Robert’s Absolute Best Brownies

Robert’s Absolute Best Brownie Recipe

I have a blanket mistrust of any recipe with a superlative in the title. “The Ultimate” or “The World’s Finest” always makes me raise an eyebrow. But how else can I describe these brownies? I’ve made a lot of brownies in my life, and these really are the best. I learned to make them from the late Robert Steinberg, who changed the world of American chocolate when he cofounded Scharffen Berger chocolate. Part of Robert’s unique charm was that he was quick to argue and that he, like most people who hold strong opinions on things food-wise, was invariably right when you would taste the results.

He adapted his brownie recipe from one by cookbook author Maida Heatter. The first time I made the brownies, they were a dry, crumbly disaster. Unconvinced that they were worthy of their accolades, I listened carefully as he walked me through the steps. When he asked if I had stirred the batter vigorously for 1 full minute, I stammered and then finally admitted that I cut that step short. “Aha!” he said. So I made them again, and discovered that was one life-changing minute.

This recipe takes well to mix-ins. I’ll sometimes add 1/3 cup chopped dried cherries or 1/3 cup cocoa nibs to the batter. To make minty brownies, crush the contents of one 50-gram tin of peppermint Altoids in a sturdy resealable plastic bag. Add the crushed mints to the batter along with the nuts (or, if you prefer, omit the nuts). If you like very minty brownies, add 1/2 teaspoon mint extract along with the crushed mints.–David Lebovitz

LC Absolutely The Best Note

Like David Lebovitz, we, too, take superlatives quite seriously–our editors wield their red pens warily over such boastful words. Still, after tasting these chewy but not gooey brownies, we chose to leave the words “absolute best” in the title intact, for reasons that we think are obvious. Cakey on the outside, fudgy on the inside, and absolutely the best through and through.

Robert’s Absolute Best Brownie Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 30 M
  • Makes 9 to 12 brownies

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted or salted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan
  • 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

Directions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • 2. Line an 8-inch square pan with 2 long lengths of aluminum foil or parchment paper, positioning the sheets perpendicular to one other and allowing the excess to extend beyond the edges of the pan. Lightly butter the foil or parchment. [Editor's Note: The original recipe calls for a 9-inch square pan, although we've had better success with an 8-inch pan.]
  • 3. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the chocolate and stir by hand until it is melted and smooth.
  • 4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla until combined. Beat in the eggs by hand, 1 at a time. Add the flour and stir energetically for 1 full minute—time yourself—until the batter loses its graininess, becomes smooth and glossy, and pulls away a bit from the sides of the saucepan. [Editor's Note: There are two crucial elements in the making of these brownies. One is throwing yourself into the making of them by stirring them "energetically," as the recipe stipulates. The second, also spelled out in the recipe, is making certain you stir the batter thusly for a full minute. It may appear to separate a few seconds into stirring, and it may appear grainy midway through, but when you stir with vigor for a full 60 seconds--and we do mean a full 60 seconds, along the lines of "One Mississippi, two Mississippi..."--you'll end up with a batter that's rich, thick, satiny smooth, and glossy as can be. Therein lies the difference between dry, crumbly brownies and the world's best brownies.] Stir in the chopped nuts.
  • 5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the center feels almost set, about 30 minutes. Do not overbake.
  • 6. Let the brownie cool completely in the pan—this is the difficult part—before lifting the foil or parchment and the block of brownie out of the pan. Cut the brownie into squares. (The brownies will keep well for up to 4 days and can be frozen for up to 1 month.)
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
David Leite

Apr 06, 2010

I made these the other day, and they were incredibly rich, chocolate-y, and oh-so-easy to whip up. I used a wooden spoon to stir it all by hand, and the texture went from grainy to grand in about 1 minute. They were even better the next day when the flavors melded. The next time I make them, I’ll add a bit of espresso powder to kick up the flavor and make it more complex.

Testers Choice
Natalie Reebel

Apr 06, 2010

Anything with “Best” in the title has to be worth a try. The preparation for these brownies is simple and straightforward. The chocolate melted within 90 seconds of being added to the butter. About 25 seconds into the “energetic” mixing section of the recipe, the batter looked like it might separate. I kept up my mixing for the duration of the minute and found that the batter turned glossy and began to pull away from the pan in its entirety—no separating. The brownies baked in 30 minutes and they looked beautiful with their crackly surface. When I cut into them, the brownies were fudgy but in no way underdone. The flavor was superbly rich and chocolatey. The almonds added a bit of crunch and texture. All in all was it the best brownie? I think they’re pretty close to one of the best brownie recipes I’ve ever tried. I think I will continue to test other recipes, though, just to be sure.

Testers Choice
Kim Venglar

Apr 06, 2010

What a difference one minute makes! I made two batches of these brownies–one with pecans and one without–and they both turned out fantastic. These brownies are very quick and easy to put together. The vigorous stirring for one minute is a must. You can see the very grainy texture before you mix but as it goes along everything comes together. The batch with the nuts almost acted like making bread because the batter started pulling away from the side of the pan while you stirred. There is still a slight grainy texture when you finish mixing but that’s okay. It produced a fairly thin, dense, moist, fudgy brownie. I suggest cutting them into 12 bars because these are very sweet. Everyone said they wanted the recipe because it will be the only brownie they make from now on–these brownies are that good. Now all I need to do is make more brownies because both batches are all gone.

