have a microwave (and won’t be getting one); what butter melting advice do you have for someone doing that on the stovetop?

    Thank you!


    Just like the microwave, Ellen – melt the butter with the sugar, then heat till the mixture barely starts to bubble. You just want that sugar to start to dissolve. PJH

  116. Simonne

    Hi when u use microwave to heat the sugar + butter, do u use “high heat”
    I try to cook it in saucepan, not sure if i get it right.

    I don’t know how to set the different heats on our microwave, so just use whatever it’s set on. You need to melt the butter and sugar till it’s very hot – the sugar should be at least starting to melt, and shouldn’t be sitting in a big lump in the bottom of the bowl or pan. If your brownies get a shiny crust – you’re doing it right. Hope this helps – PJH

  117. Terri

    I’ve been looking for the perfect brownie recipe and I’m excited to try this one over the weekend. One question – I have cocoa powder instead of Dutch-process cocoa. I saw the post that said they weren’t the same. Could I just add some baking soda to the recipe (how much)?
    You can use regular cocoa instead of dutch processed cocoa without altering the recipe but the flavor won’t be as richly chocolatey. Molly @ KAF

  118. Kathleen

    What a fantastic recipe! I’ve recently started baking from scratch and am so glad I found this brownie recipe.
    However, there was one glitch with the baking… The recipe says to bake for approx. 30 minutes until you see just moist crumbs, but not unbaked batter in the center. After 30 minutes, my brownies were almost completely uncooked! In fact, it took almost a full hour until they looked like the pictures on here! By that point, the center was beautifully moist, but the edges were too hard and crunchy for my taste. Instead of coming out of the pan in solid, lovely squares – they came out in pieces and chunks. Very yummy chunks, but still… I’d love to get that perfect brownie square.
    I used a 9×13 light-colored metal pan, lined with (greased) parchment. Could the type of pan be the cause of this? I’d love to make these again and will probably try a glass dish next time.
    Even despite this, these are hands-down the best brownies I’ve ever had! Thank you!

    Kathleen do you have an oven thermometer, one that you stick inside the oven to read the temperature? It sounds to me like your oven is way under-temperature… ovens older than 2 years old can sometimes become uncalibrated. The pan sounds fine, so I’d guess your oven was probably baking at about 275°F, from your description. Glad you enjoyed them anyway – PJH

  119. Kathleen

    Thank you so much for the feedback. I do have an oven thermometer and happened to use my oven tonight. It was actually running about 50 degrees hot, instead of 75 cold. It’s a gas oven, about 6 years old, and I’m not too used to it since I’ve used electric most of my life. Could the oven thermometer have gone bad and isn’t reading the temp right?
    I plan on baking another batch this coming weekend and will let you know how it turns out. 🙂

  120. Kathryn Price

    My fiance asked for brownies. So I came to KAF. We both agreed these have a deep chocolate flavor, and are wonderful. A small portion goes a long way. One thing I forgot to factor in–I used a glass baking pan. They still came out fine. Traditionally, though, I think you’re supposed to lower the temperature by 25 degrees when using a glass pan. I did use the parchment paper, with good results. One thing to note, when I did the toothpick test, I scraped across a melty chocolate chip that initially confused my test–I thought I had some uncooked batter in the middle. A little more poking confirmed that the brownies were done; I just happened to strike a pocket of oozy chocolate chip.
    We’ve all struck chocolate pockets when testing brownies Kathryn, that’s why double testing isn’t a bad idea. Glad you like the brownies. 🙂 ~ MaryJane

  121. Maureen

    I tried these brownies for a school function – they were soooo good! The only thing is that the tops of my brownies weren’t so glossy, because I had streaks of melty chips….next time, I’ll let my batter cool a bit more before I stir the chips in. I can’t wait to make them again!

  122. Ashley

    I’ve made these brownies SO many times and 70% of them have a dull crust 🙁 In fact, other then the most recent time, the only time they had a lovely, shiney crust was when I made the gluten-free. I made them yesterday and I finally got the desired result :DDDD I just had to be more careful to let the sugar “dissolve”, I never had “bubbles” but it had a shiny, flaky crust so something had to be right! The one problem I had was that the eggs and cocoa mixture was so thick that I couldn’t even scoop it off the sides of my standmixture with a silicon spatula, luckily, the melted butter and sugar helped. (I also ended up adding an extra egg yolk, but what’s wrong with that! ;)) THANK YOU so much for the recipe! I LOVE it!

    Oh and 1 tip, to make them gluten free, you can substitute equal amounts of Pamela’s gf baking mix for the all purpose flour. They taste ALMOST the same~

  123. Bunny

    I’m not a coffee/espresso drinker but do have a small jar of Folger’s instant here for visitors. Could I use a TBS or so of strong coffee instead of the espresso powder, or would it be better to leave coffee out altogether if I don’t have espresso on hand? Thank you! 🙂

    A significant difference between Espresso Powder and instant coffee is the grain size. Espresso powder is desgned to work as a dry ingredient. It disperses fully. Instant coffee is designed to be rehydrated. It has a much larger grain size. This means that it will not disperse as readily when used as a dry ingredient. If you only have Folgers, I’d skip it this time. Frank @ KAF.

  124. Bunny

    Thank you, Frank. Sorry that I wasn’t clear — I actually meant from a cup of strong instant coffee, not the actual granules only.

    I didn’t have a car this afternoon to get espresso, so I just left it out. I would like to try the espresso powder next time, though I can’t imagine brownies even better than these — they’re fantastic! Thanks again!

