The Best Chewy Brownies

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The Best Chewy Brownies

I recently happened on the best-ever homemade chewy brownies recipe completely by chance.

I wasn’t in the mood for dessert at the time; surprisingly I didn’t have visions of chocolate beckoning to me, and I certainly didn’t think I needed a new brownie recipe. (Especially since the last brownie recipe I shared with you is not only a bit healthier than most, but still completely satisfying.)

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I had about 20 minutes of extra time to kill and two bookcases full of cookbooks with which to waste time. I had been working on an article all day, so in need of a diversion from work, I turned to The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2011, a cookbook I’ve only peeked into maybe once or twice before. As I flipped through the recipes, I stopped at the Easy Cheesy Quiche for Two to ogle it for a moment, then lingered a bit in the seafood chapter (boy do their Maryland Crab Cakes sound divine), and finally flipped to the back of the book. Of course, as any cookbook connoisseur knows, the desserts are lurking back there. I really wasn’t planning to make anything, just doing a little window shopping.

Let me just say, window shopping of any kind is a dangerous practice.

I started reading the intro to their Chewy Brownies recipe. The author mentions how it was a “dicey admission” (and yes, I love that phrase too) to admit to loving box-mix brownies. Who can’t relate to that though? Brownies from a mix are always perfectly textured: chewy inside, slightly crisp on the edges, with that gorgeously crackled top. Oh yes, I could relate, and very well, thank-you-very-much.

And even though I wasn’t planning to make brownies, suddenly that’s all I could think about.

Of course I made them the first chance I got.

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Interestingly enough, the author says that the key to the perfect chewy-textured brownie is all about the fat; or more specifically, the ratio of saturated to unsaturated fat. Here are the ratios they give:

Box Formula (chewy): 28% saturated fat; 72% unsaturated fat

Classic Formula (tender, not chewy): 64% saturated fat; 36% unsaturated fat

This Recipe (chewy): 29% saturated fat; 71% unsaturated fat

I never would have thought that the key to the perfectly-textured brownies lies in its fat ratio, but there you have it. These brownies were everything a chewy brownie should be, this side of a box mix. Plus, they come together quickly and easily in a single bowl. I’m a believer now.

These brownies have to come with a disclaimer though; they are full-fat, full-sugar, and not “light” in any way. But if you cut them small (into 24 pieces, as recommended), I think you’ll find that a small brownie is the perfect size…just enough to satisfy, but not too much to send you crashing off a sugar high later.

If you’re a fan of the boxed variety, this recipe will be your new best friend. And you may just never buy a pre-made brownie mix again.

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The Best Chewy Brownies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: Yields 1 (9 by 13-inch) pan, or 2 dozen (2-inch) brownies
  • Butter, to grease the dish
  • ½ cup (45 g) natural (not Dutch-processed) unsweetened cocoa powder (see note below)
  • 1½ teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 ml) boiling water
  • 2 oz (58 g) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped (see note below)
  • 4 tablespoons (58 g) butter, melted
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 ml) canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups (500 g) sugar
  • 1¾ cups (250 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/16 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (100 g) shelled walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F; grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with butter.
  2. Whisk the cocoa powder, espresso, and boiling water together in a large bowl. Add the chopped chocolate and whisk until melted. Whisk in the butter and oil, and then cool until lukewarm.
  3. Whisk in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla until smooth, then whisk in the sugar.
  4. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, and nuts (if using), and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared dish and bake until a toothpick inserted inside comes out moist with a couple crumbs, about 30 to 40 minutes (see note below).
Recipe adapted from the recipe for Chewy Brownies in The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2011, Boston Common Press (2010).

Cocoa Powder: Although I prefer natural unsweetened cocoa powder for brownies, if you only have Dutch-processed cocoa powder on hand, you can use that instead. Just be sure to omit the baking soda.

Unsweetened Chocolate: I only had semisweet chocolate on hand (60% cacao), so I used 4 oz/115 g of it instead of the unsweetened chocolate; because of this, I reduced the sugar to 2 cups (400 g) and added an additional 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder.

Cooking Time: The recommended cooking time in the book is 30 to 35 minutes in the same size baking dish; however, using the toothpick test to help determine doneness, my brownies took about 35 to 40 minutes in the oven. However, in the book they also line their baking dish with foil, whereas I grease mine with butter; I think maybe the difference in the cooking times was due to the foil conducting heat and cooking the brownies faster for them. Also note that the cooking time may be less in a glass dish rather than a metal dish.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links to products I believe in, which means that even though it doesn’t cost you anything extra, I will receive a small amount of money from the sale of these items, which helps me keep this site alive – thank you for helping to support An Edible Mosaic!