Testers Choice
Ellen Fuss

Apr 06, 2010

Picking the best brownie recipe is a lot like picking a favorite child. It just can’t be done. Sometimes you’re in the mood for one, sometimes the other, and sometimes having them both around you at once is the best. And there’s always room for more good ones, just as with these brownies. The recipe worked as written and gave me a fudgy brownie with crisp sides. I used the nuts and found that toasting them really enhanced their flavor. Mixed by hand with a wooden spoon, the batter is easy to make, easy to clean up, and yummy to lick from the spoon. Not sure about absolutely the best, though. Maybe they should be called “absolutely include these in your brownie recipes brownies.”

Comments
Comments
  1. PG says:

    Anytime someone says these are the “best” or “ultimate” brownies, I always have to ask them to qualify their description with what makes these brownies good. Are they cakey/eggy? More fudgelike? Buttery? What might be awesome to one person may be too cakey for another. I personally like my brownies somewhere in the middle, where you can’t tell if it’s more cakey or more fudgey. Something soft in the middle, but with the slightest thin crispness on top.

  2. David says:

    In my ice cream book, The Perfect Scoop, I noted that the world is indeed divided into two types of people: the fudgy brownies and the cake-like brownie folks, so I presented recipes for both…to keep the peace. : ) These are quite rich and dense, so I’d say they lean toward the fudge-like.

  3. Shayne says:

    This recipe is very much like Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for French Chocolate Brownies, which is now my go-to recipe. Definitely the best I’ve ever tasted.

  4. Colleen says:

    With a name like “Absolute Best,” I am going to absolutely have to try these out and see if the name is correct. Thank you so much for the recipe.

  5. Karletta says:

    Dear David(s): I am a great fan of Maida Heatter and wonder if this was Robert’s take-off of her Palm Beach Brownies? That recipe first appeared in the late 70’s in Cuisine magazine. Ah, a trip down a very sweet memory lane. Mary Shanahan was the art director and she used her photographer husband (can’t remember his name) to do some of the very beautiful food photography.
    Thanks for passing this recipe along. I now know what I am going to bake this weekend.
    best,
    K

  6. Yasmine says:

    I usually stick to one brownie recipe that I have been using for almost 5 years, but I’m always open to trying new ones…just in case I find something better. I’m not a fan of nuts in my brownies, I usually mix in shredded coconut and sprinkle some on top before it goes it the oven. I love the way it looks when you cut into it. Bookmarking this recipe for the next time I have a craving for brownies!

  7. Amanda says:

    David, have you ever tried browning the butter before stirring in the chocolate? How much extra butter should be used to compensate for the liquid loss?

    Our apartment of gluttonous UCB students would love to hear your thoughts on this! We worship really only two things: your blog and brownies.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Amanda, it seems David may be busy in the kitchen, so I’m going to respond, given that this seems an urgent question! I’ve relied on brown butter in simple baked goods such as shortbread and butter cookies to great effect, although my hunch is that any enhanced flavor would be lost in this recipe, overwhelmed by the half a pound of quality chocolate. Of course it could make an interesting experiment, and if nothing else, an excuse to bake these brownies…as if you really needed one.

  8. I love the fact that they’re fudge-like. That’s how I like them. I’ll try them!
    Magda

  9. Joanne says:

    I made the “Baked” Altoid Brownies from David’s website and they were simply amazing. Big thumbs up for adding Altoids to brownies.

  10. lisa keys says:

    Such an easy recipe for such a decadent treat. I’ll be good and let them cool in the pan, so I’ll be having them for breakfast.

  11. lisa keys says:

    As promised, I had my brownie for breakfast. These are a fudgy chocoholic’s dream. I liked the contrast in texture of the nuts plus the break they gave from the intense chocolate flavor. Great with a cup of joe.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Oh, the envy you’ve wrought, Lisa. Although you’ve inspired us. Tomorrow, brownies for breakfast…

  12. Tiffany says:

    Hello. I’ve tried the following recipes in search of the perfect brownie (which, to me, is a thick, tall square that straddles the fudge-like and slightly chewy realms): Baked Brownie, Ina Garten’s Outrageous Brownies, Nick Malgeri’s Brownies, Martha Stewart’s Brownies, Nigella’s Brownies, to name a few. I know I’ll be yelled at for tinkering…but I’m going to ask anyhow: If I baked these in an 8-inch square tin, do you think they would take 20 to 25 minutes to be done? Also, would you advise substituting some of the all-purpose flour for undutched (or dutched) cocoa powder? (I have some leftover Valrhona cocoa I want to use up.) Also, what cocoa content of the chocolate you would recommend using in this recipe (60%, 72%, or what about 85%)? Thanks in advance!

