This is a brownie recipe that I spent some time tweaking to get it absolutely perfect. While my husband maintains there’s no perfect brownie because it’s so subjective, I think it’s the best brownie ever and here are my secrets!
First, this recipe is awesome because of the pan; namely the size of the pan. Instead of being scaled for an 8×8, this brownie recipe fits a 9×13 pan—because an 8×8 pan of brownies is never enough. Brownies are meant to be shared with as many people as possible and a 9×13 pan is the perfect vessel to create plenty of portions!
And, if you just want to make these for your small family, brownies freeze beautifully; cut and wrap in individual servings with plastic wrap for seemingly endless brownies on demand (defrost with a quick zap in the microwave!)
A pan adjacent secret: use a parchment paper sling for baking. Simply crisscross two sheets of parchment in the pan before pouring the brownie batter in. Once your brownies are fully cooled (yes, you do need to wait for them to cool completely), the parchment sling will make removing your brownies from the pan—and cutting them—a breeze.
Now onto the secret ingredients:
- Chocolate. I use a good quality dark chocolate. My favorite are Lindt dark chocolate bars between 70% and 85% chocolate (really dark!) I like these bars because they are high quality and easy-to-find (I can often find them at my local discount store.) But the real key here is quality, so use a chocolate that’s a cut above.
- Cinnamon. I use just a touch of cinnamon in my brownie recipe. It’s just enough to give a warm spice to the brownies but not enough to pick it out of the line-up. It’s a great background note that helps make the brownies special.
- Instant Espresso powder. When making chocolate desserts, I often reach for instant espresso powder. Coffee and chocolate are perfect companions bringing out the best flavors in each other. This is another ingredient where you don’t actually taste the coffee flavor, but it does add an extra flavor note.
- Brown sugar. Lots of brownie recipes call for white sugar or a combination of white and brown sugar. But over time, I’ve testing into using only brown sugar. The molasses in the brown sugar adds a little extra moisture and a richer flavor that I love.
- Nuts. Listen, this is controversial, but I don’t think a brownie is a brownie without a crunchy nut mixed in. I like pecans. But the real secret is to really toast your nuts. I like to toast mine at 350 for 7 minutes before chopping them. Toasting them for this long makes them ultra-nutty tasting and extremely crunchy.
Finally, awesome news for gluten-free folks, this recipe is just as awesome with any gluten-free flour you want to use. Because there is just a smidgen of flour, it’s not as key for the structure of the brownie. Swap-out the cake flour for your favorite gluten-free blend and this becomes a gluten-free brownie recipe in a snap.
This recipe is delicious. It’s quick and easy too; it takes just two bowls and some light hand mixing to pull them together!
Video: Best Brownies Ever
The Best Ever Brownie Recipe
- 1 ¼ cups cake flour
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- 6 oz dark chocolate (70%-85%) chopped or broken into small pieces
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp espresso powder
- 2 ¼ cups brown sugar light or dark is fine
- 4 whole eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups assorted mix-ins (nuts, chocolate chips, etc.) your choice. be creative!
- Preheat your oven to 325F degrees.
- Prepare a 9×13 baking pan by lining it with a foil sling and then spray the pan and sling with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together.
- Place the chocolate and butter in a large glass bowl and melt in the microwave. Microwave in 30 second increments until chocolate is almost totally melted. Let sit for a few minutes to cool slightly (any remaining small pieces of chocolate will melt in this time.) Then whisk in brown sugar and mix well. Then add the eggs and whisk until combined and smooth. Finally, whisk in the vanilla.
- Fold the dry ingredients (flour mixture) into the chocolate. Fold just until incorporated. There may be a few slight streaks of flour and that's fine. Don't over mix.
- Fold the mix-ins of your choice to the batter; give it a few quick stirs to combine.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out until it’s in an even layer.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached.
- Cool for 4-6 hours (overnight is best if you can for a clean cut!) Use the sling to pull the brownies from the pan and cut into equal squares.
- You can use up to 2 cups of mix-ins. I like butterscotch chips and nuts; or chocolate chips; or toffee bits! This is where you can get really creative.
- Really, truly let these cool for at least 4 hours. It will making cutting them into perfect bars so easy! I almost always let them cool over night!
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