Say hello to our favorite brownies recipe from scratch. You only need one bowl, a saucepan, and a spoon. Melting the butter into the sugar and cocoa powder ensures that shiny, crinkly top that we all love.
These brownies are bittersweet. If you are like us and find yourself reaching for darker chocolate over milk chocolate, these are certainly for you. Use natural or Dutch-process cocoa powder (cacao powder works, too). For brownies that are less bittersweet and that have chewy edges, try this chewy brownie recipe instead.
10 tablespoons (145 grams) unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (80 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, natural or Dutch-process
1/4 rounded teaspoon kosher salt, use slightly less if using fine sea or table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large cold eggs
1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (75 grams) chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 325 degrees F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch x 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides to help remove the baked brownies from the pan.
Prepare a double-boiler by filling a medium saucepan with water about 2 inches deep. Heat the water until barely simmering. See the notes section below for tips on making these without a double-boiler and instead using a microwave or making them directly in a saucepan.
Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium heat-safe bowl. Rest the bowl over the simmering water. If the bottom of the bowl touches the water, remove a little water from the saucepan.
Stir the mixture occasionally until the butter has melted and the mixture is quite warm. Don’t worry if it looks gritty; it will become smooth once you add the eggs and flour.
Remove the bowl from the saucepan, and set aside for 5 minutes or until it is only warm, not hot.
Stir in the vanilla.
Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one.
When the batter looks thick and well blended, add the flour. Use a spoon to beat the flour into the batter until it is very thick and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. We use a wooden spoon or spatula and beat for 40 to 50 strokes (see video for reference).
Stir in nuts if using.
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
Bake the brownies until the edges look dry and the middle looks slightly underbaked; 20 to 30 minutes. You can test doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center. The brownies are finished baking if it comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
Cool completely before removing from the pan — this step is essential and helps the brownies set. Cut into 16 squares.