Chocolate Fudge Brownies
Today I am SO excited to share this recipe for fudge brownies from my upcoming cookbook, Weeknight Baking. In the book, they are technically called “Better-Than-Supernatural Fudge Brownies”. It’s kind of a weird name, I know, but it pays homage to the original recipe I based the recipe off: Nick Malgieri’s Supernatural Brownies.
Nick Malgieri is the director of the baking program at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. Nick described these brownies as “supernatural”; after accidentally leaving half the flour that the original recipe called for, the recipe still produced extremely fudgy brownies with a fragile, paper-thin sugar crust. An old coworker had tipped me off to his recipe, and I’d been making variations of it for my blog since (see: this Supernatural Brownies recipe from 2013, these Break-My-Heart Brownies from 2015).
Although I liked his original recipe a lot, the brownies they made are ALL fudge—it was almost like eating a frozen block of ganache. I liked my brownies to have more texture and even a slight chew—but not too chewy, otherwise we’d be verging into “chewy brownie” territory. I still wanted them to be pretty fudgy!
Fudgy Brownies versus Chewy Brownies
When I was writing Weeknight Baking, I’d planned to have two brownie recipes: a chewy brownie recipe, and a fudge one. I’d learned from my experiments that using cocoa powder in brownies tends to make them chewier, while using melted chocolate made them fudgier. I wondered what would happen if I threw in some cocoa powder to my beloved supernatural brownie recipe.
The cocoa powder did just the trick! The brownies they made were still EXTREMELY fudgy, but this time, they definitely had the subtle, toothsome chew I was looking for. Was this the best fudge brownie recipe ever? I certainly thought so! With a few more changes to make them even more perfect, I decided to include them in my book, re-christening them as “Better-Than-Supernatural Fudge Brownies.”
Easy Brownie Recipe
Because the book is about weeknight baking—specifically, I only included recipes where the baker would only be working on the recipe for less than 30 minutes at a time—I also found ways to “tighten” up Nick’s original recipe and make its steps more efficient. For instance, his recipe instructs you to chop chocolate by hand to allow it to melt faster. But I find chopping chocolate by hand is SO time-consuming—not to mention that it’s hard on my wrists, and dulls my knives. So instead, I instruct folks to pulse the chocolate in a food processor instead.
But during the editing process, my copy editor asked why that was even necessary. Why not just use chocolate chips instead?
Because, I argued, you need the chocolate to be the very best-quality it can be. It needs to be a certain cacao percentage—too little cacao and the brownies will be overly sweet and not chocolatey enough, and too much will mean that the brownies are too bitter. Most chips aren’t transparent about how much cacao is in them, and some of them even contain weird stabilizers like wax to help them keep their shape when they’re baked in the oven. These fudge brownies are made with SO much chocolate that anything less than the best quality chocolate will be apparent immediately.
The Artisan Collection blows everything I thought I knew about chocolate chips out of the water. First of all, NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® is really transparent about where the cacao they use to make the chips comes from: Ghana. In fact, the chips are made with single origin chocolate that is certified by the UTZ and sold through the Ghana Cocoa Board, meaning that the beans are sourced from farmers trained in sustainable practices. Color me impressed! You can certainly taste the quality too—I sampled the chips and found nothing artificial-tasting or waxy. In fact, the chocolate had notes of chestnut, caramel, and honey.
My favorite part, however, is how clear they are about the amount of cacao in product—they include specific percentages! Specifically, the Artisan Collection Extra Dark Premium Baking Chips are made with 61% cacao, while the Artisan Collection Extra Semi-Sweet Premium Baking Chips are made with 48% cacao. All my fears about making brownies that were too bitter or sweet were immediately assuaged.
With that in mind, I decided to swap out the chopped chocolate in my Better-Than-Supernatural Fudge Brownie recipe in Weeknight Baking with Artisan Collection Extra Dark Premium Baking Chips by NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE®. Not only did it save me more time (plus avoiding the hassle and clean-up of using a food processor, too), the resulting brownies were absolutely PERFECT. Super fudgy and chocolatey—in fact, you could even taste the subtle chestnut, caramel, and honey notes from the baking chips. Enjoy!
Best Brownie Recipe Tips
- This recipe uses both Artisan Collection Extra Dark Premium Baking Chips and Artisan Collection Extra Semi-Sweet Premium Baking Chips. The Extra Dark chips will be melted down and used as a base for the fudge batter (since the brownies work best when made with a chocolate with between 60% to 70% cacao), whereas the Extra Semi-Sweet chips will be used as a mix-in and a topping for the brownies. You’ll need 8 ounces (around 1 ¼ cups) of Extra Dark chips for the brownie base, but each bag comes with 12 ounces—you can reserve these extra chips for another baking project, or throw them in with the Extra Semi-Sweet chips for even MORE chocolate!
- This is a fairly straightforward recipe, but I do have one tip: at one point, the recipe will instruct you to pour in a fairly warm melted chocolate mixture to an egg mixture. Make sure to pour it in slowly, and to whisk the eggs on medium speed as you do so—anything otherwise puts you at risk for accidentally cooking the eggs with the warm mixture!
Better-Than-Supernatural Fudge Brownie Recipe
- 1 ¼ cups (8 ounces) Artisan Collection Extra Dark Premium Baking Chips by NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® (see baker’s notes)
- 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, chopped into 1- to 2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
- 1 cup (4.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup tightly packed (7.5 ounces) dark brown sugar
- 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 12-ounce bag Artisan Collection Extra Semi-Sweet Premium Baking Chips by NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE®
- 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 Artisan Collection Extra Dark Premium Baking Chips, butter, and cocoa powder 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—at this point, it’s okay to have one or two small streaks of flour left in the batter. Add about ¾ of the Artisan Collection Extra Semi-Sweet Premium Baking Chips bag (and remaining the Artisan Collection Extra Dark Premium Baking Chips, if using per the baker’s notes) and mix to combine.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ of Artisan Collection Extra Semi-Sweet Premium Baking Chips over the batter. Bake for 35 to 40 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. It’s better to pull the brownies out of the oven early than leave them in too long—if you overbake the brownies, they’ll be tough. They might appear under baked, but I promise that when they’ve cooled, they will be perfect.
- Run a butter knife or an 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.