Chewy Brownies

Chewy Brownies

A few weeks ago when I asked you to look deep into your soul and tell me about your favorite brownies, there was an undeniable theme. The great majority of you admitted that you only have eyes for box-mix brownies. And really, what’s not to love? The brownies always turn out gooey, chewy and with that wonderful thin crackly crust on top. While I love baking from scratch and have tried countless brownie recipes, you always know what you’re getting with a box-mix brownie, and for most, it’s the best.  Just last summer I was at a get together and after eating one of the brownies that was out on a platter, I was pretty darn sure it was the best brownie I had ever eaten. I asked the hostess for the recipe and she said that they were the Ghiradelli triple chocolate box mix from Costco, slightly underbaked. Perfection, indeed. I could have eaten the whole plate myself. And I was convinced that I would never need to bake a brownie from scratch ever again.

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with all of this box-mix brownie talk. Well it so happens that about a week after I asked for your favorite brownie in the giveaway, my new issue of Cook’s Illustrated showed up in the mail. Lo and behold, what was one of the articles about? How to create the texture and flavor of a box-mix brownie from scratch. The verdict? They nailed it.

Chewy Brownies

For those that aren’t familiar, Cook’s Illustrated is a publication of America’s Test Kitchen, which has a show on public television and whose premise is to test recipes over and over again to understand how they work and to ultimately arrive at the best version, using a combination of optimal ingredients and techniques. One of the things I love about the magazine and my Baking Illustrated cookbook is that along with the recipes, they explain in detail how they arrived at that particular recipe, and the different factors that went into it.

According to the article about the brownies, the key to the texture of the beloved box-mix brownie is the ratio of saturated to unsaturated fat. The box-mix brownies have a 28% to 72% ratio while a classic brownie recipe has a 64% to 36% ratio. Big difference! The major factors in creating this chewy brownie recipe to mimic the box-mix include: using a mix of butter and vegetable oil, a mix of cocoa powder and melted chocolate, and extra egg yolks. I guarantee that if you are in the box-mix brownie camp, this recipe will wow you. Another huge bonus is that this is still a one-bowl recipe with only a whisk and spatula needed.

If you have been torn between your love for box-mix brownies and your love of baking from scratch, you no longer have to choose!

Recipe notes:

♦  For the chewiest texture, it’s important to cool brownies completely before cutting.

♦  If your baking dish is glass, cool the brownies 10 minutes, then remove them from the pan to a wire rack (otherwise, the heat retention of glass can lead to overbaking).

Chewy Brownies

One year ago: Baked Oatmeal
Two years ago: Royal Crown’s Tortano
Three years ago: Mexican Rice

Chewy Brownies

Yield: 24 brownies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 to 35 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1½ teaspoons instant espresso (optional)
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2½ cups (17½ ounces) sugar
1¾ cups (8¾ ounces) all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into ½-inch pieces


1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving about a one-inch overhang on all sides. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk cocoa, espresso powder, and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled.) Add eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in bittersweet chocolate pieces.

3. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 1½ hours.

4. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

(From Cook's Illustrated, March & April 2010 issue)


243 Responses to “Chewy Brownies”

Comment Pages 1 2 3 4
  1. Maria on March 9, 2010 at 11:47 am

    I hope I can wait to cut into these:)


  2. jaclyn@todayslady on March 9, 2010 at 11:48 am

    OMG those look so good!! I love that they did a recipe that tries to mimmic the boxed version of something! I want to make this so badly! For once being able to say that I made better-than-the-box brownies!


  3. Claire on March 9, 2010 at 11:55 am

    oh my god those look amazing. I love chewy brownies, those cakey ones just aren’t good if you ask me! I will be making these pronto!


  4. ashley on March 9, 2010 at 11:55 am

    mmm yum!! they look great especially after my brownie fail this weekend… i’m still craving them. fyi – low/no fat brownies = no good :-)


  5. Shauna from Piece of Cake on March 9, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    I did a brownie post this week, too! Ha! Great minds. And I love America’s Test Kitchen recipes–they are always so right on and so fascinating to read the notes! Will definitely be trying this one.