  13. Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

    I’m with you on the specifications of your search, Tiffany. No yelling here, just a caution that, given what a precise science baking is, tinkering with a recipe can court either an epiphany or a disaster. So, as I’m sure you know, proceed with caution. As to the baking time, if you used an 8-inch pan, the brownies would actually take slightly longer to bake than the above recipe, given that you propose to bake them in a smaller pan, which in turn causes the batter to be deeper. I’d give them at least 35 minutes. I wouldn’t recommend playing with the proportion of flour, not until you’ve made them at least once. (We find David to be quite adept in the kitchen, you may be surprised at just how perfectly aligned the flavor of just chocolate, as opposed to chocolate and cocoa, is with your criteria.) And as for the cocoa content of the chocolate, that depends entirely on you. If you prefer a drastically dark, intensely bitter flavor, go for the 85 percent. Something in the 70s is going to give you more of an all-around appealing chocolate flavor that still has notes of complexity.

    • Tiffany says:

      Thanks for your helpful feedback, Renee. I’ll give this recipe a whirl without any modifications (a feat for me) and let you know how it goes. I also asked about using an 8-inch baking tin because my new 9-inch square tin from Nordic Ware appears awfully larger than my old one, but perhaps it’s the rounded edges that is giving it that illusion, but I digress.

      • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

        Let us know how it goes! As for the pan size, I’m thinking subbing the 8-inch may wreak a little havoc with the texture, creating an imbalance between perfectly fudgy and chewy. But I know you like your brownies tall, so do as you see fit. And be sure to report back…

        • Tiffany says:

          Hi Renee,

          As promised, here are my thoughts:

          I made the recipe, following the directions precisely and using a 9-inch baking tin, this evening using Valrhona Guanaja chocolate (70% cocoa content). It only took 20 minutes to be done (My oven appears to have a mind of its own. Initially the thermometer was at 350°F but after 10 minutes, it had jumped to 375°F. So as a word of caution to other bakers, make sure you closely monitor your oven temperature!)

          Although this recipe didn’t end up having some of the brownie qualities I desired, I definitely appreciated the meandering riverbed-like crust, its lovely sheen, and almost pate-like texture underneath. Eating the ends of the brownie was a pleasure, too, as they had a slight chewiness to them.

          I chose to use toasted pecans and found that to be complementary to the brownie because it had a haunting sweetness that cut through the richness of the chocolate rather than compete with it (which, in my opinion, hazelnuts would do).

          As for the height, although it wasn’t more than 3/4 inch high, I felt that for this recipe, it was the correct thickness; any higher and the brownie would be too rich.

          Thanks for this recipe!
          Tiffany

  14. Ann C says:

    Going to try this recipe tomorrow and will update you as to my success. They sound yummy. I will follow recipe to a T.

  15. Mary Capps says:

    If I want cakelike brownies, I’ll just have chocolate cake. ;-) That being said, if these lean more toward fudgy, I will definitely be giving them a go!

  16. RisaG says:

    These look amazing. I like that there is so little flour. Next time I bake, probably for the chocolate onslaught of Valentine’s Day, I will make these. I’ll report back.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      We’ll be waiting to hear your report, RisaG…

      • RisaG says:

        I finally made these brownies. I made them on Friday, let them cool, and today I cut them into hearts with a cookie cutter. I tasted them and they are wonderful. Deep and dark chocolatey. I omitted the nuts as my son is allergic and used Ghiradelli 70% cacao and a portion of Valrhona 40% milk chocolate, as I had it on hand. Just wonderful. I would make these again.

        Also I used my silicone brownie pan, which is 8″, not 9″. Worked well.

        Tonight is the big test—giving them to my hubby as part of our Valentine’s Day celebration. We’ll see what Mr. Chocolate says!

        • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

          Lovely, RisaG! Just lovely. Especially the heart cookie cutter. Happy, Happy Love Day! And really, what is love if not defined by chocolate?

          • RisaG says:

            I forgot to write in and let you know what hubby thought. He liked the brownies a lot, and even licked his lips. They were a hit. He ate a second one, and I ate the rest. He doesn’t eat a lot of sweets, but he did like these. I will make them again.

  17. HB says:

    While I was energetically stirring, my batter broke. “Yikes!” I thought, and smeared it into the pan, as the more I stirred the more butter squeezed out. Needless to say, it was a disaster. The brownie sort of fried the whole time it was in the oven. My only deviation from the recipe was I didn’t wait for the eggs to come to room temperature. Should I have dumped the batter in a stand mixer and beat ’til smooth? Would that have worked? Any thoughts?

    • Victoria, LC Recipe Tester says:

      Hi, HB! I made the recipe last night using cold eggs as you did to try to recreate the problem you had. The batter did not break for me and the final outcome was sensational. I am sorry that you encountered this disaster. I’m still trying to figure out what could have gone wrong. Did you mix the melted butter and chocolate until smooth? Did you use real butter? Was the batter grainy after you added the sugar and vanilla? Did it “break” after you added the eggs or after you added the flour? Lastly, what kind of chocolate did you use? Hopefully, we can determine the cause. Will wait to hear back from you. Thank you for your post.

      • David Leite says:

        Victoria, I’m always so impressed with how thorough you are with helping our readers. Danke!