    You can add strong coffee, Bunny – won’t be quite the same, as you’ll be introducing liquid, and it won’t be as strong as the espresso. But sure, go for it – glad you liked the brownies! P.S. You might want to spring for the espresso powder sometime – it’s got an indefinite shelf life, and I use it in all my chocolate recipes to just give them that little something extra… PJH

  125. Marisa

    I’ve made this recipe before, and the brownies are awesome. Do you know the true shelf life of these brownies if let at room temp? Of course, they were gobbled up before I could do proper testing! Also, do they freeze well?


    Yes, Marisa, they’re so moist that they do freeze quite well. They’ll gradually dry out in the freezer, though, so try not to freeze for weeks at a time. As for shelf life at room temperature – again, they’ll gradually dry out, with the edges getting hard first. But I’d reckon they’d be good for 3 to 4 days, at least? PJH

  126. Patty Velasco- Mexico

    I made them last Saturday but sugar never melted with the butter nor in the micro nor on the stovetop! I threw away the first try and the second that I made on the stovetop I mixed with the mixture of cocoa and eggs, put the flour and chips for melting them baked it for 30 minutes and …they were AWESOME! my family loved them and they tasted even better next day, reheated in the micro for 10 seconds and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on them! But what could had happened with sugar and butter I used 2 sticks of butter and the 2 1/4 cups of sugar as the recipe said? I keep them at room temp. just cover with a sheet of foil, and they keep fresh Thanks for a great recipe!!
    I’m not sure why the butter and sugar would not have melted down. It should be done over low heat, perhaps it was too hot? ~ MaryJane

  127. Patty Velasco- Mexico

    P.S. to my previous comment: The sugar and butter turned into a big lump! both times, in the micro and in the pan on the stovetop!

    Can’t imagine what’s up with this, Patty. You’re using regular granulated cake sugar, and regular (not light) butter? Melt the butter first, stir in the sugar, heat gently till very warm and just perhaps starting to bubble? PJH

  128. Will

    I have made so many attempts at the perfect brownies. One that looks like the ones you see on the box at the grocery store,but to no avail. That is until I found this unbelievable recipe. Shiny top with a lil crunch,moist decadent center,perfection. Thank you.

    LOVE this recipe. Glad it worked well for you too, Will – PJH

  129. Grace

    Hi.. this is my first time at King Arthur and am really glad that I found the website.. have been trying to make brownies with glossy top for ages with no success. Will try to make them ASAP. Only question is I use both cocoa powder and chocolate bar when making my brownies. Will it be ok if I melt the chocolate with butter then add sugar once the butter has melted. Is there any other suggestion?? Thank you so much.

    Welcome, Grace- Yes, go ahead and melt the chocolate with the butter, then add the sugar, then reheat till very hot, as the recipe directs – that should work fine. Good luck with those shiny tops! PJH

  130. Grace

    Hi, its Grace again. Just a few more questions, will it make a diff if we mix all the ingredients by hand instead of mixer? Currently am in Asia, will it make a diff if we use a diff flour? Where can we get them in Singapore and if I cant get them, what kind of flour should I be using? (Self raising, cake flour or???). THanks a bunch, really hope to get a reply.

    Hi Grace – You can mix by hand, sure. Try to use a “plain” flour if you use local flour, rather than ordering from us here in the States. Not self-rising, not cake (though cake would be choice #2). Since there’s really such a small percentage of flour in brownies, compared to other baked goods, it doesn’t make as much difference as it would in, say, bread. Your brownies won’t come out exactly as pictured if you don’t use King Arthur Flour; but you may be able to get a pretty good approximation. Best of luck to you – PJH

  131. Grace

    Hi, its me again. Thanks a lot for the answer, finally made a brownie with shiny top after 2 attempts, yeahhh. The first attempt was actually better since the brownies was more moist but no shiny top since the butter sugar mixture boiled. For the 2nd one, I managed to get the shiny top but the brownies was drier. Is there a tip to get the perfect brownies? Shiny top and moist center. A few questions:
    1. I used a mixer to mix all the ingredients for the 2 batch. From my prev experience, it always produce drier and cakey brownies. Is it better to mix by hand? Any tip on using the mixer to ensure better result. A note though, when using the same ingredients, the batter mixed by mixer resulted in more brownies.
    2. Also, it takes a long time for foam to appear on the sugar butter mixture on stove top. Any way to speed up the process? Is it ok to use margarine and fine powder sugar instead of granulated?
    Thanks a lot.

    Grace, I’m sorry… it’s going to be a real challenge to advise you on how to get the results this recipe promises when you’re unable to use the ingredients called for. What flour did you end up using? But let me try:
    1) I’ve never noticed any difference mixing brownies by hand or by mixer. But perhaps you’re beating the batter too hard when you use a mixer. There’s no need to beat; the batter might be getting foamier, and producing “more” and cakier brownies? Though in a 9″ x 13″ pan, the recipe should produce a pan of 9″ x 13″ brownies, no more, no less. Anyway, try using your mixer on low speed, and mixing just till everything is combined.
    2) Try raising the burner heat to get the mixture to heat more quickly. But watch out – stir frequently to prevent scorching. Margarine in place of butter will make drier brownies. Powdered sugar in place of granulated will give you cakier brownies. Probably not results you’re looking for…
    Sorry I can’t be more help here – PJH

  132. Grace

    Hiii, I am back. Thank you so much for your reply, it does help. I end up using an all purpose flour and mix the baking powder with the flour, and the brownies come up better. Thanks again, really glad to find KAF although I cant get the flour here 🙂

    Oh, Grace- thanks so much for letting me know, I was wondering how those brownies did with the ingredients you were able to use. Practice makes perfect, I guess! 🙂 PJH

  133. Amber

    Just wondering, should the sugar be powdered or granulated?
    The sugar would be white granulated. We really do try hard to specify if we mean confectioners’ sugar. Sorry for any confusion. ~ MJ

  134. Grace

    Hiii, I am back again. Have been receiving great reviews about the taste of my brownies and the shiny top :). However, people has been commenting that it is too dense, that they cannot eat a lot of it. Also, the next day when I try to microwave it, it actually turns even softer (not gooey). Do you have any suggestions to make the brownies less dense and wet without making them dry? People are suggesting that I use either less or more flour? It gets me confused.

