I've been experimenting with different recipes over the years, but haven't found one that I really love. Joel likes his brownie on the cake side, but I prefer mine to be cake-like with a gooey texture that melts in your mouth. I love a good box of brownie batter, but I make almost everything homemade in our house. I thought it was time that I created brownies from scratch.
My ideal brownies from scratch are made with dark chocolate, a little salty, gooey but with a cake-like texture, and have the ultimate perfect cracking on top.
I started testing out my own ideas for a recipe, pulling different types of cocoa powder and adding or removing eggs. This recipe uses dutch-processed cocoa powder, the perfect egg ratio, coarse salt, and extra chocolate on the inside.
How do you get the perfect cracking on top?
I love that flaking top on a brownie warm out of the oven. To achieve the perfect cracking is all in the eggs and the sugar! You have to cream your eggs and sugar together before adding anything else into the mix. This method is called Ribbioning which incorporates air into your mixture to make it light and fluffy. When you bake the brownies the air rises to the top pushing out the air bubbles causing the brownies to have a thin flaky layer on top. This is a good thing!
How do you get perfectly gooey yet cake-like brownies?
The number of eggs that you use will create moisture in your brownies pulling in the gooey effect. I tried adding an additional egg yolk and it was too gooey. The number of eggs that I used in this recipe proved to be just the right amount. They create a gooey inside while still providing texture. You also want to make sure that you follow the directions and do not over mix your batter. When working with flour you are working with gluten. When you overmix your batter it develops more gluten which will result in a cakier and denser brownie. Less mixing results in gooier brownies!
Chocolate Chips: I love extra chocolatey brownies so I always recommend adding more chocolate into the batter. The extra chocolate melts while baking which is delicious, but it's always optional. I use dark chocolate chips when adding in more chocolate.
Nuts: You can add your choice of chopped nuts if you like the crunchy texture and nutty flavor that they provide. I don't always add nuts, but when I do walnuts are my nut of choice.
Sea Salt: I love savory foods more than sweets, so any chance to add salt I do. I love topping my brownie with extra salt, but I leave it up to everyone individually.
Espresso Powder: I am in love with espresso, so I will always add it to my cakes and baked goods for the extra flavor. I think it brings out the chocolatey goodness in the dark cocoa, so I keep instant expresso on hand at all times. It's optional if you don't have it on hand for your brownies from scratch!
Cocoa Dusting: You do not have to dust your brownies with cocoa, but I like the flavor and the look of the garnish. I use a sifter to lightly add some to each brownie. For the photos in the recipe, I went all out in cocoa for the last photo. I used dutch processed for my dusting.
Powdered Sugar: If you like things EXTRA sweet you can add powdered sugar. The brownies are sweet enough on their own to me, but some people love the extra white sugar sprinkled on top. Completely optional to your taste buds.
- 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) of unsalted European butter
- 1 cup of white sugar
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar
- 2 Whole eggs
- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup of oil (grapeseed, coconut, vegetable, or canola)
- 3/4 cup of Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon of Espresso powder, optional,
- 1 cup Dark chocolate chips, optional
- 1 cup of chopped walnuts, optional
- Extra cocoa for dusting, optional
- Sea salt, optional
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Line an 8x8 inch glass or ceramic pan with two sheets of parchment paper laying in opposite directions to cover all sides of the pan.
- Sift brown sugar, cocoa powders, flour, salt, and espresso powder in a medium bowl then set aside.
- Slowly melt the butter in a small pan over the stove.
- Meanwhile, beat the white sugar and eggs until they are a fluffy light yellow for about 2-3 minutes. This is your ribboning process and you don't want to rush this stage.
- Once the butter has melted, remove it from the heat and let it cool for 1 minute.
- Pour the butter into the sugar mixture and whisk it in gently.
- Add the vanilla and oil.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients a little at a time, mixing until just incorporated. Do not over mix the batter.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the batter is no longer wiggly in the pan. You do not want to use the toothpick or clean knife method here. It is better to under bake with a fudgier consistency than over baked brownies that dry out. A good sign that your brownies are almost done will be the cracking that occurs on top while baking and the middle no longer wiggles. I typically bake my brownies at 30-32 minutes, but it will vary based on your oven.
- Once done baking, remove the brownies from the pan and let them cool for about 30 minutes before cutting them.
- Cut the brownies into 16 squares with 4 rows across each way.
- Dust with sifted unsweetened cocoa powder and sprinkle sea salt to garnish when cool - optional.