      • HB says:

        Despite the amount of butter, I was worried that direct heat would cause the chocolate to seize so was particularly careful with the melting. The chocolate and butter were very smooth after melting. I used a combination of unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate, the brand of which I don’t recall. It was probably Callebaut. Major bummer. The butter was a supermarket brand. Not my preference but I was so anxious to make these brownies, I compromised and bought what was easily available. Sugar and vanilla went in no problem.

        The batter broke after all ingredients were in, including the flour (King Arthur AP). It started out smooth and stayed smooth. It just went greasy during the “full minute.” I could’ve poured off the butter, it was so broken. I don’t think I actually made it a full minute with the stirring.

        BTW I was using a silicon spatula, my tool of choice when working with melted chocolate. Once the batter broke, it seemed like it was making matters worse, somehow pressing more butter out. Maybe a wooden spoon would have helped emulsify the batter?

        Thanks so much for your help! I have a bar of Scharffenberger waiting to make another batch.

        • Victoria, LC Recipe Tester says:

          Hi HC. I apologize..I thought I entered a response to this last week. Not sure what happened there. Anyway, I am unclear what could have happened with your intial batch. If you are certain you measurered the chocolate and butter correctly, it should have worked out fine. Who knows, maybe one of the ingredients was bad. With that said, I would hope you will use that wonderful bar of chocolate and try it again. I personally used Ghiradelli 60% Cacao chocolate and Land O’ Lakes butter. The results were amazing.

          Regarding your question about trying to “unbreak” the batter by putting it in a stand mixer is intriguing. I think I would have considered that as well, adding maybe a teaspoon of flour at a time (up to 3) while mixing. Hopefully, when you repeat the recipe, you won’t have to even think about it because it will turn out perfectly.

          Please let us know how your second time around works out.

          Thanks for writing in!

          • Sara Sears says:

            I had the same thing happen. My batter was fine, I melted everything on low, then when I added the King Arthur all-purpose flour and stirred, the batter totally broke. I added it to my stand mixer but that didn’t help. I used Lindt Excellence 70% and 85% cocoa chocolate bars. I was so disappointed. Rather than try to bake it anyway, I added more sugar and one more egg, more flour, and I just made cookies out of it. I spent too much money on the ingredients for me to waste it! I would love to hear if anyone figures out why this happens. My eggs were not totally room temperature; I had them in warm water for a few mins, so not toally cold, but probably not as warm as they needed to be. And I did use one ounce of Scharffen Berger Unsweetened Dark Chocolate….

            • David Leite says:

              Hi, Sara. I’m so sorry to hear you had a problem with the recipe. As I said above, I’ve made it many times without any problems. You made some changes and substitutions that could have affected the final results. There is a significant difference between semisweet and unsweetened chocolate. Also, not having the eggs at room temperature could cause the mixture to seize. Did you mix vigorously with a wooden spoon for just 1 minute? That really is what makes the difference.

              But I’ll get our Never Cook Naked guys, Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein, to weigh in here.

              • Sara Sears says:

                David,
                Thank you so much for your reply and tips. I will definitely be trying these again. They look so good :)

  18. Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

    Hi HB,

    I’m so sorry to hear about your “fried” brownies. How long do you think that you stirred the batter? I have one of our testers giving the recipe a once-over tonight to see if she can recreate your problems. Will let you know.

    Beth

  19. Marina says:

    I tried these brownies last week and they were excellent! Very easy to make and only one saucepan to clean. :)
    I baked them today again but with fructose instead of sugar. They came out good too. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  20. betsy kreuter says:

    I have now made these brownies twice in three days! My co-workers love me as they are the recipients of my baking. I LOVE this recipe. Easy and oh so good. I used bittersweet chocolate chips from King Arthur and tart dried cherries with walnuts in the brownie and semisweet chocolate chunks on top. WOW are they good! Thank you for my new favorite brownie recipe.

    • Allison Parker says:

      Glad you (and your coworkers) love them. The dried cherries sound lovely, right up my alley, as that’s a favorite combination of mine: good dark chocolate and tart dried cherries. Twice in three days, though? We’re impressed. Thanks for taking time to let us know you’ve found a new favorite.

  21. Lyn says:

    So good, so easy–My son and I send our love and gratitude.

  22. Fernanda says:

    Do you think I can make cupcakes with this recipe?

    • David Leite says:

      Fernanda, I have seem mini brownie bites made in cupcake tins, so I’d say yes. BUT, this recipe is too dense and rich for that. You need a more cakey brownie recipe.

      • Fernanda says:

        That’s what I was thinking…do you have any recipe to recomend? I want to make brownies for a birthday this weekend and I can not find one recipe that pleases me….

        • David Leite says:

          Fernanda, we tend toward the fudgy type of brownie on the site. I have made these, and they are delicious. Melt-in-you-mouth goodness. Why not make them and cut them into smaller squares?

          • Fernanda says:

            Definitely I will try this recipe! I’m a fudge brownie person, too! But for this occasion I need to bake a brownie cupcake, as that is the bithday request. I can tell from the picture, I can almost feel the smell…uhmmmm.