    Use a bit more flour, and bake a tiny bit longer, Grace. That should help. PJH

  135. debzy

    I made these last year for Christmas and I put a ganache on top and then sprinkled that with Christmas sprinkles. Then I cut them in little circles like I saw on this site and the first thing people ask me this year is “are you going to make those brownies like you did last year?” The answer is definitely yes. A little more effort on my part but obviously worth it! 🙂

  136. Cheryl

    I made them yesterday and it turns out great. However, the brownies are a bit heavy as in a little goes a long way. Also, my shiny top is much darker than the one shown on the picture. Please help how to get the lighter shiny top and to make the brownies ‘less heavy’ so my niece can eat more :). THanks

    Cheryl, the shiny top comes from melted sugar migrating to the surface; make sure you heat the butter and sugar till they’re almost boiling. For “less heavy” brownies, I’d suggest leaving out the chocolate chips (if you added them); or using a different recipe – these are designed to be VERY rich. Perhaps your niece would like a moist chocolate cake instead? Try King Arthur’s Favorite Fudge Cake – could be just perfect for her… PJH

  137. kathy

    I made these but the egg, cocoa mixture was very thick…actually a ball of dough and very dry. Were my eggs too small? I used large and the right kind of cocoa. They are baking and smell heavenly but the process didn’t quite look right.

    4 large eggs is right; maybe you used a bit too much cocoa? 1 cup of cocoa should weight 3 ounces, if you have a scale and want to check… Hope they come out well despite what they looked like going in! PJH

  138. Victoria

    I live overseas where my oven won’t accommodate any pan larger than an 8×8. Would I need to half the recipe, or just bake it in two batches? I’m not sure how to convert a 9×13 recipe into a 8×8. Ideally I’d rather make the full recipe and bake two batches but don’t know if it can be done.

    You could bake this in 2 batches. The baking time may be a bit quicker. To scale down this type of recipe, I find it easiest to use the surface area of the pans. And 8X8 is 46% smaller. That is how much you would need to reduce the recipe by for a “perfect” fit. Round it to 50%, so diving the batter in half is just fine. Give it a try. Frank @ KAF.

  139. chinchillalover

    Would this work well with a smaller amount of chocolate chips,i am on the last of my 4 pound bag.

    Yes, chocolate chips are completely optional. PJH

  140. jensenb

    Can I half all the ingredients to make a smaller batch since it is just myself?

    Sure – bake in an 8″ x 8″ pan, same amount of time. Enjoy- PJH

  141. twrlgrl608

    This looks fantastic, and I’ll definitely be making it, however I would really prefer to use my stove top to melt the butter and sugar instead of the microwave. Would that work for this recipe?

    Of course – the microwave is just a convenience, but skip it if you like. Enjoy – PJH

  142. Naseela

    I’d love to prepare these beautiful brownies..but I wanted to clear some doubts first..first of all, the sugar crystals that I use are slightly larger than the ones we usually get to buy…should I cut back on the sugar due to this? Should I replace the sugar with icing sugar? And will it affect my shiny top, considering the fact that the melting of sugar and butter is a crucial step in this recipe. Can I halve the recipe for my 8×8″ cake pan? Also, there is a small difference in the recipe listed on the blog and the KAF website. According to the website, the butter is melted first and the sugar is added next, while the blog asks us to melt them together. Kindly advise. Thank you.
    Thank you for noticing the discrepancy between the two recipe postings. I will notify our web team and have it updated. Since your sugar has a larger granule, I would certainly melt the butter with the sugar initially and then make sure you reheat it again thoroughly and stir to be sure the sugar dissolves properly. Yes, you may use a half recipe for an 8X8 pan, though the brownies will be slightly thicker, so just monitor your baking time accordingly. ~Amy

  143. Ana

    This recipe seems to finally end my quest for THE PERFECT BROWNIE RECIPE, i can’t wait tro try it for my bf’s birthday, if it has the expected results, i’ll be thankful to you for a lifetime ! Your recipes are amazing, congratulations. Thank you a thousand times again and in advance, your hands are magical! Sincerely, Ana.
    Thank you, Ana. Hope this recipe does not disappoint! Elisabeth

  144. Linda A.

    Contrary to what one blogger posted a couple of years back, but Postum cereal beverage has NOT been discontinued. It’s still available. I don’t know what part of the country that blogger who said it’s been discontinued lives, but I live in New England (Connecticut), and I’ve seen it in grocery stores and supermarkets in my area.

  145. Laura in CT

    I have made these browines many times and they are the best. I have made as gifts, too. When I make them for mu husband and I , I make them, cut them in squares and put in the freezer and take a couple out whenever we want one.

    I’ve used the espresso powder once and found that they gave an extra jolt of caffeine so I eliminate it and the chocolate is still pronounced enough not to need it.

    Have been to your Baker’s Store and Cafe on my travels through VT. Always cozy and inviting…and yummy!
    One of my FAVORITE products! Glad you were able to come see us in VT. Elisabeth


    When doubling for a sheet pan, should we double the eggs? Usually on larger recipes the egg ratio goes down, so 8 eggs seems like a lot!

    Yes, Emma, double everything. I’ve doubled this recipe plenty of times, and it works out fine to do a simple X2. PJH

  147. natzsm

    The brownies look divine!

    Could I use margarine, oil or shortening or a combination instead of butter?

    Than you so much for any advice you could give me regarding this matter.

