When you know how to make brownies, you’re never at a loss as to what to bring to a potluck, a bake sale or a family party. We’ve got chocolate baking tips, new and classic brownie recipes and how-to videos that open the doors to brownie greatness—from classic cake brownies to deep, rich, almost fudge-like brownies to brownies that double as cheesecake and peanut butter treats. For more easy treats that include s’mores and fruit-filled treats, take a look at our collection of bars and squares recipes, too.
How to Bake Brownies: The Basics
The baking basics apply to brownies, as well. Rule #1: “Don’t mess with the basic ingredients.” Unlike making chili and other free-for-all savory dishes, baking requires a careful attention to measuring to ensure scrumptious results with the texture you want—whether that’s cake-like, fudgy or chewy. Check out our how-to-measure video for tips on getting the techniques down, and if you’re lacking a key ingredient, see our substitution guide to see what other ingredient or combination of ingredients will do the same job in the recipe.
How to Make Chocolate Brownies
The type of chocolate you’ll use depends on the recipe you choose, but more often than not brownie recipes call for unsweetened chocolate. Unsweetened chocolate is made with solid chocolate liquor and is bitter alone, but when combined with sugar, butter and the other ingredients, it gives brownies their gloriously rich chocolate flavor. A pinch of salt also brings out the sweetness of the chocolate. A prime example of this is the classic BAKER’S ONE BOWL Brownies recipe. There are plenty of yummy exceptions, of course, such as these ooey, gooey, supremely fudgy Divine Truffle Brownies. Blondies, a scrumptious cousin of brownies, use no chocolate at all; instead, they’re made with brown sugar, although chocolate may be added. Two excellent examples include Caramel Swirl Blondies and Double-Chocolate Chunk Blondies.
Tips for Making the Best Brownies
Baking brownies in a greased pan is what most recipes call for. Lining the pan with foil before baking and then greasing the foil will allow you to lift the entire pan of baked brownies out of the pan all at once after they cool.
When making brownies with squares of unsweetened or semi-sweet chocolate, melting the butter with the chocolate keeps the chocolate smooth and silky. When using cocoa powder, the amount of butter in the batter is increased.
Recipes with more flour will give you a cake-like brownie; less flour will give you a fudgier brownie.
The amount of time you beat the batter in your mixing bowl is the factor that determines whether you get a glossy top on your pan of brownies: The longer you beat the batter, the better the chances you will get the shiny top, which is actually a meringue.
When testing brownies for doneness, you want to err on the side of under-baking or you run the risk of dried out brownies.
After the brownies cool in the pan, cutting them with a plastic knife gives a cleaner cut.
How to Make Cheesecake Brownies & Other Variations
As you know from your own experiences, chocolate has a few natural “go-withs.” It goes well with peanut butter, cream cheese, nuts, fruit and more. Sometimes you can even score three or more favorites in one recipe, as in these Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie Babies. Check out our Cheesecake Center for more ideas, and this how to make Cheesecake Brownies video. You also may want to thrill the PB lovers in the house by investigating this video on how to make Triple-Layer Peanut Butter Brownies.
Be sure to visit our Chocolate Center to check out other glorious chocolate recipes. These include moist chocolate cakes, easy no-bake fudge recipes, mocha desserts, cookies and more.