  23. Anna JM says:

    I just made these brownies. They are to DIE for! Absolutely decadent.

    The brownies were a smidge on the lighter side of chocolate. I think I would change it to a max of half 60% cacao and half bittersweet. I like my brownies with little, partially melted chocolate chunks in them, but when I put my bittersweet chunks in, they melted. Anyway, does anyone have recipes for getting good chunks in there? I think I may have simply not put enough in, but if anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Anna, terrific to hear that you, too, found these brownies to be mad crazy decadent! Our recipe testers concur. As to those chunks of chocolate, I’m not certain if this will work, but in the past I’ve made brownies where the chunks didn’t melt by first freezing the chocolate chunks. I’m sharing your query with some of our baking specialists and asking them to weigh in. Anyone else have a chunky brownie tactic?

      • Anna JM says:

        Funny that you mention freezing the chunks. I thought of exactly that right after posting! I will have to try this.

    • David says:

      Glad you like the brownies! To add chocolate chunks, use regular chocolate chips (not chopped chocolate) – most chocolate chips are made of “baking resistant” chocolate and are designed not to melt much. I know certain manufacturer’s are now making those in larger chips or even chunks (both much bigger than standard chips). So I would give those a try.

  24. Keith says:

    These are REALLY absolutely the best brownies I have ever made. I googled “best brownie recipe” three days ago. I have the fourth batch in the oven now. They are so good I am taking them to holiday parties. This batch goes to a party tomorrow. Thanks for this recipe! They really are amazing.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Wow–that’s certainly a testament to the recipe. Glad to hear you agree, Keith. Thanks for letting us know…

  25. Sharon Rutman says:

    OK. I have reread the ingredients and have followed them to a T. Mine look like a boiling mess of brown stuff and it has been 36 minutes. I have made many recipes and this appears to be missing an ingredient. I am wondering if it needs baking powder or soda…? It doesn’t seem to work at all….

    • David Leite says:

      Hi Sharon, sorry you had a problem. I’ve been making these brownies ever since they were posted on the site and they always turned out wonderful. There isn’t an ingredient missing. Tell me, did you mix the batter, exactly as he said, exactly 1 minute? And you used all-purpose flour? Do you happen to have a photo of it? That might be able to help us narrow things down.

  26. Christine Chronis says:

    And I thought Lebovitz’s Dulce de Leche Brownies were the absolute best. Can’t wait to try these.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Christine, perhaps a side-by-side comparison is in order? Let us know which wins, although we have a sneaking suspicion as to which it will be…

  27. Kate rogers says:

    Instead of 1min vigorous stirring, could a hand mxer be used? :)

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      You know, Kate, I don’t see why not, although it’s funny, none of us have tried! I guess we got so caught up in the one minute…! Naturally your timing will be different, just look to see when the batter goes from almost separated to grainy to thick and satiny smooth. And do let us know how it goes, and how long you beat the batter, please and many thanks!

  28. Malin says:

    Unlike you, I don´t have any mistrust towards recipes claiming to be “the best” – it makes me feel I have to try them! I don´t want to miss out on the best things in life! ;) And particularly brownies, because I haven´t found a recipe to meet my demands of the perfect brownie. Yet. Guess I have to roll up my sleeves and get baking! ;)

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Oh, Malin, to be young and trusting once again! Love your perspective, thanks for a worthy reminder. And yes, roll up your sleeves, give these a whirl, and let us know if your search ends here…

  29. Paula B. says:

    I finally jumped into brownie baking two years ago and am immensely enjoying “the journey”. Felt the urge to try a new recipe today and a Google search led me here. I don’t think I can wait until the pan cools, agghhh! So funny, I finally read all the comments after the brownies came out of the oven. I did add chocolate chips to my batter because who doesn’t love more chocolate, and I didn’t check the size pan but my brownies always seem to be done way before what a recipe calls for. I took these out at seventeen minutes, toothpick came clean! Oh, and I used straight from the fridge eggs -doesn’t appear to have affected the outcome. Kitchen smells heavenly. Alas, I must wait on my final verdict because the directions forbid me to cut before cooled…..

    • Lindsay Myers says:

      Excellent reporting, Paula, thanks. And though it’s sooo tough to wait for all that chocolatey goodness (as one with a perpetually-burned tongue, I know), it’ll be worth it!

  30. M. Hafner says:

    Since I like my brownies tall and double depth, I make twice the amount of batter for a standard brownie form. The trick is to bake it so the middle is not raw anymore but the crust is not burnt or too thick and dry. For that I’m adding some more flour and baking for 45 to 50 minutes instead of 30. Works fine that way.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Temptress! Looks like we’ll be making these yet again…. Seriously, M., thank you for the trick.

  31. Manisha says:

    Brownies are in the oven now – will let you know how they turn out!!! very excited because I had no problems with the batter, looked gorgeous, tasted creamy and smooth… praying for the best brownies ever :-) will be topping them with a chocolate espresso glaze :-) x

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      We’re standing by, waiting to hear how things go, Manisha…!

