Stella Parks’ Glossy Fudge Brownies

published Nov 30, 2021
Stella Parks' Glossy Fudge Brownies

These fudge brownies are perfectly balanced and produce that signature crinkly, paper-thin brownie crust.

Makes24 (2 1/2-inch) squares

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Credit: Penny De Los Santos

I’m obsessed with that fragile, crinkly, paper-thin brownie crust. It’s the sign of a well-balanced recipe, and a solid indicator of the goodness to come. I’m naturally biased, but my brownies live up to the hype implied by their shimmery crust. They’re chewy but tender, and impossibly dark because where most brownies start with cocoa or chocolate, I grab both.

Bravetart is Kitchn’s November pick for our Cookbook Club. See how you can participate here.

Stella Parks' Glossy Fudge Brownies

These fudge brownies are perfectly balanced and produce that signature crinkly, paper-thin brownie crust.

Makes 24 (2 1/2-inch) squares

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 cup

    (4 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour, such as Gold Medal

  • 1 1/3 cups

    (4 ounces) Dutch-process cocoa powder, such as Cacao Barry Extra Brute

  • 3 stick

    (12 ounces) unsalted butter

  • 1 cup

    (6 ounces) roughly chopped dark chocolate, about 72%

  • 2 1/4 cups

    (16 ounces) white sugar

  • 1/4 cup

    packed (2 ounces) light brown sugar

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons

    Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt (half as much if iodized)

  • 6

    large eggs, straight from the fridge

  • 1 tablespoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon

    instant espresso powder, such as Medaglia d'Oro (optional)

Instructions

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350°F. Line a 9-by-13-by-2-inch aluminum baking pan with two crisscrossed sheets of foil so that the bottom and long sides are covered, leaving an overhang on the long sides, and grease lightly. Sift flour and cocoa together (if using cup measures, spoon into the cups and level with a knife before sifting).

  2. In a 2-quart stainless steel saucier, melt butter over medium-low heat. Increase to medium and simmer, stirring with a heat-resistant spatula while the butter hisses and pops. Continue cooking and stirring, scraping up any brown bits that form in the bottom of the pan, until the butter is golden yellow and perfectly silent. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate; the mixture will seem quite thin.

Make the brownies:

  1. Combine white sugar, brown sugar, salt, eggs, vanilla, and instant espresso, if using, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high speed until thick and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Reduce to low and pour in warm chocolate-butter. Once incorporated, add flour/cocoa and continue until well combined. Fold with a flexible spatula, to ensure the batter is well mixed from the bottom up.

  2. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the brownies are glossy and just barely firm (like the soft part of your forearm), about 25 minutes (or 205°F). Cool to room temperature.

  3. Tug the foil loose and lift the brownies from the pan. Cut into twenty-four 21/2-inch squares. Store in an airtight container with a sheet of wax paper between each layer for up to 1 week at room temperature. Leftover brownies can be chopped into bite-sized pieces and frozen for up to 6 months, a fantastic mix-in for your favorite homemade ice cream.

Recipe Notes

Troubleshooting: If you accidentally blacken the butter, simply strain it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the bitter solids. The liquid portion will be fine, albeit with a more deeply toasted flavor.

While warm, these brownies may seem cakey and light (which is easy to mistake for overbaked), but as they cool, their crumb becomes more dense, compact, and fudgy.

Mix it up!
Cream Cheese:
With nuggets of cream cheese studded throughout the batter, this variation cuts the chocolate intensity with bursts of tangy freshness. Freeze an 8-ounce block of cream cheese until firm, then cut into 1/2-inch chunks and freeze for 30 minutes more. Fold the frozen cream cheese into the batter and bake as directed.

Danger Brownies: This variation ensures every brownie has a few crispy edge pieces, making each more dangerously alluring. While the brownies are cooling, bring 4 ounces (1/2 cup) heavy cream to a gentle simmer; off heat, whisk in 3 ounces (1/2 cup) finely chopped dark chocolate. Transfer cooled brownies to a cutting board, trim a 1/2-inch strip off the outer edges, and dice into 1/2-inch chunks; set aside in a large bowl. Cut the remaining brownie into about sixteen pieces, topping each with a small mountain of gooey brownie chunks.

Recipe and photograph from BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts by Stella Parks. Copyright © 2017 by Stella Parks. Reprinted with permission of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.