Friday was a momentous day. Seriously. The 9th of June is from this moment on to be known as ‘Brownie Day’, and celebrated with a batch of the perfect little fudgy chocolate brownies you see below.
I have been trying to successfully bake fudgy chocolate brownies for my entire adult life, and that’s not an exaggeration. I’ve come close, but there’s always been something a bit wrong. Countless batches of brownies have come out of the oven under-baked, over-baked, too dry, and I’ve even somehow managed to make a brownie batter which separates in the oven and leaves a weird white film on the top. Mmmmmmmmmm.
I seriously wish I was exaggerating.
Oh, how I love the way the top has that shiny coating that just flakes away when you bite into them. I don’t know the science behind it, to be honest I don’t care. I just care that I managed to make them ?
The batter for these babies is super thick and gooey, to the point where it takes a little bit of patience to even get it level in the bottom of a foil-lined tin. My advice is to spoon little blobs of batter all across the bottom of the pan, and then smooth them together. Don’t try and scrape all the batter into the middle of the pan in one go and then spread, or you’ll end up in one hell of a mess. As always – learn from my mistakes!
As an experienced maker of brownie disasters, I pretty much know by now whether a brownie is going to work or not before I even put the batter in the oven to bake. Even if it looks like a complete disaster, I usually put it in the oven to bake anyway, on the off-chance that something miraculous happens (spoiler – it never does). However, this time I didn’t need to hold my breath and pray. This time I knew I was on to a winner when the batter was so shiny and smooth, and perfect.
Don’t you just love it when years and years of hard work finally pays off?
So maybe you’re an expert brownie maker, and you think I’m just a rubbish baker. Or maybe you have been struggling with brownies for years too, and just want a recipe that you can finally succeed with, and take into work and amaze your co-workers? Either way, I think you should give this one a try.
It’s fairly standard in both ingredients and method. Melt some butter and chocolate together in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, leave to cool a little, then add sugar, and then the egg. There’s cocoa for an extra intense chocolate flavour, and a stupidly small amount of flour, as is always the way with brownies. And of course, there’s plenty of chocolate chips.
Yeah, there’s absolutely nothing groundbreaking or spectacular here at all. But somehow, it just works. I think brownies are the sort of baked good that is absolutely unforgiving in every way possible. Tinker with ratios, tin sizes, and baking times at your peril. Don’t go using less sugar, or any more flour.
Okay, you can add some nuts in there if you want. Maybe.
The absolute last thing you want to do though is to make this in a baking tin that is not 8 inches square. If you don’t have an 8 inch tin then either get one, or go find a recipe designed for your tin size. I cannot emphasis enough how many times my brownies have failed due to putting batter in a tin it was not designed for. Okay?
The other thing you want to do is to bake them for the exact right time. Mine took about 28 minutes, but I would check on them from the 25 minute mark onwards. You are looking for a toothpick inserted into the middle of the brownie to come out with little bits of crumby batter on it. If the toothpick has batter smeared all down it when you pull it out, it still needs a few more minutes. And if it is completely clean, then get it the hell out of the oven right now and put it in the freezer to try and cool it down as quickly as possible.
Oh, and when you’re sticking in the toothpick, try and avoid chocolate chips. Just to add to the confusion.
I find that different ovens, different baking tins, and even different seasons effect how long things take to cook. And with something as picky as fudgy chocolate brownies, you need to be extra vigilant. So don’t be too focused on that fact that mine took 28 minutes. Yours could take anywhere from 25 to 35 minutes.
And you know what? Even if they are slightly over-cooked, or slightly under-cooked, it’s not the end of the world. They will still taste chocolatey and yummy, even if they aren’t good enough to show off at work.
- 110g (½ cup) unsalted butter
- 60g (2oz) dark chocolate, in pieces
- 100g (½ cup) caster sugar (US granulated sugar)
- 100g (½ cup) light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 50g (½ cup) cocoa powder
- 60g (½ cup) plain or all purpose flour
- 175g (1 cup) milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F (160ºC fan). Grease an 8 inch square tin and line with aluminium foil.
- Put the butter and chocolate into a medium sized bowl, and place over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until completely melted, and then remove from the heat. Set aside to cool for five minutes.
- Once slightly cooler, add both types of sugar and the salt to the melted chocolate, and beat well until completely combined. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat again.
- Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl with the batter, and then gently fold together. Once pretty much combined, add the chocolate chips, and gently fold until the chips are well distributed. The batter will be VERY thick, but that's what makes them so fudgy.
- Spoon blobs of the batter over the bottom of the baking tray, and then smooth out so that the top is fairly level and smooth. The batter won't even itself out much in the oven, so try and get it as even as possible. Bake in the preheated oven, and begin checking on them after 25 minutes of baking, although they may take up to 30-35 minutes, depending on your oven. The brownies are ready when a toothpick inserted in the middle of the brownie comes out with a few sticky crumbs attached (avoiding the chocolate chips). If the toothpick is clean, then the brownies are slightly overdone. Take them out of the oven immediately and place in the fridge or freezer to cool down as quickly as possible (and stop them cooking even more). Otherwise, leave the brownies to cool in the tin on a wire rack. Once completely cool, cut into 9 or 16 squares.
- The brownies will stay fresh for 4-6 days if kept in an airtight container somewhere cool. The brownies do not need to be refrigerated. The brownies can also be frozen - wrap in cling film or plastic wrap before cutting into squares, and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature and then cut into squares.