There are many different clans out there when it comes to brownie preferences: some like theirs cakey, some like theirs chewy while others prefer theirs fudgy.
Some appreciate the addition of nuts to the batter, others prefer them to be sprinkled on top, while others prefer their brownies to remain “nut-less”. Some are totally in favor of covering theirs with a thick layer of frosting while others prefer to keep them naked, with a crackly tops.
Some even go gaga for blonde brownies!
Me? I like mine dark, real dark, dense and fudgy.
Fudgy AND frosted, with a THICK layer of dense, sweet and intensely chocolaty frosting. Oh, and as you can probably tell by the pictures, I’m all for adding nuts to the batter, and lots of them! And then sprinkle more on top. Not only nuts, but chocolate chips, too! You can never get too much chocolate, can you?
If you’re on the same page with me with all of the above, then you will absolutely ADORE these brownies. Every single person who tasted them said that they were absolutely-out-of-this-world INSANE! Positively the best brownies they’d ever tasted.
I have to say that it was my favorite brownie ever, as well. So much so, I already know I’ll be using this recipe as a base for many, many different variations. I’ve got plans in my mind for Chewy Turtle Brownies, loaded with Salted Caramel and toasted pecans, as well as a Creamy Peanut Butter Swirl variety.
Honestly, though, these brownies are so decadent just as they are, they really don’t need much of anything else.
I’m absolutely convinced that you will agree just as soon as you’ll sink your teeth into one…
- 3/4 cup (175g | 6oz) butter, melted
- 1-2/3 cup (250g | 9oz) finely chopped unsweetened chocolate
- 2 cups (400g | 14.1oz) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp instant coffee granules (optional)
- 1 tbsp hot water
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract (store-bought or homemade)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1½ cup (180g | 6.3oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (180g | 6.3oz) semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
- 1 cup (100g | 3.5oz) walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
- 3/4 cup (115g | 4oz) finely chopped unsweetened chocolate, melted
- 1/4 cup (60g | 2oz) butter, softened
- 3 cups (360g | 12.75oz) powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp instant coffee granules (optional)
- 6 tbsp boiling water
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9” square baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper, leaving a bit of an overhang on either side for easier unmolding.
- Pour the melted butter over the finely chopped chocolate and stir until smooth. Finish melting the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave. Make sure that you don't let the chocolate get too hot, as it would cook the eggs if it did. Just let it get hot enough so all the chocolate gets completely melted.
- In a separate bowl, put the sugar, eggs, coffee granules (that you will have previously diluted in the hot water) vanilla and salt. Mix with a fork until just until combined, no more. You do not want to overmix this mixture, as you do not want to incorporate air into those eggs. Delicately fold in the melted chocolate mixture.
- Add the flour all at once and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), mixing once again just until combined, no more.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread to an even thickness. Bake for 38 to 40 minutes, or until the edges are firm to the touch but the center is still somewhat soft. Do not overbake! Take the brownies out of the oven and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Dilute the instant coffee in the hot water.
- Place the melted chocolate, butter, powdered sugar and about half the coffee in a large mixing bowl. Mix carefully with a wooden spoon or with an electric mixer ON LOW SPEED until the icing starts to come together. Add more coffee, about a teaspoon at a time, and mix well with the electric mixer on medium-high speed between each addition, until you get your icing to the desired consistency.
- When the brownies are fully cooled, frost them with the icing and then sprinkle with a little bit of extra chopped walnuts and chocolate chips, if desired.
- Refrigerate for about an hour for easier slicing.
Step-by-step instructions and pictures
First, let’s make the batter
Chop your chocolate SUPER thinly and put it in a large mixing bowl. Put your flour in a separate bowl. In a 3rd bowl, dump your granulated sugar and salt. Prepare your eggs and keep them handy, but don’t add them to the sugar just yet. You want to do that at the last minute, as sugar will cook the egg yolks if it stays in contact with them for too long. Have your vanilla extract ready.
Chop and measure the walnuts, measure your chocolate chips, dilute the instant coffee granules in hot water.
Now pour the melted butter over the finely chopped chocolate and stir until well combined.
Chances are, the heat from the butter alone will not be enough to fully melt the chocolate, so you’ll have to finish melting it over a double boiler or in the microwave.
Whatever you do, make sure that you don’t let your chocolate get too hot: it would cook the eggs if it did. Just let it get hot enough so all the chocolate gets to melt completely and becomes silky smooth.
You can now add the eggs to the sugar and salt, as well as the coffee granules that you previously diluted in the hot water. Add a generous splash of vanilla extract.
About the instant coffee, it’s not absolutely mandatory that you use it, but I strongly recommend that you do. It will not confer any of its flavor to the brownies, but rather will greatly deepen the flavor of the chocolate, making your brownies EXPLODE with a crazy rich and intense chocolate flavor.
Take my word for it.
Mix with a fork until just until combined, no more. You do not want to get over zealous with this mixture, as you do not want to incorporate any air into those eggs.
Pour in the melted chocolate…
and delicately fold it in with a rubber spatula. Again, do not over-mix.
Add the flour all at once…
…and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined.
Fold in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), mixing once again just until combined, no more.
Now try with all your might not to eat the whole lot of this batter straight from the bowl!
Instead, pour that batter right into the prepared pan and spread to an even thickness.
Then you can lick the bowl and spatula. I promise I won’t tell!
Bake the brownies for 38 to 40 minutes, or until the edges are firm to the touch but the center is still somewhat soft. Do not overbake!
Take the brownies out of the oven and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
Now for some frosting
Again, dilute the instant coffee granules in the hot water. And again, you don’t HAVE to use the coffee if you don’t want to. You could use only water, of even milk or cream, if you preferred. But the coffee will do to your frosting exactly what it did to the batter. BAM! Double crazy intense chocolate explosion! I’m all for that!
So place the melted chocolate, butter, powdered sugar and about half the coffee (or water, or milk, or cream) in a large mixing bowl. Mix carefully with a wooden spoon or with an electric mixer ON LOW SPEED until the icing starts to come together.
Add more coffee, about a teaspoon at a time…
… and mix well with the electric mixer on medium-high speed between each addition, until you get your icing to the desired consistency.
Don’t go add too much liquid at once, because you’ll see that a little goes a long way. A teaspoon can make a hell of a difference, so don’t be tempted to add it all at once.
Patience is the name of the game!
When the brownies are fully cooled, spread the icing in an even layer across the top…
Make a cute little decorative pattern with a decorative comb, if you so desire.
Sprinkle with a little bit of extra chopped walnuts and chocolate chips, if you’re a member of this clan!
Refrigerate the brownies for about an hour for easier slicing.
I know, I know… at this point, it’s pure torture. All you want is to sink you teeth into one of these babies. Well, think of something else. Go for a walk, hit the gym or something. This is well worth waiting for.
If you’re gonna leave the house, though, you might want to put a lock on that fridge of yours. You wouldn’t want your precious confection to mysteriously disappear in your absence, now would you?