      • Manisha says:

        Ok – by FAR FAR FAR FAR FAR the BEST brownies ever made. Not much more to say, other than absolutely amazing recipe :-)

        • Julie Dreyfoos, LC Production Manager says:

          Sounds like a hands down winner for you Manisha, so glad to hear that you agree with us. Cause they really are some of the best..

  32. Karla says:

    I’m a brownie lover, and I’m always looking for the perfect one. I found this recipe and after reading all the comments—yes, ALL of them—I decided to give this recipe a try. Especially after the clever explanation from Loreto and the 30% cakey, 70% fudgy description. This sounded like the perfect brownie to me.

    I followed the recipe exactly as written, with the exception of adding 1 tsp of espresso powder to the melted chocolate & butter mixture. For the chocolate, I used 3 oz of Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips and 5 oz of Nestle semi sweet chips (I ran out of the Ghirardelli chips).

    I was a little concerned during the recommended one-minute mixing. I used a wire whisk and even when I felt like my arm was going to fall off from mixing “vigorously”, the texture never really seemed to get that satiny smooth feel everyone was mentioning. Mine was still grainy even after the full minute and then some. I continued with the recipe and added toasted walnuts, used an 8×8 pan, and baked them for 28 minutes (my oven tends to run on the hot side).

    I baked them last night and painfully waited until this morning to cut into them. Oh-my-dear-brownie-heaven!!! They were absolutely scrumptious! This recipe is the answer to all my brownie prayers.

    I can’t believe how easy this recipe is. The most difficult part was to wait to cut into them.

    So, thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe.

    Oh and yes, I had one for breakfast!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Well! If that isn’t one of the best comments ever, I don’t know what is, Karla. We so appreciate you sharing your story with us. And if I may say so, I’m quite envious of your breakfast. Perhaps I shall try that one of these days….

  33. Jade says:

    I am a huge fan of David Lebovitz and, oddly enough, came across this site while hunting for the best bolognese recipe. Made Marcella Hazan’s recipe, which is also found on this site. Later, I happened to be searching for the best brownie recipe and this site popped up again :) I made Robert’s brownie recipe, but have to say that I was disappointed.

    I’m not sure if it was the chocolate that I used – Scharffen Berger 62%. I was not a fan of the odd fruity/wine taste of the chocolate in the brownie. Do you think it was the chocolate that I used? One would think that Robert’s brownies would have turned out even better using Scharffen Berger chocolate. Has anyone tried the recipe using Scharffen Berger? Should I stick with Ghiradelli? I know David L. used G&B chocolate.

    I also found it much too fudge-like. I don’t think I underbaked it either. Maybe adding another egg would work (?). Perhaps I’ll attempt it again using a different chocolate…back to the kitchen :(

    P.S. I’m thrilled to have found this site and will be ordering The New Portuguese Table. My family is Portuguese and I thoroughly enjoyed checking this site out. Hawaii also has a large Portuguese population, but no authentic Portuguese restaurants, except for a few bakeries. We were just in Boston, but had no idea about Fall River! I’ll be adding Fall River to my itinerary the next time we head east.

    • David Leite says:

      Hi, Jade. I, too, find fine chocolate to have a fruity/berry flavor to it. I don’t find it unpleasant; actually, I like it. So you’re not alone.

      As far as texture, this is indeed a fudgy brownie. No cakey treat here. I wouldn’t mess with the proportion of the ingredients because it’s such a bare-bone, simple recipe that it could throw it off. My suggestion is to check out some of the other wonderful brownie recipes we feature.

      I hope you enjoy The New Portuguese Table, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!

    • Karla says:

      Jade, if you visit the Northeast and go to Fall River for some Portuguese flavor, be sure to add New Bedford to your itinerary as well. It’s about 15 minutes east of Fall River, and it’s like little Portugal over there!

      Hope you find your perfect brownie recipe. For me, this one was it. I’m making them again today.

      • David Leite says:

        Jade, I can second Karla, as I was born in Fall River and grew up across the river in Swansea. And this is my go-to brownie, too.

  34. Sas Jacobs says:

    These look amazing. I’ve been looking for a fudgy brownie recipe for a while so I’m going to try making these today. Fingers crossed!!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Sas, they are amazing. Still, our fingers are crossed, too. Let us know how it goes….

  35. Lisa says:

    Baking these for my sister-in-law as she prepares for the final leg of her first semester in college. Question: Because this is a more fudgy than cakey recipe, how do I know absolutely that they’re done? I’m so used to sticking a toothpick in them and waiting till it comes out clean….

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Lisa, that’s a really good question. It’s actually one that we asked our Never Cook Naked columnists to address. Here’s what they have to say….kindly let us know how it goes! And so sweet of you to do that for your sis-in-law. Here’s hoping you’re making a double batch and keeping some for yourself.

  36. Rasha jones-Warren says:

    Just made these tonight. OMG. They were amazing… best ever. So fudgy! This is my new go-to brownie recipe. My family thanks you!!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Hurrah, Rasha! We are high-fiving you as we type. You and your family are quite welcome. We appreciate you letting us know (And yes, the fudge factor on these is ridiculous, is it not?!)

