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Classic brownies

Makes 24 brownies. Servings


  • 1 1/4 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
  • 12 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • 2 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 cup large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped coarse (optional)


Baking Directions:

To make the brownies:1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.

Make foil sling by folding 2 long sheets of aluminum foil so that they are as wide as 13 by 9-inch baking pan (one 13-inch sheet and one 9-inch sheet).

Lay sheets of foil in pan perpendicular to one another, with extra foil hanging over edges of pan.

Push foil into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing foil flush to pan.

Grease foil and set aside.


Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl until combined; set aside.


Melt chocolate and butter in medium heatproof bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth.

Off heat, gradually whisk in sugar.

Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking after each addition, until thoroughly combined.

Whisk in vanilla.

Add flour mixture in 3 additions, folding with rubber spatula until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.


Transfer batter to prepared pan; spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface.

Sprinkle toasted nuts, if using, evenly over batter.

Bake until toothpick inserted in center of brownies comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.

Let brownies cool in pan on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours.

Remove brownies from pan using foil.

Cut brownies into 2-inch squares and serve.

(Brownies can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.)

Why this recipe worksChewy and chocolaty, brownies should be a simple and utterly satisfying affair.

But too often, brownies are heavy, dense and remarkably low on chocolate flavor.

We wanted old-fashioned brownies that had serious chocolate flavor.

To get that tender texture and delicate chew, we shelved the all-purpose flour in favor of cake flour; a bit of baking powder further lightened the crumb.

Getting the number of eggs just right prevented our brownies from being cakey or dry.

Plenty of unsweetened chocolate provided maximum chocolate flavor.

Use unsweetened chocolate: Ounce for ounce, unsweetened chocolate has more chocolate flavor than bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (which are one-third to one-half sugar).

Using a hefty amount of unsweetened chocolate gives us brownies that aren’t too sweet but have profound chocolate notes.

A big dose of vanilla (a full tablespoon) helps reinforce the chocolate flavor.

Add cake flour: Chocolate contains starch, and if you’re using a lot of chocolate (which we do here) it can negatively impact the texture of brownies.

Switching from the usual all-purpose flour to cake flour (which has a lower protein content) makes the brownies fine-textured (not gritty) and tender.

A little baking powder also lightens the texture a bit so they are not overly dense and fudgy.

Toast the nuts: If we mix nuts into the batter before baking the brownies, they steam and become soft.

Sprinkling the nuts on top just before baking keeps them dry and crunchy; toasting them first makes them even crunchier while also enhancing their flavor.

Don’t overbake: Chocolate flavor really suffers when baked goods are overbaked.

Using a 325-degree oven ensures even baking (the edges don’t dry out, which can be a problem when making a large tray of brownies, as we are here).

Also, don’t overbake brownies — you want a toothpick to come out of the brownies with a few moist crumbs still attached.

Make a foil sling: To make it easier to remove brownies from the baked pan, we line it with two pieces of aluminum foil, which are greased.

Once the brownies have cooled, use the foil to lift the entire slab onto a cutting board; remove the foil and cut the brownies into neat squares.


Be sure to test for doneness before removing the brownies from the oven.

If underbaked (the toothpick has batter, not just crumbs, clinging to it), the brownies will have a dense and gummy texture; if overbaked (the toothpick comes out completely clean), the brownies will be dry and cakey.

To melt the chocolate in a microwave, heat it at 50 percent power for two minutes.

Stir the chocolate, add the butter, and continue heating until melted, stirring once every additional minute.