Today, I present my little black dress of dessert recipes: One Bowl Brownies.
This brownie recipe is the product of a long, obsessive, chocolate-stained quest to find the perfect homemade fudge brownie recipe. This one is easy to make, dirties just one bowl and one spoon, and best of all, can be in your oven 15 minutes from now.
Why I Love These One Bowl Brownies
- They’re ultra soft and chewy.
- They’re unapologetically fudgy and chocolaty.
- They’re quick and easy to prepare—I don’t know about you, but when I want a brownie, I want it five minutes ago. The last thing I need standing between myself and my dessert is complicated prep work or a pile of dirty mixing bowls.
- They’re endlessly customizable. In fact, I’ve included 10 of my favorite one bowl brownie mix-ins and toppings at the end of this post, though to be honest, they are quite magnificent just as they are.
This one-bowl brownie recipe uses cocoa powder, which I’ve actually come to prefer over brownie recipes that call for solid chocolate. Cocoa brownies are softer and chewier than their solid chocolate counterparts, and cocoa powder actually has a more intense chocolate flavor too.
For the boxed-brownie fans in the audience, one bowl brownies with cocoa powder have a similar texture, but they taste better beyond compare, and I love knowing exactly what is in them too. As an added bonus, One Bowl Brownies also boast that elusive, shiny, crackly top layer—boxed brownie devotees, you know the one.
For those who swear by solid chocolate brownies and have yet to be convinced by cocoa, I’m begging you to give this recipe a go. If you don’t believe it’s fudgy enough, the giant handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the batter will convince you. Plus, did I mention there’s only ONE bowl to wash versus the THREE that most solid chocolate brownie recipes require?
If I could only have one version of one bowl brownies for life, I’d choose the original with chocolate chips—they’re classic, supremely satisfying, and make my brownie-loving heart go pitter-patter. Every now and then, however, it’s fun to dig through my pantry and see what bits I have leftover to give the brownies a little extra pizzazz. Here are 10 of my favorites.
The BEST One Bowl Brownies, 10 Different Ways
All of these should be chopped first, then folded into the batter just before baking.
- Chocolate covered espresso beans
- Oreos (and all of their derivative flavors)
- You favorite candy bar (Reeses peanut butter cups, Rolos, and Snickers are all winners)
- Freeze-dried raspberries
- Andes mints (for you chocolate-mint lovers)
- Caramel sauce (drizzle on after the brownies are baked. I swear by Deb’s recipe.)
- Chopped pretzels (try combining with the caramel sauce above. Heaven.)
- Sea salt (also excellent when combined with either caramel or hot fudge.)
- Mini marshmallows and chopped graham crackers (sprinkle over the baked brownies, then place the brownies in the oven for 2-4 minutes, until the marshmallows melt. Ta-dah! Another take on these S’mores Brownie Bites.)
- This mocha cream cheese frosting
My current favorite one bowl brownie twist: Mix chopped pecans into the batter, then top with caramel sauce and crushed pretzels. It’s salty-sweet seduction.
Tools Used to Make This Recipe
So, who else is baking brownies this weekend?
One Bowl Brownies
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus 2 tablespoon (Dutch process cocoa will yield an even more intense brownie)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour or substitute all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or up to 2/3 cup of any desired mix-ins: nuts, peanut butter cups, chopped chocolate-covered espresso beans, or any of the ideas I’ve listed in the post above
- Place a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium heat proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir periodically until the mixture is smooth, the butter is melted, and it feels quite hot (but not burning) to the touch. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and set aside until it is just warm. The mixture will appear gritty.
- Stir in the espresso powder and vanilla. Then, stir in the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating after each. Continue stirring until the batter looks shiny, then add the flour and stir just until combined. With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir the batter for 40 rotations (strokes). Stir in chocolate chips or any other desired mix-ins.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, smooth it into an even layer, then bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with just a few crumbs clinging to it (25 to 35 minutes). Let brownies cool completely on a wire rack. Using the parchment paper “handles”, gently lift the brownies onto a cutting board. Slice into squares and enjoy.
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