    Sure, margarine is fine, and would be your best bet; just be sure it’s regular margarine, not low-fat or “lite.” Enjoy – PJH

  148. natzsm

    I just finished baking a trial batch of these brownies with margarine instead of butter.

    I made half the recipe and baked it in an 8″ round pan that was 1 1/2 inches deep. I mixed everything by hand using a wire whisk and melted the margarine and sugar on the stove top.The eggs I used were JUMBO eggs which weighed like 75 grams each so the two eggs I used may have been really a bit too much for just half recipe. I added in white chocolate chips to the slightly cooled batter and sprinkled walnuts on top.

    The brownies rose to the top of the pan but when I took them out of the oven, I forgot to “loosen” the edges and instead left them to cool on the cooling rack with out taking them out of the pan. It was a little harder to get out of the pans but I still managed to do so.

    1. The brownies shrunk back to about an inch tall after taking them out of the pan. I would have loved them at 1 1/2 inches tall. Is there a way I could avoid shrinkage? Another observation was that the middle seemed to be a little bit thinner than the edges.

    2. The chocolate chips sank to the bottom and slightly melted. Again, is there a way I could avoid this?

    Nevertheless, the brownies had a beautiful sheen on the slightly crumbly top but were rich, decadent and fudgy in the middle.

    Could I freeze them?
    The good news is that yes, you can freeze the baked brownies. As for the other troubles you had with the recipe, there were a lot of substitutions used, and that can definitely have a big effect on the outcome. Our advice would be to make the recipe at least once just as written, so that you can see what the outcome should be like. Then, if you have to make a substitution, don’t substitute for more than one ingredient at a time. That way if things go astray, you’ll be able to track down the culprit ingredient easier. Hope this helps. ~ MaryJane

  149. natzsm

    Hello MaryJane,

    I took your advice and followed the recipe exactly (except I used margarine which PJH said I could use as a substitute) and it turned out perfect! Really the best brownies ever. I kept the chips “whole” by adding them to the cooled batter.

    Since I assumed the chips had no effect on the texture of the brownie if I were not melting them into the batter, I made another batch and decided not to put any chocolate chips.

    The brownies came out more cake like and although the top was really shiny had no crumbly crust. Is there suppose to be any direct effect on the texture and crumb of the brownies whether the chips (not melted) are added or not. As far as I could recount, I did everything the same except for the chocolate chips.


    No, there shouldn’t be any difference, especially not with the top crust. That could have been the result of not heating your margarine/sugar quite hot enough. Perhaps, because the brownie batter took up less space in the pan without its chips and the brownies were thinner, they over-baked a bit and became a bit dry? Hmmm… PJH

  150. natzsm

    Oh I am getting so obsessed in perfecting these brownies! I made sure this time that the margarine and sugar mixture was hot enough. Like my previous attempt, I did not put chocolate chips into the batter.

    The top crust was beautiful. Shiny and flakes off in tiny, delicate shards as you cut it. Indeed, the PERFECT top. BUT the brownie was still a bit cakey inside. I did not cool the batter before baking it because I did not put chips in them anyway.

    I was wondering whether the final batter temperature before putting in the oven could have an effect on the brownies crumb?

    Maybe the chocolate chips play a very important role because they still do melt a little when baking even if stirred in cool batter.

    I think it’s more likely your eggs. Check and see that they weigh 1 3/4 ounces each (without the shell); the more egg, the cakier your brownies will be. Maybe your large eggs are just a bit larger than usual… PJH

  151. natzsm

    I was wondering whether the picture on the brownies on the cooling rack are from a different batch from the pics on the white plate.

    I noticed that the series of pictures on “Bakers Banter” specifically the ones on the cooling rack and in the pan has has a lighter top crust while. You could really see the difference in color of the crust and the inside brownie while the pictures on the brownies in the recipe blog on the white plate has a really really dark top crust almost the same color as inside the brownie.

    I am asking because I have made the brownies a total of FOUR times in the last 24 hours coming out with different results. (kindly look at my previous comments)

    This final attempt gave me very good results just like my second attempt following the recipe to the letter except for the margarine. On my third attempt I omitted the chips and it didn’t quite come out the same. I decided to bake them one more time putting back the chocolate chips. They came out good! Shiny crumbly top. Fudgy, rich chocolatey inside BUT the color of the tops this time were dark almost the same color as the inside my first attempt where the tops were a beautiful lighter brown color.

    I can’t seem to be able to duplicate the recipe perfectly.

    Are you enjoying the brownies? If so – please don’t stress about trying to duplicate the recipe perfectly, because really, there’s no definition of perfection. If you enjoy them – they’re perfect for you. Is the batch on the white plate different than the batch on the cooling rack? Yes, same recipe, but they were baked months apart. Also, the photos were shot under different lighting conditions; the brownies might, in fact, have looked exactly the same, would we have been able to place them side by side. The top crust can vary according to how hot your oven is, and how hot you heat the butter/sugar; I think it would be difficult (and really, kind of pointless) to try to duplicate both of these exactly each time you bake. Maybe I’m just a bit more haphazard than you, but to me – if they taste good, enjoy! And if you want to keep tinkering, go for it. The pleasure is often in the journey, as well as the destination. Have fun – PJH

  152. katja82

    I really love this recipe, but I do have some questions about my technique. The brownies were far lighter, which might be attributed to the cocoa powder I used; I also noticed that the texture of the brownies were a little grainy, kind of similar to when you let fudge crystallize. Did I maybe not cook the sugar/butter enough? Or did something else happen? They were also a bit drier and crumblier than I expected; did I perhaps overcook them (cooked them for 35 minutes)?

    That unknown cocoa powder could be the answer to a lot of this. The crystals you describe may be related to insufficient heating of the butter-sugar mixture. Brownies do over bake quickly, the extra 5 minutes likely influenced the crumbliness. Frank @ KAF.

