Cooking with Alison

Favourite Chewy and Dense Brownies

In Other Desserts on January 19, 2010 at pm

At a recent dinner party, a friend of mine brought brownies that had been made from the Ghirardelli brownie mix (she bought it at Costco).  They were good and chocolatey but they were closer to cake than I prefer my brownies to be.  So I was inspired (more like obsessed) to search for the best chewy and dense brownie recipe that is halfway between cakey and fudgy.  I focused on recipes for plain brownies only, because I believe that it’s important to find the best base recipe first.  Then you can make it even better by experimenting with all sorts of variations (ie. icing, nuts, cream cheese, etc.).

I tried more than 15 different brownie recipes and my favourite is adapted from  I especially like this recipe because with just a tiny change in the number of eggs, you can choose between a texture that’s in the middle of cakey and fudgy or a texture that’s closer to cakey between the two extremes.  Personally, I prefer the denser version.  Also, I discovered that brownies freeze really really well.  I cut my brownies before freezing them.

One of the brownie recipes that I tried was that of Julia Child’s.  Even though I don’t consider it to be a true brownie (too cakey for me), I absolutely Love her recipe.  I serve it warm as a gooey, slightly chewy chocolate cake with a scoop of ice cream.  I will forever be grateful for discovering her recipe (link here).

Below Right:  Variation of this brownie recipe with cheesecake.

Chewy and Dense Brownies Recipe

The texture of these brownies is in between cakey and fudgy.

1 cup salted butter, melted

3 cups white sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

4 eggs (add one more for a cakier result)

1 1/2 cups (180 g) all-purpose flour

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda (optional, but gives them a nice crust)

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish with the paper from the butter.*

*Note:  I always line the bottom of the pan with a sheet of lightly greased parchment paper that hangs over 2 edges of the pan for easy removal.*

Melt butter in the microwave or on the stovetop.  Combine the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl.  Mix.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each, until thoroughly blended.  Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda if using.  Gradually stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until blended. Toss the chocolate chips in a light dusting of flour through a sieve, and stir into the mix with a spoon or spatula.  The flour will keep them suspended in the batter and prevent them from all sinking to the bottom.  Pour into prepared pan.  Spread the batter in the pan, slightly mounding on the sides so it will all bake evenly (avoiding the typical mound you get in the middle after baking).  Bake for 35-40 minutes. Brownies are done with a toothpick or skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.  These are delicious when slightly underbaked too. I always chill (in the refrigerator) or freeze my brownies all the way through before eating them. I find the cooling gives brownies the best chewy texture.

  1. I like the sound of your brownies recipe. It took me a while until I found my perfect recipe.
    Happy baking 🙂

  2. So I attempted to make these brownies for a bake sale that my company was having for charity. I followed the recipe and it was much easier than I thought. I was nervous about the whole process but the final result turned out really well. The people at my company loved it and all the brownies were gone by the end of the bake sale. It’s really an easy to follow recipe!

  3. And this was my first time baking too!

  4. I made these again very recently for my friends and this time I undercooked it a bit. The result was even better and my friends loved it so much that they didn’t believe that I had made them myself.

  5. The brownie recipe sounds very rich. I’m eager to try it. Do you have the link to the Julia Child brownie recipe? The link you posted is not active. Thanks!

  6. I’ve posted a link to your recipe from my blog; I tried your recipe today, and will post a review after I’ve cut up the tray of brownies and passed them around. I can say already that they make a very pretty brownie–all shiny and whatnot on top. Thanks for posting this!

    • Hi Katherine! Thank you so much! I really hope everyone liked them! Also, I hope you happened to underbake them by a minute or two – makes them even better. Can’t wait to hear what you thought of them! Thanks again!

  7. hi alison 🙂 thanks so much for the great recipe 🙂 I have been trying to also have a look at your fudgy brownie recipe. when I click on the link it says it cant be found… is there somewhere I can find it??? thanks 🙂

  8. Hey Alison,

    When I made these, the edges of the brownies became quite enlarged. Is this normal or did I miss a step? Krystal seems to like the edge pieces much more than the nice-looking-uniform middle pieces, so I guess they didn’t come out TOO badly.

    • Hi Matthew, I prefer the crispy edge pieces of brownies too 🙂 The purpose of having a bit less batter in the middle of the pan is so that the middle doesn’t end up being an unattractive and undercooked, raised middle section. But maybe you spread too much batter to the edges before baking it? That’s the only thing I can think of… Have you decided what you’re entering into the baking contest yet?

  9. I think I had spread too much on the edges. I have no clue what to enter into the contest. Like you said, it should be something that is attractive to the eye as well so that people will want to taste it. I will probably decide last minute on the Sunday prior. Funny because I am sure I will still end up voting for your work-of-art. My last hope to winning is if K ends up giving me a pity vote 😛

    • You’re too humble 🙂 Right now I think you’re my biggest competitor…. you and the person that makes the samosas! 😉 I don’t think I have a chance of placing this year, because I couldn’t make my dessert fresh this time… I couldn’t make my schedule work out. My entry is currently in Krystal’s freezer waiting for the bake sale :p Best of luck to you! If you use one of my recipes, it will be Great advertisement for me 🙂 So I hope you do well!

  10. HAHA. I’m not being humble. Krystal is a very awesome person and says nice things to me to make me feel better 🙂 And good luck to you too. When they shave my itchy beard off for charity, I can wear a “Sponsored by” t-shirt as long as Krystal approves.

  11. After bookmarking these ages ago, I had to come back and tell you how absolutely amazing these are. I’ll never buy that box again! Thank you so much for trying all the recipes and saving me the work. These are my go-to brownies from now on.

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