The No-Fail Secret to the Chewiest, Fudgiest Brownies Ever

It took years to figure this out. You’re welcome.

Chocolate Brownies
Photo: Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

My confidence in my baking abilities is typically unshakeable. I have mastered carrot cake and oatmeal cookies. My pumpkin cheesecake is fluffy and creamy. But I have never been more humbled by a baked good than I was by brownies.

For years, I tried to master this deceptively tricky dessert. I made them both from scratch and from a box, and the outcome was always the same: cakey, dry, stiff squares that were nowhere near the chewy, soft, fudgy texture that I aimed for. Feeling desperate, I turned to the internet in search of advice. I came across the same well-meaning tips again and again: Use butter, never bland oil. Cut down on the flour (fudge brownies have a higher fat ratio). Replace water with milk for a richer flavor. I even saw one recipe that suggested using a flavored coffee creamer.

I tried all these supposed brownie hacks (well, except for the coffee creamer), and still my brownies were uninspired. But rather than give up, I became more determined to solve the brownie mystery. Perusing the baking aisle one afternoon, inspiration struck: If I wanted the brownies to be chocolatey, why not simply add more chocolate to the batter?

I grabbed a bar of Baker's Semi-Sweet Chocolate off the shelf, and when I got home, I got to work on the batter. After I'd poured my batter into the baking pan, I unwrapped the chocolate bar, which is scored into ¼-ounce pieces. I broke off half of them—eight out of 16 total—and scattered them throughout the batter. And then I crossed my fingers.

The first time I tried this trick, I didn't know what would happen. I hoped that the chocolate pieces would melt, suffusing the batter not just with more chocolate but also extra moisture to keep the texture from becoming too cakey. My hunch was right: When I cut into the fully baked brownies, glistening, gooey chocolate oozed out of each square. I had finally cracked the brownie code!

Perfecting My Brownie Hack

What makes these brownies the peak of chocolatey perfection is the contrast between the crisp top layer and the fudgy interior. And technique plays an important role: The chocolate pieces need to go into the batter whole, not roughly chopped. Further, a thicker slab like the Baker's ones I used ends up to be essential, as well. A Hershey's bar doesn't work: it's too thin and flimsy to impart that signature richness to fudge brownies. Finally, as the chocolate pieces sink into the batter and melt, the bottom layer of the brownies becomes a thin layer of solid chocolate.

Here are a few more details I've discovered that are crucial for flawless fudge brownies: Be sure to take the pan out of the oven about 20 minutes into the baking process and bang it on your counter a couple times. This knocks all the excess air bubbles out of the batter, which results in a denser texture and encourages the top layer to crack. To banish any possibility of a dry interior, you can also experiment with slightly underbaking the brownies, although it might take practice to get the timing just right (you don't want to bite into raw batter!). The best baking time in my experience is 40 to 45 minutes.

It took me years to learn to make fabulous fudge brownies, and it turns out that it's so much easier than I ever imagined. That extra infusion of chocolate makes all the difference. And it works every time. So don't fear the brownie. Embrace it.

Was this page helpful?
You’ll Also Love