  153. Eric

    I noticed in your instructions you only mixed 1/2 cup sugar with the butter. At one point did you mix the rest of the sugar into the mix?

    The original instructions I have from a flour bag called for adding all of the sugar to the melted butter in a sauce pan or microwave, I used a saucepan. When I did this, I could not get the sugar to completely melt no matter how much I stirred so I did not get the shiny top. It was still a great brownie, but did not look as nice as yours.

    The recipe and post does say to melt all of the sugar with the butter! If you continue to have problems with your brownies, I would suggest giving our Baker’s Hotline a call so we can troubleshoot together.-Jon 802-649-3717

  154. Ollie

    Superb blog! Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost
    on everything. Would you recommend starting with a free platform
    like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that
    I’m totally overwhelmed .. Any ideas? Bless you!

    Here is my web blog – Clash of Clans Hack

    I did a simple Google search for “starting a blog” and the top 3 sites seem like great places to start reading. A blog takes a lot of patience, time, and dedication to maintain; but once you get going, you may find it hard to stop! I highly recommend checking out some of the top blogs for the area of interest you want to write in to see how others have fared. We have several writers for our blog and thus, keep a steady flow of entries going. The more planning you can put into what your future postings will focus on, perhaps the better off you’ll be! I wish you luck! Kim@KAF

  155. Mark

    I’ve been to your store in VT and love it! I have tried the brownies there and thought they were great! I was wondering if this recipe is the same as the one you use for the brownies in the store or is the KAF brownie mix recipe the one you use in the store?


    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Mark, I’m not completely sure what recipe our Bakery uses for the brownies these days. I do know that the brownie mix was based on our online brownie recipe; and the Bakery recipe was based on our brownie recipe, at one point. I know both have evolved (mix and Bakery recipe), but I think if you follow our online recipe for fudge brownies, you’ll be VERY happy. PJH

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Blanche, I’d freeze the sheet of brownies whole; then thaw and cut just before serving. They’ll stayt moister/fresher that way, with less surface exposed to the air. Enjoy – PJH

  156. DebbiH

    I prefer a thicker brownie. My granddaughter and I bake together once a week (she’s four) and I think this is a great recipe. Can I do 1 1/2 recipe and still expect the yummy results. How much would I (we) need to adjust the time?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Debbi, they’ll be yummy, but I’m afraid they might start to come close to overflowing the pan. Make sure you have a good, deep (2″ at least) 9″ x 13″ pan. Can’t say for sure, but start testing at about 40 minutes – that would be my guess. Good luck – PJH

  157. Pat

    I don’t usually use chocolate chips. Can I use bittersweet chocolate and chunk it up? I know chips have more ingredients so wasn’t sure. Would I do it by weight?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Pat, they’re just there for the extra chocolate “oomph,” and have no bearing on the brownies’ structure, so sure, bitersweet chunks would be delicious. Yes, do it by weight – 6 ounces/cup. Good question – PJH

  158. MaryKate

    I ddn’t get the shiny crust, why not? I followed the recipe exactly and the batter was dark and shiny, but the crust wasn’t! 🙁

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Sorry about that, Mary Kate – did you heat the butter and sugar (real butter, cane sugar – not beet sugar) until it was very, very hot, nearly simmering? That’s where the shininess should come from. If you did that, then not sure what could have happened; but I hope you try them again. PJH

  159. MaryKate

    Curious, the recipe says heat the butter and sugar to around 110 or 120 degrees but in the blog it says to heat almost to boiling. Mine was approaching 200 degrees on a candy thermometer and it wasn’t boiling yet, so I took it off the heat and I didn’t get a shiny crust.
    Also had the problem others reported of the cocoa and egg mixture turning into a dense, dry ball,
    though it mixed with the butter and sugar ok.
    Brownies are fine, no shiny crust and a bit dense.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We are sorry for the conflicting information. This is the best recipe and I use it ALL the time and it never disappoints. Just heat until the sugar mixture becomes slightly bubbly along the edge of the pan. Stir stir stir. That is really not uncommon about the cocoa/egg mixture and as you noticed, not a problem. It resolves itself once the butter/sugar mixture is added. Hope you will try again! Elisabeth@KAF

  160. C. A. Morris

    OMG! I’ve never bothered to make ‘from scratch’ brownies. I mean, why bother? OMG! Now I know why. This is the easiest recipe and the best tasting I’ve ever had. I only chose ti because I didn’t have enough oil for the recipe I wanted to try. Thank the stars! This is WONDERFUL

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      I agree – this is totally my go-to brownie recipe. The search is over, the goal has been reached – brownie heaven! Glad to hear you love it as much as I do. 🙂 PJH

  161. Amy

    I NEVER get that shiny, crackly top on my brownies. And the texture is always cake-like 🙁 do you have to heat the butter sugar mixture until the the sugar is completely melted?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hello Amy! Yes, the sugar should be just about completely dissolved. Just continue to stir the mixture over low heat until you can barely see sugar crystals. Jon@KAF

  162. (CM) - Biddy

    Oh gosh, this sounded like the brownie of my dreams. I’ve had them in the oven now for about 45 minutes because I have a convection oven and it automatically compensates by – 25 degrees to whatever temp I set in…and I think the oven is cool. So worried! Finally set in ordinary bake mode and am watching that hole in the center carefully. Rats!!

    Regardless of how they turn out, yumm! Nobody here discriminates against appearances (but we do like batter to be cooked!).

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The first test drive of a recipe it may be best to follow the directions (and bake method/time) as written – then you’ll have a control group you can compare to. The second drive out, use the convection setting to see what the difference might be! We hope you were able to enjoy the first chocolate treat. Happy Baking – Irene@KAF

  163. Gayleen McLean

    Love your guaranteed Brownie recipe. My husband loves brownies with frosting, can you recommend a good recipe, it would seem to need a little different one from chocolate cakes. Love your products and recipes. Years ago I had to order KA flour in the south, now I can get it almost anywhere! Thanks!