  6. Cookin' Canuck on March 9, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Great brownie tips! I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to eat just one of these. I always appreciate the testing and re-testing that America’s Test Kitchen goes through to get the perfect recipe. I have their Family Baking Book and it’s fantastic!


  7. julia on March 9, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Wow, I am salivating. The cracky top won me over.


  8. Adriana on March 9, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    I think that homemade is always better than bought. But when it comes to homemade brownies, they’re just not as good as the boxed mix. I’m going to have to try this recipe very soon!


  9. julia on March 9, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    crackly, not cracky. I am going to get coffee now, to wake me up…


  10. gingela5 on March 9, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    I love brownies, LOVE THEM! These look so great! I love a crackly top and soft inside. Yum!


  11. Heather (Heather's Dish) on March 9, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    you know last week i totally overindulged in some awesome brownies and swore them off…until now! these look SOOOOOOOO incredible, way better than store-bought mixes!


  12. Bob on March 9, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    CI is the best cooking magazine around, imo. The brownies look spectacular. Heh, those Ghiradelli mixes are definitely a step above Betty Crocker.


  13. Megan on March 9, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Agh! That’s the brownie recipe I tested for them. I was hoping it would never get published, and I could use it as my secret brownie recipe forever. No such luck! But I have to say, this really is the very best from-scratch brownie recipe I have ever tried. (And I would definitely use the instant espresso.) Your pictures are beautiful and mouthwatering as always. I’m so glad I made a batch of these not too long ago and froze some of them!


  14. shelly (cookies and cups) on March 9, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    wow, so much science behind a brownie…who knew?!? These look perfect, so I have no choice but to make them!!


  15. Katrina on March 9, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    You’ve done it again! These look fantastic!


  16. Erica B. on March 9, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    I am so glad you posted this. I just picked up this cooks illustrated and wanted to know how this recipe would turn out. These look so yummy!


  17. Allison Raines on March 9, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    You got me…those look unbelieveable! The inside looks so perfectly fundgy. I can’t wait to try them! And how interesting about the fat ratios. I never would’ve thunk!


  18. Rebecca on March 9, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    oh my those look fantastic. I’m totally going to make them stat. Thanks for posting!


  19. Pamela on March 9, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    I had definitely earmarked that recipe when our Cook’s Illustrated arrived, and now you’ve made me want to move it to the top of the list. YUM!


  20. Mary Moh on March 9, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Brownies are always my favourite, especially those chewy ones. Yours look very mist and chewy….mmmm


    • lizzy on October 11th, 2012 at 11:03 am

      can y’al help me plz i reallly need help for my conventional oven project i’m in ta 9th and don’t know what 2 do plz helllp me and in deserts


  21. Baking is my Zen on March 9, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    I own the book. But, have not made the brownies. Looks great.


  22. Alta on March 9, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    I read this article too! I love how they scientifically talk about each component and what it does. I actually love the brownie recipe I’ve made for the last, oh, dozen times I’ve made brownies. But these do look tempting…


  23. Kathy Apple on March 9, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Oh, what a dreamy thought…chewy, ooey, gooey, yummy brownies. MMMM My friend make a Chocolate Caramel Brownie to serve with our lunch today. I could have eaten the whole pan!!


  24. Taylor on March 9, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    those look SO good! the people at cook’s illustrated sure know how to do it right!


  25. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on March 9, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    I would like a few (pans) of these right now! Yum :)


  26. Ram on March 9, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Yum, yum and yum! Looks so good and I”m sure it tastes good too! Brownies is my weakness, especially the gooey, oooey type. Thank you for posting this.


  27. CarolB on March 9, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    If I ever get married, my cake will be brownies – that’s how much I love them. Can’t wait to try out this recipe and fortify it will a little chili powder!


  28. Joanne on March 9, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    I have to say. The nerd in me loves that this all comes down to science.

