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”

  1. Mrs. L on March 11, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    I have that recipe bookmarked in the magazine. Now I know I have to try it!


  2. doitthemoroccanway on March 12, 2010 at 4:58 am

    I’m SOOOOOO trying these!


  3. Eliana on March 12, 2010 at 10:43 am

    I love the level of detail of America’s Test Kitchen :) These brownies look sinfully delicious.


  4. justbakedabatch on March 12, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    those pictures of yours were sooo good – that I baked them today!

    i half the recipe and reduced the sugar to 70% (asians don’t like our stuff too sweet) and while they were nice, not as chewy as i expected….and sure didn’t look as good as yours! mine looked kindda….cakey? maybe it hasn’t cooled down completely.

    interesting to fold the bittersweet chips in instead of melting – retains the chocolately-ness in a subtly way. definitely not the richness brownie, but i’m sure some pple like it tt way!:)


  5. Olga on March 13, 2010 at 5:31 am

    why is it absolutly necesary to cool them before cutting into them, does it affect the texture/chewy factor?


  6. enrolled agent course on March 13, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Chew brownies are always the best! Thanks for sharing the recipes and some tips on how to come up with this. I will try this sometime and see how it works out for me.


  7. Jacqueline on March 15, 2010 at 1:40 am

    Nailed it, indeed! I had to check out the full article after your delicious looking brownies, and CI sure did their homework! These are definitely the best brownies I’ve ever made…the texture is just perfect and they sure pack a chocolately punch! Thanks for sharing this recipe with everyone!


  8. Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) on March 15, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Even though I have a trusted brownie recipe, I am going to try these, because they look so good! You’re right, box brownies aren’t really that bad, and the best thing is, they are consistent :)


  9. Deanna on March 19, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    I have my pan in the oven as I write this! I’ll let you know how they turn out. I didn’t have unsweetened chocolate so I used semi-sweet…


  10. Deanna on March 20, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    So they turned out pretty good. Not better than the Ghiradelli box mix from Costco though, so I figure I might as well stick with that. They were better than any from scratch recipe I’ve tried


  11. S on March 20, 2010 at 7:52 pm


    Did you reduce the sugar in the recipe since you used semi-sweet? I’m planning on making this in a few weeks, but I couldn’t find bittersweet or unsweetened in my tiny local grocery store, so I bought only the semi-sweet chocolate….


  12. Brenda Dumont on March 21, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Brownie Box Mix Do-over by Anne Bryn (Cakemix Doctor and my favorite cookbook “What can I bring?”). Take your brownie mix and add only 2 eggs and 1 stick butter almost melted. Bake 350 for 25-30 min. Let cool and place in fridge. THEY ARE SO GOOD AND FUDGIEEEEEE!


  13. Deanna on March 21, 2010 at 7:55 pm


    Yes, I did reduce the sugar by almost half a cup! They were still sweet and delicious, especially after sitting for a day. Also, my baking time was closer to 40 minutes, after 30 minutes the middle was still raw. Everyone at work loved them when I brought them in on the weekend. Maybe I will make these instead of the boxed stuff…


  14. Taryn Collins on March 22, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    These brownies are absolutely fabulous. I made some a couple of days ago with Easter-colored M&M’s for the first day of spring, and they were adorable and SO so delish. Fantastic!


  15. waftbycarol on March 23, 2010 at 8:52 am

    One of my favorite brownie recipes requires a convection oven , but is the very best . It is from Sarah Leah Chase’s Nantucket Open House Cookbook .
    Do try it…
    I still love the box brownies too and will give this recipe a try !!


  16. S on March 27, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    @Deanna: Thanks! I’ll post again about it when I make these in a few weeks!


  17. pita bread on March 30, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    But it’s impossible to wait to cut into the brownies knowing what is awaiting! I’ll have to try really, really hard.


  18. Samantha on April 7, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Yes – I agree..I have been a HUGE fan of Barefoot Contessa brownies for years and after making the CI ones I will never go back. These are PERFECT.


  19. S on April 25, 2010 at 12:50 am

    These turned out really good! I like the coffee taste. It was definitely chewy and had a nice sheeny top. :)


  20. sharon on May 22, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    i actually did a whole series on this last year on my blog…i was sick of my favorite brownies being from a box so i tried out a whole bunch of everyone’s favorite recipes.
    if you do a search on for brownies you will see the feedback ont he contestants. unfortunately i did not have a clear recipe winner, but fortunately we all got to eat a bunch of delicious brownies, so we were all winners!


