I’m a perfectionist. Naturally, when I saw this recipe for the Perfect Chocolate Brownies, I was skeptical. I’ve baked dozens of brownies. I’ve tried countless recipes. None were perfect. They’re too dry, or they’re too chewy. You know, the kind of chewy that makes you wonder if the brownie is even cooked.
But these brownies really are perfect. I know this because I baked them for Sunday brunch. And they were devoured in minutes. The entire tray – gone! Not even a crumb left for the baker.
These brownies are made from scratch, but they’re oh-so-easy. And you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen already.
You’ll go from mixing bowl to fork-in-hand in an hour tops. Just be ready to fight off the horde of hungry kids – and adults who think they’re kids – when these come out of the oven.
Are you ready to get started?
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 3/4 cup shortening
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 4 eggs
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
Go for high quality with the cocoa powder. It may cost more, but the taste is so much better. Don’t worry too much if you can’t splurge here. You’re brownies will still come out perfect.
Before you get started: Preheat your oven to 350°. Grease a 9×13” baking pan.
- First, we’re going to melt the shortening in a large saucepan. Melt it over low You don’t want to overdo it here. Then, whisk in the cocoa powder. Keep whisking until the mixture is smooth. You can use a double boiler here if you want.
- Remove the cocoa mixture from heat.
- Mix in the vanilla extract and the sugar in the cocoa mixture until well combined.
- Whisk the eggs in one at a time. Make sure that you mix well before adding each egg.
- Mix in the flour until well combined, and stir in the nuts.
- Pour the batter into the greased 9×13” baking pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Stick a toothpick in the center of the brownie. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If not, bake for a few more minutes and check again.
- Let the brownies cool completely before cutting them. I know, I know – it’s impossible to resist fresh baked browns. But try. I promise, they’ll taste so much better once they’re a little cooler.
Top with ice cream. Or hot fudge. Or both. I won’t judge you.
- If your brownies aren’t cooking all the way through, you didn’t add enough flour. Unfortunately, you’re only option is to start all over again. The good news? You’re brownies are probably still edible – emphasis on probably
- You can substitute butter for shortening in equal proportions. Just keep in mind that the texture might change. I haven’t made these with butter, so I can’t say that they’ll still be perfect if you nix the shortening.
- You can use other nuts instead of walnuts or pecans. Or you can omit them altogether if you want.
- If you’re topping with ice cream, make sure that the brownie is warm. Okay, this isn’t a necessity, but it’s a recommendation.
- Line your baking pan with parchment paper or buttered aluminum foil to prevent sticking. Sometimes, greasing the pan just isn’t enough to keep the batter from sticking to the sides and bottom of the pan. This little trick should ensure that your brownies come out perfectly every time.
These brownies are the perfect mix of cake-y and chewy. They’re amazing as-is, but if you’re feeling especially daring, you can add a layer of chocolate frosting.