    Gotta love a fudgy chewy brownie. These look amazing.


  29. bridget {bake at 350} on March 9, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Oh my. Those look like *just* the kind of brownies I love….moist and super chocolatey!


  30. nicole on March 9, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    It’s a colleague’s birthday friday and I was debating making choc. chip cookies, but I think you may have swayed me. wow, look so so good!


  31. the wicked noodle on March 9, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! But, ummm…”For the chewiest texture, it’s important to cool brownies completely before cutting”…is this truly possible? Has it been done? 😉 lol…


  32. Mackenzie@TheCaramelCookie on March 9, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    I am a HUGE fan of box mix brownies. I will definitely try these!!


  33. Christine on March 9, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    These were the one item in the latest issue that I had to try – I need to make them soon! Yours look great!


  34. leslie on March 9, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Amazing! I love an ooey-gooey chewy brownie! I love Cooks Illustrated.


  35. deeba on March 9, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    WOW … they look absolutely divine!


  36. Sasha on March 9, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Those chewy, fudgey brownies look insanely delicious!!


  37. Katrina on March 9, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    Those do look like great brownies. Thanks for sharing!


  38. Dan on March 9, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Hi, Michelle. Finally! ATK tackled the chewy brownie conundrum (right texture but little flavour or vice versa).

    I’ve bought books on brownies, to no avail. in seeking the perfect chewy version. This looks very promising, and I’ll report in a few days. I have high hopes, as ATK never fails, in my experience.

    Thanks so very much,



  39. jennifer on March 9, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    in all my brownie making, for the chocolate ingredient its always been either melted or powdered – never thought what a combo of the two would do! same with the butter and veg oil. hmmmmmmmmmmm i think there’s going to be just ONE MORE recipe to add to the repertoire!(i wish LOST wasn’t on tonight – ’cause i’d be heading into the kitchen right now!)


  40. Barbara Bakes on March 10, 2010 at 12:06 am

    My daughter is in love with the boxed brownies. I just baked the King Arthur brownies and she said they were almost as good at the Ghirardelli. I’ll have to give these a try.


  41. Diane {} on March 10, 2010 at 3:54 am

    oh those look delicious! I’m drooling…I wish I could have one right now :)


  42. sky on March 10, 2010 at 4:16 am

    good, so hungry:) thanks for share their knowledge


  43. Kat on March 10, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Chewy brownies are the best brownies! I can’t stand dry, cakey ones. Ick!


  44. Brad on March 10, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Great recipe and pics thanks for the info.


  45. martine on March 10, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    A great recipe, so easy to bake! absolutely delicious


  46. Leslie on March 10, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    I made these last night. I only had natural cocoa, not dutch-processed, so I added a dash of baking soda.

    I cooked at 325 degrees since I have a convection oven.
    I ended up cooking about 38 minutes…though I still felt that they were a little underdone. Are they supposed to be quite soft? Or maybe it’s because I used the wrong type of cocoa?

    Yours also came out a tad thicker than mine. I used a 13×9 pyrex dish.


    • Steph on July 7th, 2013 at 2:08 am

      Having used dutch processed in place of regular cocoa before, the dutch tends to be much finer and results in a drier product. So it was probably the cocoa


      • shannon on April 29th, 2015 at 2:26 am

        So what do you recommend if no dutch cocoa is available. Should more regular cocoa be added to make it drier? thanks


  47. aruna on March 10, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    They r so beautiful n tempting!


  48. Mallika on March 11, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    What gorgeous beauties are these!!! Makes me cry for these, coz I am unable to pick them off from my monitor screen. Absolutely amazing!!!


  49. Fuji Mama on March 11, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    So glad to have someone openly post about the brownie box mix love so many of us secretly share! But now I’m even happier–I can’t wait to have “box mix brownies” that I can make from scratch!


  50. Lauren Norris on March 11, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Just to let you know, my office is RAVING about these today! They all agree I live in a very, dangerous house :) Love you!!


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