  37. Oonagh says:

    It’s true. They are the best brownies in the world. My only problem now is keeping my 6 year old away from the tin! Thanks you guys, and thank you David.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Hah. Oonagh, lovely to hear your experience was just as knee-wobbling as ours. Appreciate you letting us know. As for your dilemma, sounds like you need some more high shelves in your kitchen….

  38. Ellen says:

    If I bake in 9″ by 13″ inch pan, how many minutes does it take to be done?

    I made it in 9″ by 9″ inch pan and cut it to 16 pieces. Everyone loves it. I am going to double recipe using 9″ by 13″ pan.

    Thanks!

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi Ellen, please take the advice of someone who has tried doubling baking recipes and don’t do it. Baking is such a precise science and you would have much better results if you just baked two batches of brownies.

  39. Thomas Marzahl says:

    I thought I had posted my reply but hit the wrong button: first time poster and recent discoverer of Leite’s Culinaria, from Berlin. With a toddler and another baby on the way my time is limited but I hope to try out recipes as I can…

    I would so love to make this recipe as I am always on the lookout for new and great brownies. But alas, I find myself in Germany – for the long haul – and am without an 8×8 inch pan. I have a couple of 9x13s, and other baking instruments… but I blanched at Beth’s warning of doubling a recipe. There are, to the best of my knowledge, no 20×20 cm square pans to be had around here.

    Any ideas or tips for this semi-distraught expat?

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi Thomas, are you able to locate a 9 x 9? I would be inclined to give that a try.

      • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

        Thomas, I’m typically not a proponent of baking in aluminum, but perhaps you could fashion your own baking pan using several sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil, a ruler, and some careful folding and creasing?

      • Thomas Marzahl says:

        I’ve since researched a bit here and there and find that 9×9 pans are available mail order from Austria (made of aluminum)—who woulda thunk it—that’s also a size I don’t have. Am wary of getting an el cheapo pan via Amazon in Germany…. Since glass is also available, I would guess that Renee would advocate getting a glass pan?

        • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

          Indeed, Thomas. I doubt you’ll regret it, as the size is quite versatile. It can work for roasting a hen or heating up leftovers or, well, making these brownies over and over and over again. Do let us know how it goes….

  40. Jenny says:

    I have never made brownies before, but I just made these brownies tonight for a bake sale, and they are definitely chewy and fudgy inside, with a little crunchy skin on top! A hundred times better than brownies from restaurants! I don’t have a 9×9 inch pan, I used my 9×13, put a 9×4 pound cake mold inside to fill up the space, then lined with foil. The eggs were just out of refrigerator, too cold for the recipe, so I soaked them in a cup of hot water for three mins (not boiling hot, just 140°F) while I was melting chocolate with butter, as warm eggs are easier to incorporate into batter than cold eggs. I also put some roughly chopped Oreos on the bottom, then poured the batter over the cookies. Baked at 350°F for 30 mins, center was rather sticky and wet (batter-like) but I decided to pull them out and let the remaining heat from the mold “cook” the brownies a bit more. I have to say they are heavenly! (Even with cheap Hershey chocolate!)

  41. hamais says:

    Anyone tried 1 tablespoon butter, 1/2 cup honey, 1/4 cup whole wheat flour plus other items to have a low calorie,low fat brownie?

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi Hamais, I have to admit- I’m really a full fat, blow your diet kind of brownie eater. If you’re going to splurge, make it fabulous!

  42. Dinonut says:

    I read through all the comments, just drooling over the tasting results and dying to try them myself. However, I noticed that no one asked for a gluten-free conversion, or is that verboten for decadent brownies? Hoping for a reply….

  43. Ruth says:

    Hey, I tried this recipe, it’s the first one I have found that doesn’t turn out dry and cake-like, but I have a problem. My brownies have turned out *really* gooey each time. The taste is divine, but they are too gooey. Re-reading this I saw that they should be chewy, not gooey, so I was wondering if you could help me out. I followed your recipe exactly, except I didn’t add the nuts (I’m not a fan of nuts). I did use a different shaped pan since my square one is missing. The pan is 8×11, so I thought that since the pan is bigger, the brownies would cook faster. Not so. I do live at a high altitude, over 4,200 feet. Should I make any adjustments, or is it my pan?

    • David Leite says:

      Ruth, so glad you liked these brownies. They are one of my all-time favorites.

      There are a few things you can try at high altitude that could help:

        • Decrease the oven temperature by 25°F

        • Increase the flour from 1 tablespoon to 1/3 cup. (I’d start with an extra tablespoon or two)

        • Increase the baking time by up to 10 minutes

  44. Justin + Amy says:

    We tweaked the recipe and used an avocado instead of butter at The Chubby Vegetarian, and man, what a great recipe!

    • Beth Price says:

      Thanks so much Justin and Amy, know that our vegetarian readers will really appreciate this.

  45. Talar from Paris, FR says:

    Hi! Just found this recipe, and I’m curious about the “stirring furiously” step. Should this be done only by hand, or can I use some kind of blender? I know that flour can become very gluttenous if overbeaten.

    • David Leite says:

      Hi Talar, the recipe says by hand, and that really is the best way. Please let us know how it turns out!