  164. JT

    I was directed to this page as I had baked the “Wicked Easy Fudge Brownies” and was disappointed by the lack of a crackly crust. I was told that the crust is a result of melting the butter and sugar together, even though the photo on that page shows a crackly crust. This was confirmed by your blog. I like the simplicity of that recipe and am wondering if the crust could have been accomplished if I melted the butter and sugar together before adding them to the rest of the ingredients.

    So why didn’t I just use this particular recipe? When searching for a brownies recipe, I did come across this one but did not like the addition of chocolate chips. As I would like to try this recipe, I’m now wondering if the choc chips are essential to the result? Or are they there for extra decadence (would I need to add extra cocoa/sugar if I’m going to leave them out)? Also, I like nuts in my brownies. If I wanted to add chopped nuts, how much would you suggest adding? Lastly, I don’t have a lot of people to share with. Does this recipe work well if it’s halved? I’m guessing it goes into an 8 inch pan (9 inch if adding the nuts).

    1. Susan Reid

      If you really want to know the science behind that crackly top, it’s this: sugar acts as a liquid during the baking process; by heating it with the butter as part of making the batter, you’re giving it a headstart on that process. A thin film of sugar migrates to the top of the batter during the bake, and that’s the source of the crust.
      You can, by all means, make the recipe without the chocolate chips; they’re there for decadence more than anything else, but omitting them won’t substantially change the recipe. You can sub nuts for the volume of chips called for, no problem, and bake in an 8 inch pan, nuts included for half the recipe. Susan

  165. wilcogirl

    Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this and answer my questions.
    I have made this recipe (and the whole wheat version) no less than 10 times. I have followed the recipe and instructions EXACTLY at least 8 of those times (exceptions were twice in attempts to troubleshoot). Only 1 time did I ever get the shiny, flaky top. I have read through EVERY post on both the original and whole wheat recipes and their blogs. I have seen many people who also are not having luck with this “guaranteed” recipe, despite following the recipe exactly. Many times, conflicting advice is given out by the different KAF bakers answering the questions. I even see above in one case where the KAF baker scolds the person for being obsessed with the shiny, flaky top!
    I have some questions about the instructions and the advice I’ve seen given here that I hope someone can answer in a straightforward way.
    First: There’s a lot of confusion about the butter/sugar technique. I’ve seen that the mixture should “simmer”, I’ve seen that it should “reach 110-120F”, I’ve seen that the sugar should “melt” and that the sugar should “dissolve”. I don’t think that the butter/sugar mix can both “simmer” and stay at 110-120F, so which is correct? Sugar cannot “dissolve” in an oil or fat such as butterfat: there is a small amount of water in the butter, though not nearly enough to “dissolve” all of the sugar in this recipe.On the other hand the temperature at which sugar “melts” is quite a bit higher than 110-120F, and presumably, the sugar would re-solidify upon cooling anyway. So neither of these explanations of what is happening during the butter/sugar heating makes sense to me. Can you please explain to me what exactly is going on in this step? Perhaps understanding what is really happening, or supposed to be happening, will help all of us who cannot seem to get the shiny top that you are “guaranteeing” us!!!
    Side note: I tried a different technique from another recipe in which the author said the key is to “dissolve” as much sugar as possible into the eggs (which is where most or all of the water of brownie recipes comes from). She said to beat the sugar/eggs until the mixture becomes smooth, thick and ribbon-y. When I used this technique, I got spots of flakiness on my brownies, but not total success. I noticed that despite all my mixing and beating of the eggs/sugar, there remained much undissolved, grainy sugar in the final batter.
    A few other questions about other variables: what type of oven do you use in your kitchen? Does the heat come from the top (as in many electric ovens) or all from the bottom (as in gas ovens). At what position is your oven rack for baking this recipe? I’ve also seen conflicting advice about oven temperature: so would too hot or too cool of an oven prevent the flaky top?
    Thanks again.

    1. Susan Reid

      Hi, Wilcogirl. I hope I can help. You make some very valid points, and I’ll try to address them as you’ve made them. You’re correct, the word “simmer” isn’t really relevant. Simmering happens when water hits 210 to 212°F. Sugar will melt at higher temps than that. I think there has been some conflation of the two terms. Heating the butter and sugar does two things: makes use of the available water in the butter to BEGIN dissolving some of the sugar crystals, giving them a bit of a head start toward the sugars liquification and (hopeful) migration to the top of the batter to make the shiny top. I’ve made our brownie recipe countless times, and end up with a shiny top pretty much all of the time. Here’s what I do: put the sugar and butter together in my mixing bowl. Throw the whole business in the microwave to melt the butter. Take out, stir, add the cocoa, stir. The mixture is still fairly warm at this point, but not what I’d call hot. Somewhere in the realm of clothes right out of the dryer. I add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each (I just use a dough whisk to do this; not my mixer). As each egg gets mixed in, the batter thickens and changes. Flour last, then any additions. Then right in to the pan and then the oven. Usually the batter is still lukewarm when I put it in to bake. Our test kitchen ovens are mostly electric, with sealed bottoms (no visible element). They heat from top and bottom, but the top element is only involved when the oven is preheating. Once up to temperature, as it cycles through, the bottom element is doing most of the work. I think one thing that hasn’t entered your calculus is time; try once more, but don’t let the batter cool all the way (when, as you state, the sugar will recrystallize anyhow). I hope this helps make some sense of it all for you. Susan

  166. wilcogirl

    Wow, I didn’t expect such a quick answer, thank you! I will try, try again. I’d eventually like to be able to make this with browned butter, but I need to get the shiny flaky top first!