  21. Linda on May 23, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Do you think this recipe will do well with WWF as I ran out of AP?


  22. Kristin on July 29, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    I just found your site through Annie’s Eats and am enamored with your photos and recipes! I love to bake and have recently been searching for the perfect homemade brownie recipe that yields a texture like the box mix and have been disappointed thus far. Homemade never seem to have the signature crackly top or the perfect crumb/chew of the box mix. I can’t wait to try this recipe, though there is part of me that hesitates to do one that has so many more steps than the easy box mix. However, my desire to cut back on processed foods wins this fight. Thank you for your work in tracking these down!


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  24. Marina on September 12, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Just made these, they are very good. I am not much of a baker, so the detailed instructions were really helpful. I did cut down the sugar by half a cup though and they still turned out very sweet.


    • Michelle on September 13th, 2010 at 9:39 pm

      Hi Marina, Thanks for stopping back to share your feedback, so happy to hear you liked these and the instructions were helpful! Great to know that reducing the sugar doesn’t have a huge impact.


  25. isabella garcía on October 10, 2010 at 11:07 am

    hello from Venezuela! !!!
    just tried your brownies they are hit, but a bigger hit was your monkey bread ,my dad I still liking his fingers .
    thanks for the recepies I look forward every week to reading your blog and maybe finding a recip to try.


    • Michelle on October 10th, 2010 at 6:28 pm

      Thanks Isabella, great to hear the brownies and the monkey bread were hits! I hope you continue to love the recipes you find!


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  27. Caroline on October 21, 2010 at 10:12 am

    I made these for my first blog post EVER yesterday, thought you should know. Mine may not look as pretty as yours, but I bet they tasted just as delicious! Uh-mazing served warm with a scoop of ice cream on top…

    I also wanted to let you know that you’ve been a major source of inspiration for me in experimenting and exploring all things baking over the past year or so. I’m still in college, which poses its own special obstacles, but I absolutely adore perusing beautiful blogs like yours. Keep up the good work, and check out my brownies if you like!


    • Michelle on October 24th, 2010 at 7:06 pm

      Caroline, You are so sweet! Welcome to the world of food blogging, I think you will love it! So honored that you chose one of my recipes as your first post!


  28. Stephanie on October 22, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    THESE BROWNIES ARE AMAZING! I made them for my family and they ADORED THEM! thanks for the great recipe :) this will be my “go-to” brownie as of now!


    • Michelle on October 24th, 2010 at 7:08 pm

      You are welcome! So happy you and your family enjoyed these!


      • esther on October 26th, 2011 at 12:55 pm

        yes yes they do!!!


  29. Michelle on October 23, 2010 at 6:52 am

    Wow! Based on the photos these brownies look amazing!! My favorite brownies are from a box mix ( ghiradelli triple chocolate..yum!!) and even though I know it would be hard to find a scratch recipe that comes close, this recipe looks like it just might! =) I was wondering if you think they would still taste good with semi sweet chocolate chips instead of the bittersweet chocolate? I also wondering if regular cocoa powder could be used instead of dutch, I wanted to use ghiradelli cocoa but have only seen unsweetened or dutch =(… If just dutch cocoa will work, any brand suggestions? Thanks! =)


    • Michelle on October 24th, 2010 at 7:14 pm

      Hi Michelle, Yes you could use semisweet in place of the bittersweet. Also, the Dutch cocoa powder provides a richer taste, but if you don’t have any you could substitute the unsweetened cocoa. Enjoy!


  30. Pingback: Decadent Brownies — eatlaughpurr

  31. Michelle on November 23, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    I love everything I’ve tried on this blog but for some reason my brownies came out cakey and a little dry, sill tasted good but…not what I was craving as far as texture. i didn’t sub anything, i don’t know what I did wrong except possibly leave them in too long but, I followed the recipe exactly. :/


    • Michelle on November 24th, 2010 at 8:20 am

      Hmm, yeah these brownies are definitely not cakey and dry; definitely very fudgy and dense. I wonder if maybe your oven runs a little hot? It’s easy to overbake brownies, for sure.


