Brownies are among the most delicious and gluttonous expressions of the manifold ways a chocolate lover – raise your hand if you fall into this category – can enjoy this lip-smacking delight. Cafes around the world offer daily mouth-watering displays of the unmistakable chocolaty squares for the joy of patrons and tourists alike.
But who among us has ever thought of trying their hand at a personal, homemade expression of this wonderful treat? If you've raised your hand for the second time in a row, you're ready to follow us and our recipes celebrating this ridiculously good chocolate dessert. Before we embark on this flavourful adventure, it would be remiss of us if we didn't spend a few words on the two main categories in which brownies are divided, texture-wise. And the choices to be made: how do we want our brownie? Fudgy or cakey?
Fudgy brownies are moist and dense but not quite as compact as a fudge. Incredibly rich and chocolaty, a fudgy brownie is for devoted chocoholics who, from the first bite, will think they've died and gone to heaven. Distinguishing marks of this dark decadence: super fudgy centre, molten and gooey all around, with a crispy-chewy edge and a shiny, thin crust on top. Fudgy brownies are slightly underbaked for the centre to stay deliciously oozy and moist. To make fudgy brownies, use less cocoa powder and add chopped chocolate, which melts with the butter to form a thick base. You may need to increase the amount of butter and chocolate or reduce the amount of flour if your batch is still not fudgy enough.
Cakey brownies are light and airy, with a soft, cake-like inside. They may sometimes be overlooked in favour of the more glossy fudge fellows, but if we think about them as a fine-grained, taste-packed chocolate cake in miniature with a light crumby texture and that crunchy shell to die for, well, we indeed have two joint winners here. Cakey brownies also have a higher height than fudgy brownies. This ethereal variation needs a little bit of baking powder and has less chocolate and less butter than a fudgy brownie. Still, it packs a chocolaty punch equally, especially if you use great quality ingredients. In case you enjoy the cakey feel, absolutely go for it.
All this begs the question: can we get our brownies to turn out precisely the way we want them to? What makes these types of brownies differ from each other? Is it the ingredients they contain, or just how they're mixed together? Spoiler alert: it’s in the combination of the ingredients. The fat and flour ratios make a big difference in the final texture and just by changing them a little, we can make two entirely different types of brownies. With a fundamental tip: try and get the best butter and chocolate and cocoa powder because they make the best brownie.
Fudgy brownie recipe
Servings: 24 brownies
Total time: 45 min
1 cup unsalted butter
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate bar for baking or cacao baking chips
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 large eggs
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180 °C). Grease and flour a 13x9 inch (33 x 23 cm) baking pan.
- Stir butter and chocolate together in a 3-quart saucepan over low heat until smooth. Take off the heat and let cool.
- After the chocolate mixture has cooled, whisk in the sugar and vanilla. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until well combined.
- Combine cocoa powder, flour, and salt in a separate bowl. Whisk the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until smooth.
- Spread brownie batter in a pan and bake for 25-35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Tips: once the brownies are done baking, slam the pan on the counter: this removes any air bubbles and helps the brownies to condense, providing that fudgy texture we want. If you don't want the top of the brownies to crack, let it cool for about an hour before you take it out of the pan; we know it's immensely tempting and hard to resist, but pulling it out of the pan too soon will crack the delicate, thin-crust perfection.
Cakey brownie recipe
Servings: 9 brownies
Total time: 45 min
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into large pieces
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180 °C). Line an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking pan with parchment paper, overhanging the edges.
- Melt butter and chocolate over a pot of simmering water in a double boiler or heatproof bowl. Stir until smooth. Take off the heat, and add sugar. Mix in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the cocoa and salt. Stir in the flour and baking powder until combined.
- Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until crumbs come out of a toothpick inserted into the centre.
- In the pan, let cool for about 15 minutes. Using the parchment paper, pull the brownies out of the pan. Remove the parchment paper and place on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely. Cut into 9 squares.
Want some even more nutritious, energy-packed brownies’ inspiration to fuel your body and make your heart sing? We got you covered. We feel better if we include more healthy and nourishing foods into our eating habits and who says brownies can’t be part of a thriving and active life? Throw a handful of omega-3-rich walnuts into your batter and bring with you one square or two on your next outdoor adventure. Memo: bring more of these delicious walnut brownies for your friends. And if you’re passionate about fitness and vigorous exercise, you'll definitely love adding a little peanut butter to support your athletic lifestyle: these peanut butter millet brownies are ideal for a post-workout, and they are also gluten-free.