supernatural brownies

Supernatural Brownies

Why are these brownies supernatural? They are incredibly fudgy and silky, thanks to lots of melted chocolate and brown sugar in the batter. If you’re the kind of person who likes chewy or cakey brownies, I suggest you look elsewhere. This brownie recipe is dense and fudgy all the way! The brownies have a melt-in-your-mouth texture similar to chocolate ganache and truffles. But the best part? The supernatural brownies have the shiny, paper top that is the hallmark of any good brownie recipe. This paper top crinkles beautifully when the brownies are sliced.

Real Talk: this supernatural brownie recipe is one of my favorite brownie recipes of ALL TIME. I’ve been making supernatural brownies since 2013, ever since a coworker tipped me off to the recipe in Saveur Magazine. I love the recipe so much that I included a variation of it in my cookbook, Weeknight Baking! I really hope you give this brownie recipe a try!

supernatural brownies

Why You Should Make Supernatural Brownies

Here are all the reasons why you need to make these supernatural brownies:

These supernatural brownies are from a beloved recipe from trusted baking authority, Nick Malgieri.

Nick Malgieri founded the baking program at the Institute of Culinary Education, one of the country’s top cooking schools. Prior to that, he was the Executive Pastry Chef at Windows on the World restaurant in New York City. He also has also written several James Beard Award-winning baking cookbooks.

Nick developed this brownie recipe by accident. He intended to scale down his favorite commercial brownie recipe to a size more suitable for home bakers. But he’d miscalculated the amount of flour needed for the recipe—he needed way more than 1 cup!

Nick baked the recipe any way and was stunned to find that the resulting brownies were even better than the original! This new version made extremely fudgy brownies with a fragile, paper-thin sugar crust. He declared them “supernatural.”

His new supernatural brownie recipe has since been published in Saveur Magazine, The New York Times, and his book, Chocolate: From Simple Cookies to Extravagant Showstoppers

This supernatural brownie recipe comes together quickly.

This supernatural brownie recipe comes together in just 15 minutes. The most time-consuming part of the recipe involves chopping chocolate, and melting it together with butter. After that, simply whisk together the rest of the ingredients and pour it into a pan for baking. That’s it!

These supernatural brownies store well.

According to Nick, these brownies improve in flavor overnight. Letting them sit overnight allows the caramel and butterscotch flavors from the brown sugar to really stand out. And because these brownies are SO fudgy, they stay perfectly moist and fresh for days.

Supernatural Brownie Ingredients and Substitutions

Now that I’ve convinced you to make these supernatural brownies, here’s your shopping list for the recipe:

  • unsalted butter
  • dark (between 60 to 70% cacao) chocolate (preferably from a high-quality chocolate bar, discs, or fèves)
  • all-purpose flour
  • kosher salt
  • large eggs
  • dark OR light brown sugar
  • granulated sugar
  • pure vanilla extract

And let’s talk about some key ingredients and their potential substitutions:


You need 1 cup unsalted butter to make these supernatural brownies.

Can I use salted butter in the supernatural brownies recipe instead?

Yes! If salted butter is all you have on hand, feel free to use it in this brownie recipe. Salted butter won’t affect its flavor too much. If anything, it might make the brownies more delicious and give them a deeper, saltier flavor.

If you’re worried about overloading on the salt, stick with unsalted butter. Alternatively, you can also reduce the amount of kosher salt in the recipe by half.

Dark Chocolate

You need 8 ounces dark chocolate to make these supernatural brownies.

Bittersweet versus Semisweet versus Dark Chocolate

Whenever I share a recipe that uses dark chocolate, many of you ask if you can use bittersweet or semisweet chocolate. Many manufacturers make chocolate bars that are specifically for baking; these are often labeled “bittersweet”, “semisweet”, or “unsweetened”. You’ll notice that “bittersweet” and “semisweet” typically don’t include cocoa percentages. That’s because there’s no official benchmark for each designation. Specifically: it’s up to the manufacturers to determine how much cocoa to use, and cacao percentages for each type will vary greatly between brands.