  32. Michelle on November 24, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Yeah it’s crazy I specifically picked to makes thes brownies because they looked so not-cakey. I will assume I left them in for a minute too long or osmething and try again. I’ll just watch them every minute towards the end and make sure they come out like yours!


  33. Mallory on December 22, 2010 at 10:23 am

    I made and took these brownies into work yesterday to celebrate a couple holiday babies (myself included) in addition to sending a few to my parents house. My mother called this morning to wish me a happy birthday and after telling me she ate her brownie for breakfast, she asked what did I do to them because they were so delicious. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe! Happy Holidays.


  34. AG NYC on December 23, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    I’ve found these brownies are an even bigger hit if you omit the table salt in the recipe and substitute 1.25-1.5 Tbsp of coarse sea salt. (Don’t grind it; just mix the whole salt crystals into the batter.)


  35. Num Num on December 23, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Made these for a holiday party and they were a hit! Linked them back to you 😀 Thanks for the recipe


  36. Syed on January 10, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    I tried making this today. Turned out relatively cakey. I think it may be because I baked it a minute or two too long because it seemed to gooey when I checked, then two minutes later it was almost completely dry. Oh well, still not bad. But they did rise considerably more than I expected.

    Also, all the chocolate chunks sank to the bottom and stuck to the dish. Possibly because I wrapped it a few times to get some of the air bubbles out.

    If I had to redo this, I would probably be sure to watch it like a hawk and pull it out when it is still gooey. Maybe add a little more butter, and try to let it sit on the counter more before baking so bubbles escape.


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  38. crprihandoko on February 17, 2011 at 11:19 am

    good brownies..make me hungry..may i try???
    nice share info..continue please


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  40. Arvin on March 16, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    I made these brownies last night. They turned out under baked. I cooked them 30 minutes then tested them with a wooden skewer. It came out very dirty but I knew from watching the show that it would be hard to tell whether they were done because of the added chunks of chocolate. But it seemed it really was underdone so I baked for another 5 minutes. Tested, still too dirty. Baked another 2 minutes, tested, not done. Ditto another 2 minutes for a total baking time of 39 minutes. They still seemed underdone but I was wary of overbaking and I know that often the time to take something out of the oven is when it is *almost* done.

    Even after cooling for 2 hours they were impossible to cut and fell apart.

    From what I salvaged the brownies are very chewy just the way I like them, but ultimately not any better than the good boxed brands (Ghirardelli!). I know they talked about the boxed kind having good texture but less than perfect chocolate flavor but to my unsophisticated palate I did not notice a difference.

    I think I’ll try this one more time just to get it right but I doubt if I’ll make it a regular thing. They aren’t any cheaper than the boxed variety nor are they noticeably better. What’s the point?


    • Michelle on March 16th, 2011 at 8:16 pm

      Well, the point for me is baking something from scratch since I try not to eat anything that is processed. I know exactly what I’m eating and what the ingredients are, no chemicals and preservatives.


  41. Alice on March 19, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    I’m impressed…*sigh* These look amazing-tastic!
    Sadly, I don’t dare making them, as all my brownies are dough-ish and un-cuttable when they are out of the oven x)


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  44. Nicole on June 9, 2011 at 2:49 am

    I made these tonight. I had to post a comment on my utter amazement at finding the perfect brownie recipe! When I was a young girl my mother had a recipe that I used that was foolproof at making the best brownies. You couldn’t go wrong with that recipe. Favorite. So much of a favorite that I didn’t discover the secret that brownies came from BOXES until I was a new mother!! Anyways, I misplaced that recipe and never seemed to be happy with any subsequent brownie recipe. Until tonight. Thanks for including this in your blog.


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  46. brandi h on July 4, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    the best brownies i have ever tasted


  47. Jane on July 7, 2011 at 1:41 am

    I too am in the secret society of those-who-like-to-bake-from-scratch-but-absolutely-love-boxed-mix-brownies! No matter how many recipes I have tried, I still longed that for that deliciously chewy brownie with the elusive crackly top… and I most definitely agree that all awesome brownies have that crackly top!

    I just pulled a pan of these from the oven not too long ago, and while normally I’m *fairly* good at waiting for things to cool (okay not really… ever), I just had to try them warm and they are amazing! I’m thinking of giving up my honey walnut shrimp for dinner and just eating the brownies! Thank you so much the recipe and the drool-worthy pictures!


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