  167. Donna

    I’m still a bit confused about substituting natural cocoa for dutch process. All I have right now is regular Hershey’s cocoa, and the weather is just bad enough that I don’t want to get out in it. What changes do I need to make to this fabulous looking brownie recipe to use my regular cocoa?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Donna, since there’s so little leavening in this recipe, go ahead and use the Hershey’s without making any changes. Enjoy – PJH

  168. Jenn

    I just made these, and wow. They’re fantastic! I was having a hankering for brownies and these looked sublime. I didn’t have espresso powder so I was just a little heavy handed on the vanilla and used regular Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder since that’s what I had on hand. I can only imagine how good these would be with a higher quality cocoa powder! My husband loves brownies and I can tell that this will be our go-to recipe. I got the lovely shiny crackley top and it was perfectly baked at 28 minutes. No more box mixes for us!! Thank you KAF for yet another fabulous recipe 🙂

  169. Lisa Lu

    At home, it is only my husband and I, so the brownie recipe I usually use is for 9x9x2 in pan. I usually cut the recipe in half and bake in a 4.5×4.5×2 inch pan. If I halved this recipe, what size pan should I use? Or do you not recommend halving the recipe? Thank you.

  170. Lady Angel-Wilson

    Can’t wait to try this recipe, but first: is the shiny thick glaze that you see on brownies in the supermarket bakeries simply chocolate ganache? I’ve always wanted to top my brownies with something that won’t slide off in a sticky mess, but yet is not exactly frosting. I see this on store bought brownies all the time.
    Also, has anyone out there ever run across a brownie recipe referred to as “football brownies”? My former MIL used to bake these, but would never let the recipe out of her sight. They were AMAZING. They, too, had a chocolate glaze on top.
    Thanks for any help you can give!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Yep, probably ganache! Try mixing equal parts hot cream and dark chocolate (by weight). Allow the mixture to cool and slightly thicken before pouring on your pan of brownies. Jon@KAF

  171. kaf-sub-kathy468

    In all my baking, I have never got around to making brownies until today. Decided to use this yummy recipe. I only had one issue. When mixing the eggs with the cocoa, it ended up being dryish lumps rather than smooth. I panicked and added another egg and some heavy cream to get the smooth texture. Everything else went well and the brownies turned out great. I wonder if my cocoa was really dry or something? I used Hershey’s dutch processed cocoa. Could I of done something else with the egg/cocoa mixture to get the right texture?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      I wonder, did you use large eggs? The recipe is written for large eggs, and using medium or smaller would certainly result in what you describe – as might using eggs you collected yourself, or bought from a friend or neighbor. Other than that, the cocoa brand shouldn’t have made a difference, nor does cocoa really become more or less moist – though you certainly might have had somewhat of a heavy hand when measuring. Is that a possibility? The way we measure cocoa, it’s 3 ounces per cup. At the end of the day, though – so glad the brownies turned out well. Enjoy! PJH

    2. kaf-sub-kathy468

      I did use large eggs bought from the supermarket. It is possible I was too heavy handed with the cocoa. I used 5 scoops of a 1/4 cup out of the box, so maybe that was too much. I will try weighing it next time and see if it comes out better.

  172. kaf-sub-sursumcorda

    I can’t wait to try this recipe, but I already know what substitution I’ll be making. I make my brownies with 100% KAF white whole wheat flour — it gives them the flavor I adore.

  173. Virginia Small

    I just made these brownies and the cocoa egg mixture was as hard as cement. I called your hotline and they questioned the cocoa I used. It is Bensdorp dutch process cocoa purchased from King Arthur Flour. They said the cocoa could have too high a fat content. Well, then you should tell me not to use your products when baking your recipes. I hope these things come out of the oven better than they mixed up. Your products are not cheap and I hate to waste all the ingredients. Please don’t question a baker’s skill or method if your recipe is not suited to your product; that is just wrong. I know how to read; I know I used large eggs and measured properly. I am an excellent baker and have the confidence to know something is wrong with the recipe.

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Virginia,
      We are sorry that you had difficulty with the recipe. We do have to ask many different questions to try to determine the cause of an issue, especially with a recipe that has such a high rating and has been successful for such a long time. We certainly don’t doubt anyone’s skill as a baker, all of us have made mistakes or had a recipe fluke for unknown reasons. We’re sorry too that we could not pinpoint where the trouble was, and do hope the brownies come out fine in the end. Best, ~ MJ

  174. Lara Aquino

    Hi there!

    I have a question, after baking the brownies should I let it rest in the pan or how long should I wait to cut them in pieces?

    Thank you!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      To have clean, professional edges, wait until cool to cut. It takes a lot of patience! Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  175. Sandy

    This is one of my favorite brownie recipes; however, when I made them in the half sheet pan and followed the baking time listed (40-45 minutes), I found that they were dry, compared to how they come out when baked in the 9×13 pan. Given that the height of the brownies is about the same (while the volume of batter is greater), it would seem that they should be baked closer to the 28-30 minutes recommended for the smaller pan. Do you agree?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Sandy, the only issue is it takes longer for the ones in the center to be done, since they’re SO far from the edge, compared to when they’re in a 9″ x `13″ pan. Personally, I’d rather bake two 9″ x 13″ pans than one 18″ x 13″; but yes, do try a shorter amount of baking next time, perhaps 35 minutes? Good luck – PJH

  176. Marcy Tanger

    I would like to make 50 brownies or more at a time and freeze them for late night snacks at my daughter’s wedding. How long can I freeze them, should I just double everything, and what kind of pan(s) should I use. Thanks for any information.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This sounds like the kind of light snack I would like! MJ did a wonderful blog called Big Batch Brownies. Check it out! Cut into portions and freeze in Tupperware containers. If you are stacking portions then cut parchment paper to separate the layers. Enjoy the snacks and enjoy the wedding! Elisabeth@KAF

