Michael’s Favorite Brownies

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Michael's Favorite Brownies

The name says it all. This is one of his mom’s recipes, and no matter how many different brownie recipes I’ve tried over the years, Michael always asks for these. We’re talking real brownies—chewy, fudgy, with that slightly crackly top. Definitely not cake. And yes, they are very yummy. If you want to make a brownie sundae, they are delicious topped with ice cream and Irish Cream.

WARNING: Do not make a full pan of these if you live alone. Invite people over to share them or take them to the office or give some away to your neighbors.

If you want to spice up your chocolate a bit, check out the variations below using espresso powder, cinnamon, or even a pinch of cayenne.

Many brownie recipes call for cocoa powder but do not specify which type to use—dutch process or natural unsweetened—and it used to leave me in a bit of a dilemma, that is until I found a very clear explanation on the differences between the two types of cocoa written by Stephanie at Joy of Baking, a resource that I turn to on a regular basis. The combination of the baking soda working with the acidic natural unsweetened cocoa powder produces the leavening action. Dutch-process cocoa is chemically non-reactive because it has been treated with an alkali to neutralize the natural acids. If you use the alkalized Dutch-process cocoa here, then there is no leavening action. So save the Dutch-process cocoa for baked goods that require baking powder.


stand mixer with paddle attachment
9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan, lightly coated with cooking spray


3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup melted butter, divided
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts or dark chocolate chips (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

2. In the mixing bowl, combine cocoa and baking soda. Add 1/3 cup melted butter and the boiling water and stir on low until the mixture thickens.

3. Stir in sugar, eggs, and remaining 1/3 cup melter butter. Mix until smooth.

4. Add the flour, vanilla, and salt, and mix completely. Stir in nuts or chips, if desired.

5. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until brownies pull away from the sides of the pan, but watch them carefully after 30 minutes to make sure they don’t over bake. Cool completely in the pan. Cut into bars.


To spice up the brownies, add one of the following to the dry ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons espresso powder (or good instant coffee, ground with a mortar & pestle),
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, or
  • Pinch of cayenne.


Joy of Baking – Cocoa Powder

About.com – Food Chemistry


Source: Ann Meyers

[Disclosure: This blog earns a small commission through affiliate links.]


  1. Deborah says

    This is the best way to have brownies – I don’t like the cakey ones. Sounds like a fabulous recipe!

  2. Carolyn says

    I made these brownies yesterday and they were just what I was looking for in a brownie. Fudgy, soft, and the required crackly top my family loves. I added raisins, chocolate chips, and pecans. Served them with a scoop of frozen yogurt. A bit excessive?…YESSSS!

    Thanks Andrea!

  3. Vicki Drammis says

    Gosh – now I have to bake two chocolate goodies. My friends are gooing to “smell” them coming. Have postponed my trip to the grocery until I’ve checked all your recipes.

  4. Jessie says

    Thanks for your receipe.
    My children like fudgy brownies. I’m learning how to bake. I try your receipe but did not turn out like yours. Mine is not fudgy. Why? What mistakes have I made? Please advise me. Thanks.

  5. Julie says

    This is my all-time favorite brownie recipe! I make them at least once a month (and I give over half of each pan away), so I have the recipe memorized. They are chewy, moist and chocolatey and crusty, on the edges. I like tossing in a 60% cacao unsweetened chocolate bar (smashed with ball-peen hammer) in just before baking – adds a nice chocolate surprise to random bites

  6. Sherry says

    Hi Andrea,
    I found this recipe after using your iced coffee concentrate recipe. These look AMAZING! However…I have a couple of questions. If I wanted to use some of the [coffee] concentrate in the recipe, how would I go about substituting? Could I use 1/4 cup of boiling water and a 1/4 cup of the concentrate, or would that be too much concentrate? Also, could I split the sugar with 1 cup of white and 1 cup of brown, or would it change the texture too much?
    Thanks in advance, can’t wait to try these.

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