I've always *thought* that I preferred the boxed brownies until I tried this easy & simple recipe for homemade brownies I am sharing with you today. I also want to share my family's favorite recipe for an easy dessert using the brownies! Whenever my kids want dessert it usually involves brownies topped with ice cream, hot fudge, and sprinkles.
I prefer brownie recipes that use cocoa powder because it's much cheaper than those expensive squares of baking chocolate. I love this recipe because it uses cocoa powder, it's only one bowl, and no mixer needed!
INGREDIENTS NEEDED TO MAKE THE BEST HOMEMADE BROWNIES
Butter - It's best to use salted butter as the recipe does not call for additional salt. You can always add salt to your preference. I know lots of people like sea salt on top of their brownies and that would work just fine. But for the recipe, use salted butter to help with the flavor and for contrast to the sweetness.
Granulated Sugar - Yes I know it's 2 entire cups of sugar. But as long as one person does not eat the entire pan I think it will be okay 🙂 If you want to, go ahead and experiment with using less sugar. I've never done it so I can't even say for sure where to start. Remember that the cocoa powder is unsweetened so you do need the sugar in the recipe to avoid a really bitter taste.
Cocoa Powder - Be sure you are using unsweetened cocoa powder. They do make a dark chocolate cocoa powder that you can use in this recipe as well. I've never done it, but if dark chocolate is your thing then try using that.
Large Eggs - 4 eggs is the correct amount. I get questions all the time about "is it really 4 eggs?" Yes it is. Seems like a lot but the eggs provide so much moisture and texture to the brownies. I love a soft, cake-like, semi fudgy brownie and 4 eggs will help with that. It's also important how you mix the eggs into the batter. More on that below.
Vanilla Extract - I always buy the pure vanilla extract. Yes it is expensive (which kills me when I buy it) but the flavor you get from pure vanilla extract is worth it. Yes you can use imitation vanilla extract but for the best taste, stick to the pure stuff.
All-Purpose Flour - I always buy unbleached all-purpose flour but any type can be used. Bleached flour, gluten-free flour, just whatever you prefer or whatever you have in your kitchen. I would avoid whole wheat flour as that makes baked goods very dense and dry.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE BROWNIES
Everything gets mixed up into one bowl and no hand mixer or KitchenAid is needed. It's very important to follow the recipe steps. I know it's way easier to just mix all the wet stuff together and then add the dry ingredients, but it's written the way it is for a reason.
- Stir together the melted butter and granulated sugar. This step is important because the key to a perfect brownie is to combine the sugar and the eggs separately. So make sure you really combine the sugar and butter well.
- Add in 4 eggs, one at a time, stirring the egg in completely before adding the next egg. This is so important. Each egg needs to be fully incorporated into the batter before adding the next. It provides volume to the brownie batter and makes perfect brownies each time. If you love chewy, soft cake-like, and fudgy brownies then the secret is in the eggs.
- Add the vanilla extract and unsweetened cocoa powder and mix well. Add the flour in and use a spatula to gently stir it into the batter just until everything is combined and no flour pocket/streaks remain in the batter.
- Pour the batter into the pan and spread out evenly. It is a thick batter so I recommend dropping large spoonful's (I use a large cookie scoop to do this) all over the baking dish and then spreading it out. This makes it easier to spread a thick batter rather than one large pile of batter in the middle of the pan.
- You can top the brownie batter (BEFORE baking) with sprinkles, chocolate chips, peanut butter, chips, dark chocolate chips, mini m&m's. We always end up topping ours with chocolate sprinkles or mini m&m's.
EASY DESSERT RECIPE IDEA FOR HOMEMADE BROWNIES
Homemade Brownies are one of the easiest dessert recipes because they can easily be dressed up and served to guests or a fun 'make-it-yourself' brownie sundae bar at home.
When I make dessert for my family, 9 out of 10 times, it's this easy dessert recipe that includes homemade brownies + ice cream sundae bar at home.
Make the brownie recipe and then cut it into squares. Set out lots of different ice cream sundae bar toppings.
- Magic Shell Ice Cream Topping
- Hot Fudge Sauce
- Strawberry Sauce
- Nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc)
- Chocolate Chips and/or other small candies
- Ice Cream - We love using chocolate chip ice cream or vanilla. Chocolate ice cream is good, cookies & cream ice cream is great too. Use whatever you want!
Then everyone takes a piece of brownie, tops it with a scoop of ice cream, and then all the toppings.
TRY THESE OTHER BROWNIE RECIPES
- Hershey's Milk Chocolate Kisses Brownies
- peanut butter cup brownies
- Sno Ball Brownies
- cookies and cream oreo brownies
- andes mint cookie brownies
- easy chocolate chip brownies
- monster cookie brownies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter melted
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Heat oven to 350°. Prepare a 9x13 baking pan and spray with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper or tin foil (spray the tin foil or parchment paper lightly if using).
- Add melted butter and granulated sugar into a large mixing bowl. Stir with a wire whisk until the sugar is combined with the melted butter. It will be thick and lighter in color.
- Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing the egg into the batter well before adding the next egg. You want the batter to look puffy and pale in color after each egg addition.
- Add vanilla extract and unsweetened cocoa powder and stir well to combine. Add the flour in, and use a spatula to gently stir the flour into the batter just until no flour pockets or streaks remain in the batter.
- Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and spread out evenly. It helps if you drop large spoonful's of batter all over the baking dish and then spread it out. The batter is thick and that's how it's supposed to be.
- ** If wanted, sprinkle some m&m's (I love using mini m&m's), sprinkles, chocolate chips, or peanut butter chips on the top of the batter before baking.
- Cook for 25-35 minutes. All oven cook at different temps so set the timer for 25 minutes and watch it from there. The middle should look done (not wet and shiny) and the brownies should look puffy in the pan. Pull them out and let them cool on a cooling rack (while still in the pan) for about 20 minutes. Cut into squares and serve!