  177. JuliaPosh

    Hiii. I made this recipe twice now, but I can’t seem to get the shiny flaky top. But the brownies were perfect though. I melted the sugar and butter until it simmers to the point that I can’t even touch the bowl without using a cloth. But i can’t seem to get the flaky shiny top at all. Please explain what I’m doing wrong. I reallyyyy wanna get that shiny top. Thank you so much

  178. Cindy Tate

    Made this brownie recipe today. Was pleased with how they looked when baked. Cut them warm and they are very gooey. Put them in fridge, hoping to firm them up.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Yum, fudgy brownies! If the brownies turned out a bit too gooey for your liking, try baking them for 5 minutes longer next time. Or if you love chocolatey goo (I do!) then embrace the fudge and dig in! Kye@KAF

  179. Elina

    This is very good recipe but I was wondering if I can cut sugar without destroying the recipe? it is little bit too sweet for my taste. Thank you!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Elina, generally you can reduce the sugar amount in a recipe by 10% without causing issues. Barb@KAF

  180. Becky

    I’d like to make these brownies in a mini muffin pan… How would that effect the baking time? And what’s the best way to get them so they don’t stick?? I’ve tried many brownie recipes and they always stick to the mini muffin pan, so much so, that they’re unusable. Any advice?

    1. Susan Reid

      Becky, the baking time would be much shorter in a mini muffin pan; check after 15 minutes; you can always bake a little more, but there’s no reverse gear for the oven! We’ve never had trouble with our recipes sticking, but if you’re making individual brownies anyhow, why not just use mini muffin papers? Susan

  181. Carol Sprenger

    I LOVE these brownies – the only ones I make anymore. For Cinco de Mayo I wanted to add a little Mexican flair. I make the half sheet pan size recipe. I added 4 tsp of cinnamon and 2 tsp of cayenne pepper. I knew this would probably mess with the end result…and of course it did. the brownies were dry (hmmm – wonder if it was from that extra 6 tsp of dry ingredients:)
    Any suggestions on how I could incorporate the cayenne and cinnamon for the mexican brownies but not dry out the the overall consistency?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Your spicy additions are just 2 additional tablespoons. If the flavor was spot on, consider a shorter baking time, definitely not baking using the convection setting of a home oven as that tends to dry out baked goods. If that’s not an improvement, consider a call to our baker’s hotline at 855-371-2253. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  182. Craig

    I want to try this but have not got any dutch process cocoa. Will Hershey’s cocoa powder work? What changes do I need to make?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Craig, when substituting natural cocoa for dutch process cocoa in a recipe calling for baking powder, use the same amount of natural cocoa, and replace the baking powder with half the amount of baking soda. In this recipe replace the 1 teaspoon of baking powder called for with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Barb@KAF

  183. Marita

    I love these brownies. I had to rename them the “Oh My God Brownies”. That’s what friend after friend said after taking one bite. I used Hershey Special Dark Cocoa, Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate baking chips, and the King Arthur Espresso Powder (store that in the fridge if you don’t want to find a hockey puck in your pantry). I’ve made this recipe several times. Make sure your oven is the right temp and you don’t over bake them-or they’ll be “Meh Brownies”.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Marita, we’re so glad to here these brownies are such a hit with you and your friends! Be sure your espresso powder is sealed tightly in the refrigerator, or it may pick up moisture and harden. The key to keeping your espresso powder powdery is protecting it from moisture in the air. We recommend storing it cool and dry. Barb@KAF

  184. bent el deera

    I just made these outrageous yummiest brownies EVER
    I don’t have Dutch coco where I lived so I used natural coco and the batter came a little sense thanow the pictures but when it baked it taste wonderful
    thank you

  185. Laura Davis

    Hi, I want to to make these NOW–but we are out of chocolate chips. Will they work without the chips or should I wait until I can get to the store tomorrow?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Laura, if you don’t add chocolate chips, the brownies won’t have that classically shiny crust. The taste will still be delicious however, so if you’re in need of brownies right away, feel free to forge ahead! You can also consider adding another yummy mix-in like walnuts instead. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  186. Mariana

    Hello! I love making this recipe, thous I can’t seem to always get the crackly top! Any reasons? I melt the butter and sugar on the stove till it all melts! Thanks you

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Mariana, we’ve found that adding chocolate chips to brownies is one of the key things that helps give brownies a crackly top. (Check out the results of this testing here.) We’ve also found that heating the sugar with the butter so that it melts before adding the other ingredients can also help encourage a shiny/crackly top. Give both of those things a try the next time you bake a batch of brownies — we think you’ll like the results! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Dyan, you can use an equal amount of caster sugar (we call it Baker’s Special Sugar) in your favorite brownie recipe if you like. Typically this superfine sugar is reserved for making delicate desserts that need a smooth texture like mousses, custards, puddings, meringues. However, if you want to give it a go in your brownies, use the same amount as what’s called for in the recipe (whether measuring by volume or by weight). Kye@KAF

  187. Colleen

    Just a question. Most recipes say you have to temper if you add hot ingredients to an egg mixture. But you can pour the hot butter/sugar right into the chocolate/eggs all at once?

    1. Susan Reid

      Colleen, when you build the batter in the bowl this way, it’s best to heat the butter and sugar together, then while the mixture is still rather warm add just the cocoa and stir it in. The warmth and butter will hydrate the cocoa and give you a nice, smooth mixture. While that’s happening the mixture is cooling somewhat. I add the eggs right from the fridge, cold, one at a time, mixing after each. That also brings the mixture’s temp down a bit. As long as you stir right away, I’ve never had any trouble with these brownies, and only one bowl to get dirty!!! Susan

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