These best brownies by David Lebovitz are chewy fudge brownies that are easy and moist and homemade from scratch and all the things a chocolate brownie ought to be.
Best brownies. That’s quite the claim. We take our superlatives quite seriously and tend to avoid such boastful words as “best.” Still, after tasting these chocolate brownies, we chose to leave “best” in the title intact. The recipe is courtesy of David Lebovitz, and he, too, stands behind the title of this recipe. “I’ve made a lot of brownies in my life, and these really are the best,” says Lebovitz. They’re ever so slightly cakey on the outside, superbly fudgy on the inside, and, in all seriousness, the absolute best brownies through and through. They’re also exceptionally easy to make. Lebovitz learned recipe from the late Robert Steinberg, cofounder of Scharffen Berger chocolate, who in turn had adapted the recipe from a recipe by cookbook author and baking legend Maida Heatter. Originally published April 6, 2010.–Renee Schettler Rossi
David Lebovitz's Best Brownies
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 30 M
- Makes 9 to 12 brownies
- 6 tablespoons unsalted or salted butter (3 oz), cut into chunks, plus more for the pan
- 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 3/4 cup granulated 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
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°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’s completely melted and smooth.
- 4. Remove the pan from the heat and, using a wooden spoon, stir in the sugar and vanilla until combined. Beat in the eggs by hand, 1 at a time. Add the flour and stir, still by hand, with everything you’ve got for 1 full minute—seriously, 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: Seriously folks, if you don’t beat with all you’ve got for an entire minute, the brownies may come out dry and crumbly, and that’s a fate we wish on no one. After a few seconds of stirring the batter may appear to separate, and midway through the minute of stirring it may appear grainy, 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,” all the way on up to 60—you’ll end up with a batter that’s rich, thick, satiny smooth, and glossy as can be, and the brownies that result will have that irresistible crackly surface and fudgy gloriousness. And therein lies the difference between disappointingly mediocre brownies and these absolutely best brownies.]
- 5. Stir in the chopped nuts and scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the center is almost set, about 30 minutes. Do not overbake.
- 6. Place the pan on a wire rack and let the brownies cool completely—yes, we understand how difficult this can be—before removing the brownies from the pan by lifting the foil or parchment paper. Cut the brownies into squares. (In theory, the brownies will keep, covered, at room temperature for up to 4 days and in the freezer for up to 1 month. But c’mon. We both know that’s not going to happen.)
- To add a little bling to these best brownies, stir in any of the following….
1/3 cup chopped dried cherries
1/3 cup cocoa nibs
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.
Recipe Testers Reviews
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.
What a difference 1 minute makes! These brownies are very quick and easy to put together. The vigorous stirring for 1 minute is a must. You can see the very grainy texture before you mix, but as it goes along, everything comes together. I made 2 batches of this best brownies recipe—one with pecans and one without—and they both turned out fantastic. The batch with the nuts almost acted like 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 gone.
Picking the best brownies 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.”
I was craving brownies and needed a brownie fix and SCORE! I had all of the ingredients for these best brownies in my pantry. "Best Brownies" is quite a claim, but this recipe lives up to the name in my book. I have to say, this has instantly taken the spot as my new personal favorite brownie recipe. I love a fudgy but not gooey decadent brownie with a crackly top and just a bit of cake or crumb. And this recipe delivers on a rich, deep, buttery, walnut flavor with a chocolatey goodness I was hoping for. The brownies are somewhat dense but still light. This recipe was so easy to make, especially because I tag-teamed it with my husband and he did all the measuring, stirring, and assembling. (Often when we cook together, I read out the recipe and he cooks to speed up the process. It made for a quick assembly. My husband put this recipe together in less than 5 minutes.) I love that only 1/4 cup of flour was used in the whole recipe. One alteration we made was cutting the sugar down to 1/2 cup and I am glad my husband decided to do so, mainly because we were using Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup) instead of bittersweet. The brownies were almost on the verge of being too sweet but were perfect. For semisweet chocolate, 1/2 cup sugar is enough sweetness, although I would use only 3/4 cup sugar with bittersweet chocolate. I did not toast the walnuts ahead of time but they still tasted toasted in the finished product. We started to smell an intense brownie aroma at 22 minutes and by 25 minutes they looked done with a crackly top and a toothpick coming out practically clean. We pulled the pan out just at the right time. Sorry, we just couldn't wait till they cooled. The brownies were delicately cut into squares and were fine even when slightly warm. Boy, did these make a good brownie sundae!