The perfect brownie – finally

I have been on a quest for the perfect brownie. I am not talking about a mint brownies, peanut butter brownies, brookies, or brownie cupcakes. No swirls, cheesecake, caramel or frosting, but a straight-up, plain bake sale brownie. I prefer a chewy brownie with the crackly coating on top – not cakey, not too sweet, heavy on the chocolate. Who knew this would be so complicated?

I have posted recipes for Dark Chocolate Brownies (good but a little cakey for me), Outrageous Brownies (good but a little sweet for my taste), The Best Brownies Ever (pure, unadulterated chocolate here, but actually most kids don’t like them because they are not as sweet. I also like a more “toothsome” texture), and Double Chocolate Brownies (good but light and cakey, not chewy).

My kids, sadly, prefer Duncan Hines mix, which I refuse to buy (I have a baking business!) but my husband will “sneak” it for them, periodically. I finally hit on my official favorite brownie recipe and the irony is that it most closely resembles our favorite DH boxed mix. Thick, chewy, toothsome, with the coveted crackly top. The recipe calls for three kinds of chocolate and is made in one bowl. I’m a believer.

Chewy Brownies

(adapted from a Cooks Illustrated recipe – click here for printable recipe)


1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon boiling water
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Whisk cocoa and boiling water together in a large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. Mixture may look curdled at this point. Add eggs, egg yolks and vanilla. Continue to whisk until smooth. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated.  Using rubber spatula, fold in flour, salt, and chocolate chips all at once, taking care to not over mix.
Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 30-40 minutes. Do not over cook. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cut when cooled.

Plan B Mom is a mostly-stay-at-home mom of 3 who works from home but sees her main job as managing her family. When she is not taking care of her 13-year old and 11-year old girls, 9- year old son, yellow lab, and husband – she is baking, running, carpooling, or helping with homework. She tries to stay organized to keep life running smoothly – or at least catastrophes at bay. Follow her on Twitter at @PlanBMom.

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