That’s why in my cookbook, I advise folks to ignore these bars and instead stick with the ones that list their cocoa percentages. That’s truly the only way to know what you’re getting! In a pinch, however, you can use either bittersweet or semisweet chocolate for these supernatural brownies without too much consequence.

Do I really need to chop chocolate for this supernatural brownies recipe? Can I just melt chocolate chips instead?

Honestly, yes, you can get away with melting chocolate chips in this recipe. However, I don’t recommend it.


Most grocery store brands—even the ones that offer products specifically made for baking—contain all sorts of additives like paraffin wax and palm oil. These ingredients compromise the flavor and texture of your results. I’ve stopped using chocolate chips in 90 percent of my recipes, and my baked goods have tasted so much better as a result. 

That being said, there are some brands that sell high-quality chocolate chips perfect for this recipe. Chocolate chips made by Guittard, Nestle Artisan Collection, and Valrhona use minimal stabilizers and preservatives. Those are the only chocolate chips I recommend for this recipe.

Wait, you’ve scared me off chocolate chips. But I *HATE* chopping up chocolate bars. Is there a halfway point between chocolate bars and chips?

Absolutely! If you want the convenience of chocolate chips but the quality of chocolate bars, I recommend buying chocolate discs or fèves instead.

Discs and fèves are used by fancy chocolatiers to make their own bars and bon bons. They typically don’t use the same preservatives and stabilizers as chocolate chips.

Wait, what are chocolate fèves?

Chocolate fèves are a fancy pastry school term for a flat, bean-shaped disc of chocolate. The most prominent maker of chocolate fèves is one of my favorite chocolate makers, Valrhona Chocolate. For these cookies, I used Valrhona’s Guanaja 70% dark chocolate fèves. You can buy them online and/or at select Whole Foods Market locations.

I don’t have chocolate. Can I substitute the chocolate in the recipe with cocoa powder?

Many of you also asked if you could substitute the chocolate in the recipe with cocoa powder. Unfortunately, the answer is noThat would change the recipe completely and it would no longer make fudge brownies.

If you only have cocoa powder on hand, I highly suggest checking out the Better-Than-Box-Mix Cocoa Brownie recipe in my cookbook. Although it’s currently not on my blog, my friend Jeanine recently published the recipe on her site, Love and Lemons.


You need 4 large eggs to make these supernatural brownies.

I don’t eat egg because of allergies and/or my diet. What can I use instead of egg?

I’m sorry, but I don’t 100% know. In general, my specialty lies in creating baking recipes with conventional ingredients. If you’re looking for an eggless or vegan pancake recipe, I suggest checking out my friends Ashlae at Oh Ladycakes and Laura at The First Mess. Both of them specialize in vegan cooking and will be able to help you out better than I can!

That being said, if you’ve used egg replacers in brownie recipes before with success, it’s likely they’ll work in this supernatural brownie recipe. Why? The recipe is a pretty standard brownie recipe. It’ll probably be pretty similar to what you’ve made in the past with the replacers.

However, since I’ve never tried the substitutions myself, I cannot 100% guarantee the results. So if you replace the eggs in these supernatural brownies with any egg-free options, please leave a comment so I can update this post accordingly!

Brown Sugar

You need 1 cup dark OR light brown sugar to make these supernatural brownies.

Light versus Dark Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is granulated white sugar with a touch of molasses to give it its signature color and flavor. Because brown sugar contains molasses, it adds more moisture baked goods than granulated sugar otherwise would.

Brown sugar is available in two varieties: light or dark. Dark brown sugar is my personal preference; because it contains more molasses, I find it to be more flavorful. However, you can use either in this supernatural brownies recipe without altering its flavor too much.

Can I use white sugar instead of brown sugar?

Technically yes, but I don’t recommend it. Brown sugar is the secret ingredient to these supernatural brownies! They give the brownies a subtle caramelized, butterscotch flavor you otherwise wouldn’t get if you exclusively used granulated sugar. The caramel notes come from the molasses in the brown sugar!

