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Dense and fudgy from-scratch brownies– ditch the box forever!
A new year, a new monthly series here at Fresh April Flours!
It’s unbelievable that I’ve been blogging for nearly 6 years and have yet to share a regular brownie recipe with you.
I mean, I’ve shared many brownie recipes with you in the form of
chocolate cherry chunk brownies,
cookies & cream brownies,
Peppermint Pattie brownies,
chocolate chip cheesecake swirl brownies,
even little football brownies…
But never just the classic.
And you want to know something crazy cool about all those brownie recipes? They all start with the same base. The base you’ll find here today.
WHAT?! No way.
Yes way! It’s brownie basics day!
I’m also here to shout from the rooftops that scratch brownies are my only way. Like, ONLY ONLY WAY.
And I will never stop telling everyone I meet who doesn’t agree that scratch brownies are so much easier than you think they are and they really are so super delicious.
Some years ago, actually in the post for my Peppermint Pattie brownies, I suggested that I get something about “scratch brownies are better” engraved in my headstone, and I’m sticking by that one.
“Lynn April: wife, mother, baker, sprinkle enthusiast. SCRATCH BROWNIES ARE BETTER.”
I think it has a nice ring to it.
So today I want to talk to you all about the whats and whys of my dense, chewy, fudgy homemade brownies and why I chose the ingredients I chose when I first laid the groundwork for this recipe.
QUALITY CHOCOLATE IS IMPERATIVE FOR FUDGY BROWNIES
To start fudgy brownies off on the right fudgy foot, you’re going to make your base from chopped chocolate and butter. We won’t be using any cocoa powder in these brownies, because cocoa powder is a dry ingredient, which brings lift and “cakey”ness to baked goods.
Similar to chocolate fudge frosting, which we like to keep dense and, well, fudgy, we don’t use any cocoa powder. That base is purely chocolate and butter, like these brownies.
If you want to go with a lighter texture, like what you might want to spread on a yellow layer cake, add chocolate flavor to your buttercream with cocoa powder (Dutch processed is my fav!).
See the difference here?
Chopped chocolate = dense and fudgy.
Cocoa powder = light and fluffy.
USE MOSTLY BROWN SUGAR FOR MAXIMUM MOISTURE
My homemade brownies use a whole cup of sugar, but ¾ of that is brown sugar, and the remaining ¼ cup is white sugar. While all of the sugar could, in theory, be one or the other, I like to use a combo.
The brown sugar brings all the moisture and deep, bold sweetness and the white sugar insures there is a sharp sweetness going on with all that semi-sweet bar chocolate.
Sugar is also, believe it or not, another way to bring “lift” to baked goods. Since brown sugar is heavier and wetter than granulated sugar, we insure we’re not giving our brownies too much reason to go anywhere cakey.
EGGS BRING DENSITY TO BROWNIES
Eggs are a funny little thing. When used properly, they can totally lift up baked goods. Take my red velvet cupcakes, for example. We whip egg whites into that batter to incorporate air and keep the cupcakes fluffy.
But when we add three whole eggs to these brownies, and we don’t whip them in (because we’re doing this all by hand without a mixer), they bring the dense texture we love in our fudgy brownies.
They also bring lots of fat, which means lots of nooks and crannies for all the flavor and something that’s vital to the structure of a brownie.
JUST A TOUCH OF FLOUR HOLDS IT ALL TOGETHER
We’ll only use ¾ cup of flour in these brownies– just enough to give them some support. Without the flour, we’d likely have some sort of gooey pile of fudge. And while that’s all well and good, it’s not what we want today.
More flour than just that ¾ cup and we’d be on our way to cakey brownies. We hit the sweet spot here with these fudgy brownies!
Just a touch of vanilla extract and salt bring all the flavors together for the perfect super-chocolate profile.
People, these are hands down my absolute favorite brownies. Ever.
Yeah, they take a little more hands-on time than a box mix, but to me, it’s always worth the extra (minimal) work. I get rave reviews on brownies wherever I go. And they all have this base.
In fact, a few weeks ago, I took some of my chocolate chip cheesecake swirl brownies to a party and someone said “I’ve never had brownies that taste better as you chew them.”
I MEAN. If that isn’t the best compliment?!
So, please… Give these seriously fudgy scratch brownies a try. I know you won’t be disappointed, and I know I have a pretty good chance of making you want “SCRATCH BROWNIES ARE BETTER” on your headstone too.
Too much? Maybe. But maybe not, either.
Stay tuned for 11 more brownie recipes in 2020! If you can master this one, you’ll be all set for the rest to come!
Homemade Fudgy Brownies
- ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter cut into 6-8 slices
- 8 ounces (227g) semi-sweet chocolate coarsely chopped
- ¾ cup (150g) firmly packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature preferred*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (90g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Line an 8" or 9" square baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and chopped chocolate, stirring frequently until completely smooth. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes.
- Whisk sugar into cooled chocolate mixture until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla. Add the flour and salt and stir gently until completely combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake brownies for 32-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Allow brownies to cool completely before cutting into squares.
- When you are ready to cut the brownies, remove the brownies by lifting the foil overhang straight up. Peel back remaining foil and place brownie block onto a large cutting board. Store leftover brownies at room temperature up to 1 week. Brownies freeze well, up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight.