Brownies are the best dessert in my opinion, especially fudgy brownies with a shiny, crackled top like these. It took me a few tries to nail these brownies - I wanted to make sure they were super thick, extra fudgy and had that shiny, crackled top that everyone loves so much.
In order to make sure these were the absolute best brownies ever, I had to accomplish three things:
- They are SUPER fudgy and chocolatey. This brownie recipe has a whopping 1 ½ cups of cocoa powder. Regular cocoa powder or dutch processed cocoa powder works here. I honestly like to use a mixture of both. Fudgy brownies have a higher fat to flour ratio than cakey ones, so we also use a lot of butter in this recipe.
- They are thick. Thin brownies are for squares. JUST KIDDING. But I love an ultra thick brownie. We whip the eggs until they are a pale yellow color and foamy. Because there is no leavening agent in this recipe, the whipped eggs actually helps it rise because of all the air that is incorporated during the whipping process. This process also adds to the meringue-like top.
- They have a shiny, crackled top. Some people care about this A LOT. I hate to say that I am one of them. I just think it is such a defining feature of a brownie. I have tried many methods to achieve this, and the trick that I have found works the best is to make sure the sugar is COMPLETELY dissolved in the batter. The sugar first dissolves in the butter, and then we mix the butter/sugar mixture into the eggs and whip so the sugar is also dissolved in the eggs. I guarantee if your sugar is completely dissolved, you will have a shiny, crackled top.
If you need to run to the grocery store, here is your shopping list:
- All purpose flour
- Cocoa powder
- Instant coffee granules + water (optional)
- Unsalted butter
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Melt together the butter and powdered sugar until the powdered sugar is completely dissolved in the butter.
- Whip the eggs by themselves until they are a paler yellow color and foamy. Pour the butter/sugar mixture into the eggs and whip for two minutes.
- Add the vanilla extract & coffee mixture (optional) and mix until combined.
- Add the flour, cocoa powder and salt and fold together until a batter forms.
- Pour the batter into an 8x8 inch pan and bake for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
The key to a shiny, crackled crust
They key to achieving that shiny, crackled crust is making sure the sugar has completely dissolved into the batter. I have tried many, many methods but this one has worked every single time.
There are two main steps in the dissolving process:
- We melt the butter and powdered sugar together - the hot butter actually makes it easier for the sugar to dissolve. Whisking the two together vigorously makes the powdered sugar completely dissolve.
- This mixture then gets poured into whipped eggs so the sugar is dissolved into the eggs as well.
All of these steps combined makes for that amazing crust.
How to get smooth cuts
To get clean cuts, let the brownies cool in the pan for 20 minutes (it's actually better to let them cool completely, but I know no one has that kind of patience). Using a sharp knife, cut smooth lines in the brownies (either in thirds for 9 brownies, or fourths for 16 brownies). Wipe the knife clean in between each cut and that willl ensure smooth, clean lines.
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Classic Fudgy Brownies
- ¾ cup (94 grams) all purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups (120 grams) cocoa powder unsweetened regular cocoa powder or dutch processed cocoa powder works!
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules + 1 teaspoon water optional
- 1 ¼ cups (283 grams) unsalted butter
- 4 ¼ cups (510 grams) powdered sugar
- 4 eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius) and line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- I suggest having all the ingredients out and measured to make this process easier.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
- If using the coffee, combine the instant coffee granules and water in a small bowl until the granules are completely absorbed. This is optional but recommended - the coffee really deepens the chocolate flavor.
- In a separate, microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter and powdered sugar. Melt the two together in the microwave in 30 second increments, whisking in between each increment. I typically microwave it 4-5 times. Whisk them together until completely smooth and the powdered sugar is dissolved in the butter. It should almost look like melted white chocolate. You can also melt them together on the stove.
- Meanwhile, whip your eggs. Crack the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or a medium sized bowl if using a handheld mixer), and beat them on medium speed for 4-5 minutes until they are a paler yellow color and foamy.
- Once the eggs are done whipping, pour in the hot butter/sugar mixture. Whip them together on medium speed for two minutes. Add the vanilla and coffee mixture (if using) and whip until combined.
- Add the flour, cocoa powder and salt and fold together (not whisk) until a batter forms. Whisking will knock out all of the air you just added by whipping the eggs.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the edges are set. Let cool at room temperature for 20 minutes, cut and enjoy!
Tried this recipe? Make sure to rate and review and tag @sturbridgebakery on Instagram!