Additionally, brown sugar makes the brownies softer and moister in texture. Again, that’s due to the molasses in the sugar. If you use all granulated sugar, your brownies will come out with a slightly different texture! They’ll be ever-so-slightly drier and just a litttttle bit tacky in mouthfeel.

So please use brown sugar if you want the full supernatural brownie experience!

Can I use coconut sugar instead of brown sugar?

Technically yes, but I can’t guarantee the recipe’s results if you do. Although coconut sugar has the same caramelized, butterscotch flavors as brown sugar, I have never made these supernatural brownies with coconut sugar. As a result, I have no idea what effect they’ll actually have on the brownies’ flavor and texture.

That being said, I am VERY curious about this substitution. So if you happen to try it, please leave a comment!

supernatural brownies

How To Make Supernatural Brownies

Here are the basic steps to make supernatural brownies from scratch:

  1. Prep the ingredients for the supernatural brownies. (Prep Time: 5 to 10 minutes)
    It usually takes 5 minutes to prep—that is, measure out all the ingredients needed for the recipe itself—for most of the recipes on Hummingbird High. However, if you’re using chocolate bars to make these brownies, you need to chop up the chocolate. Doing so usually takes around 5 minutes.

    To save yourself time, buy thin chocolate bars that are easier to slice. You can also use a food processor to chop the chocolate. But my personal recommendation is to use chocolate discs or fèves for the recipe! You won’t need to chop them before melting.

  2. Start making the brownie batter by melting the chocolate and butter together. (Work Time: 10 minutes)
    Combine the chopped chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler (or a homemade one—see FAQ for more info!). Melt over medium heat until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly while you work with the rest of the ingredients.

  3. Make the rest of the brownie batter. (Work Time: 5 minutes)
    The rest of the recipe goes by in a breeze. Use a stand mixer to whisk together the eggs, sugars, and vanilla. Add the melted chocolate. Then, mix in the flour and salt by hand with a rubber spatula. That’s it!

  4. Bake the brownies. (Bake Time: 30 minutes)
    This recipe bakes for between 30 and 35 minutes. When baking brownies, it’s always better to pull them out of the oven early. Leaving them in too long means that they’ll turn out tough! check out the recipe and FAQ below for more tips.
supernatural brownies

Supernatural Brownies Recipe Troubleshooting and FAQ

FAQ: Baking Equipment to Make Supernatural Brownies

What’s a double boiler and why do I need one?

A double boiler is a special type of sauce pot that looks like two pans stacked on top of each other. Typically, you fill the bottom pot with 2 to 3 inches of water, and place what you want to cook in the top pot.

Why? Typically, if a recipe instructs you to cook something in a double boiler, that means it’s sensitive to heat. It might burn or scorch if cooked in a traditional pot. But in a double boiler, the water in the bottom pot will transfer a gentle, steady heat to the top pot, avoiding these issues.

I don’t have a double boiler. What can I use instead?

Good news—there’s no need to buy a double boiler specifically for this supernatural brownie recipe! You can use a homemade double boiler instead.

Simply set a heatproof bowl—I like the glass bowls by Pyrex—on top of a medium, heavy-bottomed sauce pan filled with a few inches of water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. That’s it!

Do I really need to use a stand mixer to make the supernatural brownies?

No, you don’t need to use a stand mixer to make the supernatural brownies. You can whisk and mix everything by hand instead. Simply whisk together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla by hand in a medium bowl, then the melted chocolate and dry ingredients.

But why do I recommend using a stand mixer to make the brownies? The recipe instructs you to add melted chocolate and butter to eggs while the mixture is still warm. If you the mixture is still too hot or you add it too quickly, the eggs in the batter can scramble! And scrambled eggs in brownie batter means lumpy, oddly-textured brownies.

A stand mixer helps prevent this from happening. Pour the melted chocolate and butter mixture into the eggs while the stand mixer is whisking on medium. The whisking motion will distribute heat more evenly and prevent any accidental scrambling!