  46. vlnshosh says:

    These brownies are INCREDIBLY delicious! My new favorite recipe. I added 1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts and a little less than 1/4 cup cacao nibs.

    Interesting to note that I’ve previously experienced the same problem as other commenters when baking brownies where the batter breaks and it’s incredibly oily and doesn’t bake properly. Could the weather be a factor in this? The road to this result is inconsistent as far as my ingredients are concerned; it has happened when I’ve used butter and also when I’ve used coconut oil.

    But this recipe came out perfectly on the first try, so I was very pleased.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Terrific to hear, Vinshosh! Many, many thanks for letting us know. As for your suggestion that the weather may play a role in wreaking havoc with this recipe, we think it tends to happen when the batter isn’t beaten vigorously enough or long enough, although it’s quite possible that the humidity or temperature or, heck, the barometric pressure also have an effect. Or the full moon, maybe? Mercury in retrograde? Seriously, though, we think it’s mostly related to the beating of the batter. But swell to hear that you’ve had none of that trickiness with this recipe.

  47. Leticia says:

    Hi! I made this recipe twice and it was a huge success! The first time I used about 3/4 Lindt 70% chocolate and 1/4 Lindt 50%. I love dark chocolate but found them super dark so the second time I used half 70% chocolate and half 50%. Both times it was melt in your mouth texture and “can’t stop at just one” quality.
    I would like to make them a bit less sweet. I know I could go for a darker chocolate, but other than that, do you think I could reduce the amount of sugar, and by how much? Would it alter the texture too much?
    Also, I have been asked to make spicy brownies, but I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to spicy food. I’ve found recipes for chipotle brownies. Could that be a possible add on to this recipe? How much do you suggest, of that or any other spice?
    Thank you!

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi Leticia, we haven’t tested these with optional spices because we just gosh darn love them the way they are. It sounds like you had fun mixing up the chocolate to suite your taste so I would do the same with the spices. Maybe try adding a bit of cinnamon and chipotle powder? Let us know what amounts you used, we may have a new variation!

  48. Pat Porter says:

    This has been my “go to” recipe for the past six months. I make them at least once each week, as my friends will not allow otherwise. Also, I paid proper money for the book, “Ready for Dessert,” where I discovered this recipe and so much more. I highly recommend this book, as well as all of his books, all of which I own. He is my pastry god.

    So here is my story: I was catering a party, and making 4x the batch, meaning that I needed to add 1 cup of flour and 3 cups of sugar. Well….I thought I was using a one-cup measuring scoop, and on the morning of the party, realized that I had used a 3/4 cup instead. Oh no! And believe it or not, they came out even better! The folks at the party went absolutely wild for them, and when I told them of my mistake, they said that I must always follow this “mistake” in the future, which is what I now do. BTW, I use Etoile du Nord 64% from E. Guittard.

  49. Kelley Butler says:

    Awesome brownies. It was wise to leave Absolute Best in the title. We prefer the fudgy to the cakey as well. I added chocolate chips to the top as we have a child with a nut allergy (of all things to be allergic to) and the chips gave it another texture as would the nuts. Just my 2 cents…

  50. Leisa says:

    These are quite good–fudgy with a lovely top crust. I would suggest humbly the addition of a bit of salt to this recipe. I made these with unsalted butter. I also had a melange of chocolates to use up, and it is a great way to have a chocolate cocktail of sorts.

    I used a heavy wire wisk to to the heavy stirring, and I found that it was more efficacious than using a spoon. I baked in a 9 inch, foil lined cake pan. They were perfect. Thank you for this recipe.

    • David Leite David Leite says:

      Leisa, I think baked good always benefit from a pinch of salt. And I think David Lebovitz does, too. I think he was being truthful to the source in this one. But I’m so glad you like it. It’s my favorite brownie recipe.

      • Leisa says:

        I’ve now made these brownies three times, and they are my go-to. Rave reviews. Luscious, intense flavor. Made them for my father for Father’s Day. Here are my lay cook’s notes. The addition of salt (as I noted before) is an absolute (for my tastes anyway); abandoning the wooden spoon for a hand mixer is another change. I made this change this batch, and there was no difference other than a noticeable lack of arm fatigue! I always fork scramble any called for eggs prior to adding them. So much easier to pour gently a scramble than plopping a whole egg into a concoction–particularly a warm concoction with no separate tempering step. I use Valrhona 64% Manjari chocolate feves. Simple reminder that to bring eggs quickly to room temperature, fill a bowl with hot tap water and set your eggs in their water spa while arranging other ingredients. They will then be relaxed and ready for use!

  51. I’m making these right now, but dairy free! Fingers crossed they come out as good as these look!

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Send it along. Covet one of those spiffy pictures of yourself to go along with your comment? Get a free Gravatar. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

*

Daily Subscription

Enter your email address and get all of our updates sent to your inbox the moment they're posted. Be the first on your block to be in the know.

Preview daily e-mail

Weekly Subscription

Hate tons of emails? Do you prefer info delivered in a neat, easy-to-digest (pun intended) form? Then enter your email address for our weekly newsletter.

Preview weekly e-mail