The Best Brownies

Growing up, brownies were a staple in our household. They were our Sunday tradition. Every Sunday after church, my sisters and I would race inside to the kitchen, and prepare to make brownies. You spray the pan, you get the eggs and oil, you preheat the oven, and I'll get the mix in the bowl. We bobbed and weaved around my mom preparing dinner. If we timed it just right, the brownies would be done by the time we finished eating dinner. Our friends knew that if they came to the Hampton's after church there would always be brownies. It was our thing! 

The Best Brownies with the perfect soft crackly top!

My younger sister and I always fought over who got to lick the bowl. Just like with sitting shot-gun, you had to be the first to yell "I get the bowl!" to claim your lickin's. Depending on who was getting the bowl, the amount of scraping down the sides of the bowl at the end varied... {Read: mean big sister; me}.. I like to think I was just trying not to waste batter, and making sure the brownies were thick enough! 

The Best Brownies with the perfect soft crackly top!

Another thing we all seemed to differ on was our preference of brownies. Cake-like? Fudgy? Gooey? RAW?! Most of my sisters prefer the super under-baked, gooey brownies. I was usually outnumbered so we went with the slimy, gooey, raw version! {Exaggeration} Don't get me wrong, they're good! But they can be too rich for me, and I usually couldn't eat a whole piece. I prefer fudgy over cake-like, but not too gooey. Moist, but not too moist. Are you catching my drift?

The Best Brownies with the perfect soft crackly top!
The Best Brownies with the perfect soft crackly top!

I had many brownie fails before I was finally found a homemade recipe that sufficed. Too cakey, so lessen the flour and remove the leavening. Then they had a hard crust on top, so I learned not to mix the batter too much after the eggs are added... So on and so on, until these. Finally, the moist, fudgy brownies I have been looking for!

I wanted box-quality brownies without all the add-ins. Homemade brownies from scratch that are just as good, if not better, than the box mix! A light flakey "crust" that is soft! A beautiful crackly top that is the sign (to me) of great brownies. Dense, fudgy, moist, chocolatey goodness. Using brown sugar gives these brownies a nice caramel undertone, and the espresso powder just amps up the chocolate flavor. Coffee or espresso in chocolate baked goods is a great way to enhance the chocolate flavor, and one of my favorite baking tips! You'll need a glass of milk with these. What you won't need, is any other recipe! This is IT.

The Best Brownies with the perfect soft crackly top!
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The Best Brownies
Rich, fudgy, and chewy, these are the best brownies I've ever made!
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tea. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tea. salt
  • 1/2 tea. espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Chop chocolate to small chunks. In a double boiler (or, a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, without touching the water), melt the butter and chocolate together, stirring gently until smooth. Set aside to cool.2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Mix in vanilla. Once chocolate mixture has cooled some and isn't hot to the touch anymore, gently stir it into the egg and sugar mixture. 3. In a small bowl, stir together salt, espresso powder, and flour. Gently incorporate flour mixture into the chocolate batter JUST until combined. This step is crucial to get the crackly top, and a tender brownie-overmixing will produce bad results. 4. Pour batter into a 9x9 pan that is prepared with non-stick spray and parchment paper. Bake at 325 for 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few clinging crumbs. Let the brownies cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into them.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1-9x9 pan