FAQ: Supernatural Brownies Recipe Troubleshooting

Help! My brownie batter came out lumpy. What did I do wrong?

This recipe instructs you to pour melted chocolate and butter into a mixture of eggs and sugar. If the melted chocolate and butter is too hot, it can potentially scramble the eggs, causing a lumpy batter and bad brownies!

To prevent this from happening, melt the chocolate and butter first. Set it aside on a wire rack to cool slightly while you prep the rest of the ingredients. This will give the melted chocolate and butter enough time to cool slightly. If you want to be extra safe, pour the melted chocolate and butter into a separate bowl than the pan or bowl it was melted in, too. Doing so will help the mixture cool faster!

The ideal temperature of the melted chocolate and butter will be similar to that of a warm bath. Dip your finger in it—it should feel warm and comfortable like a hot bath. It should not burn or scald you!

Help! My brownies don’t have the shiny paper crinkle top like yours do. What did I do wrong?

It’s likely that you either a) used too much flour, b) used too little sugar, or c) baked the brownies for too long.

A lot of people don’t have the right technique when using measuring cups. It’s easy to use too much flour when using volume measures. Don’t use the measuring cup to scoop the flour in the bag and pack it down into the cup. Instead, set the measuring cup on the counter and then spoon the dry ingredients into it. Once it’s formed a small mound, don’t pack it down. Use a butter knife or bench scraper to level it off.

While this technique works best for ingredients like flour, you’ll need to do the exact opposite for measuring brown sugar. Spoon the brown sugar into the measuring cup. Once it’s formed a small mound, pack it down, then add more brown sugar until it is level with the top of the measuring cup.

Finally, if you used the techniques above OR used weight measures (which I always recommend, since you won’t need to fuss with the techniques I just outlined) and are STILL experiencing issues, it’s likely that the brownies were overbaked. Check out the baker’s notes below on how to test brownies for doneness.

Help! my brownies came out tough. What did I do wrong?

It’s likely that you either a) overmixed the batter or b) baked the brownies for too long.

When mixing the dry ingredients into the rest of the batter, simply mix just until the flour disappears! If you mix beyond that, your brownies will come out dense and tough. I will legit cry for you.

If you’re convinced you didn’t overmix the batter, it’s likely that you overbaked them. When testing for doneness, stick a skewer in the dead center of the brownies. Pull it out—it should still have a few crumbs attached. If it’s wet with batter, the brownies still need more time. If the skewer is completely dry, uh-oh! You’ve overbaked the brownies.

FAQ: How To Store Supernatural Brownies

How To Store Supernatural Brownies

The supernatural brownies can be stored in an airtight container or zip-top bag at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Can you freeze supernatural brownies?

Yes! You can freeze the baked supernatural brownies.

To freeze the brownies, individually wrap any leftover bars in two layers of plastic wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil. The aluminum foil will prevent the bars from absorbing any other flavors or odors in the freezer. Freeze for up to 3 months.

When ready to serve, transfer to the refrigerator to thaw overnight. You can eat the brownies straight from the fridge, or rewarmed in the microwave.

Best Supernatural Brownie Recipe Tips

Best Technique Tip

  • The chocolate and butter needs to be melted and cooled slightly before using in the recipe. I recommend melting these ingredients first, then setting it aside while you prep the rest of the ingredients and make the brownie batter. Doing so will give the butter enough time to cool slightly! Check out the FAQ section above for even more tips on how to cool the mixture quickly.

Best Baking Tip

  • It’s better to pull the brownies out of the oven early than leave them in too long—if you over bake the brownies, they’ll be tough. They might appear underbaked, but I promise that when they’ve cooled, they will be perfect.

Video Tutorial for Supernatural Brownies Recipe

Use the video player below to watch my Instagram Story tutorial on how to make these supernatural brownies! The arrows to the left and right of the frame allow you to skip through the different recipe steps. You can also hit the “pause” or “enlarge” buttons on the upper right hand side of the frame to pause or enlarge the frames accordingly.

