Make the Best Brownies Ever with These 7 Tips from Jerrelle Guy

published Jan 7, 2022
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Jerrelle Guy's Best Brownies baked and cut, closeup on a single
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

For me, a freshly baked brownie edge piece topped with vanilla ice cream is the quintessential weeknight dessert. It’s classic and comforting, bitter and sweet at the same time, warm and cold, luscious but with textural bites from the crackly tops and chewy edges. It bakes in a single pan in under an hour and is even cut and served from that same pan with no icing or cooling required. It’s rich, it can be nutty if you wish, and, of course, it’s full of chocolate

If I had to choose one dessert to bake and eat for the rest of my life, it just might be the fudgy, chewy brownie. And if you’re like me, and you want your brownies rich, a little dense, and packed with flavor, here are some indispensable tips for all your future batches.

1. Use good chocolate.

This may be the most obvious tip, but it bears repeating, as it just might be the most important one: For the best brownies, use quality chocolate. I like to use Valrhona Caraibe 66% Dark Chocolate discs and then chop them into chunks. ($41 for 2.2 pounds from Amazon.)

2. Beat the eggs and sugar together first.

While you can definitely make brownies by simply mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl, to achieve that glossy, crackling top, whip your eggs and sugar together first on high in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer for about 10 minutes. Doing this not only builds the brownie’s entire structure, but also incorporates just the right amount of air into the batter for the perfect lift; once you do this, there’s really no need for a chemical leavener, like baking soda or baking powder. 

3. Use dark brown sugar.

If your recipe only calls for granulated sugar, swap at least half (if not all) of it with brown sugar. Brown sugar, because it contains molasses, has a gooey caramel quality once it’s baked, which means chewier, fudgier brownies. Also use dark brown sugar instead of light brown if you can, as it has more flavor.  

4. Use extra chocolate.

Right before the brownies go in the oven, sprinkle them with more chopped chocolate — nice-sized chunks of it. In the oven the chocolate chunks will turn into puddles of melted chocolate, and if you’re serving your brownies à la mode, those puddles will turn into the most convenient hot chocolate sauce to swirl into your ice cream.  

5. Bang the pan.

Halfway through baking and again once they’re done, remove the pan from the oven and bang it on the counter to help the brownies collapse, encouraging extra cracking along the top and making them more dense and fudgy by forcing any excess air from the batter. 

6. Under-bake them.

If you’re aiming for fudgy brownies, bake them five minutes less than you think you need to or the recipe suggests. The edges should be puffed and set, but when you stick your toothpick in the center of the pan it’s good to see a little batter on the stick. The brownies will continue to cook and set once they’re out of the oven. Enjoy them a few minutes out of the oven, still warm and at their fudgiest, or cool them completely, so they turn extra chewy.

7. Add a sprinkle of salt.

Salt pairs so well with chocolate because it helps enhance and balance chocolate’s complex flavors. Adding salt to the batter is expected, but adding a little extra pinch of flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, on top once they’re out of the oven is heavenly. If you decide to top your brownies with more chocolate chips or chunks (as suggested above) the surface will be covered with gooey puddles that will help the extra salt stick to the top and stay put.