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  1. says

    Brownies are not one of my favorite desserts, they always seem kind of…blah. But these look like they may shake that blah up a bit! Gotta love looking through old cook books. I have so many- totally need to do this!

  2. says

    I totally know what you mean about “window-shopping” in a cookbook lol. These brownies sound like my mom’s version – so decadent and delicious and you are right, a tiny square is usually enough to satisfy!

  3. says

    I love brownies and these are looking awesome. I always use instant espresso powder as well for all my brownie recipes. So much better :-) Your brownies look awesome!!

    • says

      Jena, I haven’t tried this recipe with coconut oil, but I think it should work. Just make sure your coconut oil is melted and cooled if you want to try it.

  4. says

    Hey there! Saw your tweet about my Vidalia onion vinaigrette. So funny that I feel the same way. It could go on just about anything. Anyway, I’m so glad to find your blog. It looks great and your photos are awesome. I’ve been looking for a homemade brownie recipe and this one is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks so much for sharing it!


  5. Minha says

    Hi ! These looked sooper doper yummy! but I don’t know why they didn’t turn out to be CHEWY :s
    I baked for 30 minutes and when I inserted the toothpick it came out clean. Does it mean I baked a little too much ?

    • says

      Minha, Yes, if your toothpick was clean instead of moist with a couple crumbs, the brownies were overcooked. If you left everything else the same (for example, didn’t cut the recipe in half or didn’t use a different sized pan), and they were overcooked in 30 minutes I would think about getting an oven thermometer because it’s not uncommon for built-in thermometers to be off. Oven thermometers are pretty cheap and can be found at most regular grocery stores; that way you’ll know exactly how hot your oven is. Hope this helps!

  6. AGoodCook says

    Okay, I just found the mecca of made from scratch brownies. What’s funny is that, yes, I’m obsessed with box brownies! In the past, I wanted to try making it from scratch, but after reading so many people complain about trying so many brownie recipes and it never being as chewy/fudgy as they’d like, I figured I’d stay with box brownie. Hey, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it right? Well, recently I got in a baking mood (real baking) and decided to research brownies again. So many reviews on the brownie recipes were hit or miss. Then I found your site exclaiming how this is on par (if not better than) with box brownies and then I was sold. Followed the recipe to the T (sans the expresso) and it came out amazingly!!! I will make this again and again! Thank you so much! :-D

  7. TheGlitchEcliptic says

    The recipe reads…

    2 large eggs
    2 large egg yolks

    Does this mean two large eggs with their yolks? Or does it instead mean two large eggs with their yolks, then an additional two yolks without the whites?

    Or put more simply, what is the total number of egg yolks this recipes calls for? *grin*

    • says

      It’s 2 large eggs (the whole eggs with their whites and yolks) plus 2 additional large egg yolks (without their accompanying whites). Hope you enjoy the recipe if you give it a try!

    • says

      Minimelts, I didn’t measure how deep the batter was in a 9 by 13-inch pan; however, if you have two 8X8-inch pans or two 9X9-inch pans (or even an 8X8-inch and a 9X9-inch…or even 2 9-inch pie plates), you can use those instead of one 9X13-inch pan. Or you could always just pour half of the batter into a single 8X8-inch or 9X9-inch and bake it, and then once it’s cooked and cooled, remove the brownies and bake the remaining half of the batter in the same pan. Or even just cut the recipe in half and use one 8X8-inch or one 9X9-inch pan. I hope this helps, and I hope you enjoy the recipe if you give it a try!

  8. Tiffiny says

    Excellent recipe and was chewy and delicious as promised! I even substituted flax eggs for real eggs as my son has an egg allergy and they worked perfectly into the recipe. I made two batches for a preschool potluck and they were gone within 5 minutes of the table opening up! Thank you!

  9. Jeanne says

    Hi, I’m going to make these but I wondered if they are very rich or dark chocolate tasting how you made them? I don’t want them so rich but more normal choclate tasting. (easy to eat up!)

    • says

      Hi Jeanne, These brownies are definitely rich, but they aren’t dark chocolate-tasting. They are a homemade version of box-mix brownies with great texture: chewy inside, slightly crisp on the edges, with that gorgeously crackled top. I hope you enjoy them if you give them a try!

  10. Jeanne says

    hi thank you. they were very tasty. halved the recipe and used 70% Lindt instead of unsweetened and used 1 cup sugar. only I used a 9 inch pie dish and it came out like cubes (not flat pieces) and kinda cakey, crumbly plus dense. probably baked too long but how can I get the chewy texture right?


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