Alternatively, head to my Instagram profile to watch these Stories on mobile! The circles underneath my bio indicate saved Instagram Story highlights for various recipes. Click on one of the circles to play the video tutorial for the recipe. You may need to swipe left or right to find this supernatural brownies recipe.

Get the Recipe: Supernatural Brownies Recipe

Nick Malgieri's supernatural brownies are incredibly fudgy, silky, and melt-in-your-mouth brownies with a glossy, paper-thin sugar top!
(5 stars) 10 reviews
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For the Supernatural Brownies:

  • 1 cup (8 ounces or 227 grams) unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces (or 227 grams) dark (between 60% to 70% cacao) chocolate, from whole fèves or a high-quality chocolate bar chopped into 1- to 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup (4.5 ounces or 128 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup tightly packed (7.5 ounces or 213 grams) brown sugar
  • 1 cup (7 ounces or 198 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


For the Supernatural Brownies:

  • Make the brownies. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9 x 13-inch cake pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the pan’s two long sides. Spray the parchment, too.
  • Place the butter and chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl set over a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan filled with a few inches of simmering water (be sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water). Cook over medium heat to melt the butter, using a heatproof rubber spatula to stir the mixture and scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally, until the butter and chocolate have melted and combined, about 10 minutes. Set the double boiler or bowl on a wire rack and let the chocolate mixture cool while you prep the other ingredients.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the eggs, sugars, and vanilla. Whisk on low until combined, 1 to 2 minutes, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary. Increase the mixer to medium and slowly pour in the chocolate mixture, aiming for the sides of the bowl as opposed to the whisk. Continue whisking on medium until the batter is smooth, about 1 minute.
  • Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the batter all at once and use a rubber spatula to mix until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to smooth the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few crumbs attached. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
  • Serve and store. Run a butter knife or offset spatula along the edges of the pan and use the overhanging parchment as handles to lift the brownies out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Slice into 20 rectangles, each about 2 ¼ inches wide and 2 ½ inches long, and serve. The brownies can be stored in an airtight container or zip-top bag at room temperature for up to 3 days.


  • The chocolate and butter needs to be melted and cooled slightly before using in the recipe. I recommend melting these ingredients first, then setting it aside while you prep the rest of the ingredients and make the brownie batter. Doing so will give the butter enough time to cool slightly! Check out the FAQ section above for even more tips on how to cool the mixture quickly.
  • It’s better to pull the brownies out of the oven early than leave them in too long—if you over bake the brownies, they’ll be tough. They might appear underbaked, but I promise that when they’ve cooled, they will be perfect.
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!

Supernatural Brownie Recipe Variations

Over the years, I’ve used this recipe as a base recipe for many variations. Here are my favorites:

If you’re looking for a slightly-chewier-but-still-fudgy-brownie: Better-Than-Supernatural Fudge Brownies

This Better-Than-Supernatural Fudge Brownies variation is the one I published in my cookbook, Weeknight Baking! A touch of cocoa powder gives the brownies a more intense chocolate flavor. The cocoa powder also changes the brownie texture and makes them ever-so-slightly chewier!

If you’re looking for a less intense chocolate experience: Milk Chocolate Brownies

Using milk chocolate in this very similar brownie recipe makes the brownies sweeter and less intensely chocolate. But don’t worry—these milk chocolate brownies still have the supernatural brownies’ signature glossy top!

If you’re looking for a small batch version: Small Batch Brownies

This small batch brownies recipe is a very scaled down version of the better-than-supernatural fudge brownies variation! The recipe instructs bakers to bake the batter in a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Doing so yields 8 petite brownies!

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Michelle holding Weeknight Baking cookbook covering her face.

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Weeknight Baking:
Recipes to Fit your Schedule

Over the past several years of running Hummingbird High, I kept a crucial aspect of my life hidden from my readers: I had a full-time, extremely demanding job in the tech world. In my debut cookbook, Weeknight Baking, I finally reveal the secrets to baking delicious desserts on a tight schedule.