Our Favorite One-Bowl Brownies Recipe

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Irresistibly fudgy, classic one-bowl brownies are yours for the making with minimal fuss. This is our family’s hands-down favorite brownie recipe, and I hope it’ll soon be yours, too. Here’s how to make them. (And hey, you might like our blondies, too.)

Classic Brownies in One Bowl 780 | Umami Girl

In search of the best homemade brownies

Everybody needs a favorite brownies recipe, don’t you think? Something simple and reliable and relatively quick. Something to tote along to a dinner party. Something to whip up in an EMERGENCY.

I believe in this philosophy. I really do.

But for years I didn’t follow through on it, because — and this may throw you for a loop (unless you saw this recipe, heh heh) — I almost always liked brownies from a box better than any from-scratch recipe I tried. I know, I know. Just telling the truth.

closeup of brownies

Classic brownies criteria

That said, I’m fussy about my brownies — which makes me feel a little bit hypocritical because one of the criteria is that the brownies themselves can’t be fussy.  

No fuss, so one-bowl brownies are ideal if not downright required. Fudgy more than cakey, but they need an excellent crumb. Sweet but not too sweet, chocolatey but not to the point that you can’t take more than one bite. The butter needs to play its important role without making itself obvious. And a thin, shiny, crackly top is an absolute must.

Which is why it took me a while — like 40 years? More on the whole I’M 40 NOW thing in an upcoming post — to perfect a brownies recipe.

step by step making brownies

Why we love this recipe

When I tasted these, though, I knew I finally had it. I said to the girls, “THIS IS OUR NEW FAMILY RECIPE FOR BROWNIES.” And I lunged toward each of them like a fencer, brownie in hand. (FYI, I’m so good at sports that I almost accidentally referred to jousting just there instead of fencing.)

So. I now virtually lunge at you, brownie in hand, and invite you to try our new favorite one-bowl brownies. As “we” say in the fencing community, on guard.

step by step making brownies

Ingredients for one-bowl brownies

Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:

  • Butter
  • Bittersweet chocolate
  • Light brown sugar
  • A splash of brewed coffee (optional but great for deepening the chocolate flavor)
  • Vanilla extract
  • Eggs
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Cocoa powder
  • Salt
  • Chopped walnuts (optional)
step by step making brownies

How to make one-bowl brownies

This is a nice, straightforward brownie recipe that doesn’t require any special equipment. Here’s what you’ll do. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post.

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) with a rack in the center and prep the pan. Grease an 8×8″ baking pan with butter or cooking spray. Then lightly flour the pan.
  • Find a large, microwave-safe mixing bowl.
  • Add butter and bittersweet chocolate and microwave until just melted. This takes about 90-120 seconds in my microwave, but all microwaves are different. If you’re using chocolate chips, they may hold their shape until you stir them. If you don’t have a microwave, you can set your heatproof mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water and use it as a double boiler to melt the butter and chocolate.
  • Stir together the butter and chocolate with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until smooth.
  • Mix in brown sugar, coffee if using, and vanilla extract.
  • Sprinkle the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt evenly over the wet ingredients.
  • Mix until smooth and shiny. The batter will have some bubbles in it. The mixing is one of the main factors that helps create the crackly crust.
  • Stir in the nuts if you’re using them.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly with a spatula, making sure it gets into the corners.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes, until set.
  • Let cool before cutting into squares. For the neatest results, use a thin, sharp knife.
step by step making brownies

Protip

Several elements contribute to a crackly crust, but the mixing method is key. Just follow the directions and mix the batter until it shines, and you’ll find that magic layer on top of your brownies when you pull them out of the oven.

closeup of brownies in a pan

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Our Favorite Classic Brownies Recipe in One Bowl

This simple one-bowl recipe yields my favorite brownies. They're fudgy and squidgy (to borrow a favorite term from England) with that beautiful thin, shiny, crackly top.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Serves 16 half-inch squares

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (7 ounces) good-quality semi-sweet chocolate chips (such as Ghirardelli)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) (112 grams) butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup (213 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brewed coffee (optional but good)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (105 grams) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 2 tablespoons excellent-quality natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the center. Use cooking spray or butter to lightly grease an 8-inch x 8-inch baking pan, then lightly flour it.
  2. Place the chocolate chips and butter into a large microwave-safe bowl. Heat on half power until just melted — chips may retain their shape until stirred. This takes about 2 minutes in my microwave, but your mileage may vary. Stir until completely smooth. Stir in the brown sugar, coffee and vanilla until smooth. Crack the eggs into the bowl and mix very well into the batter.
  3. Sprinkle the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt evenly over the chocolate mixture, then stir until well combined and shiny. Stir in nuts if using. Scrape batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a tester comes out without a ton of molten chocolate on it. (It won't be completely clean.) Let cool in the pan before cutting into 16 squares to serve.

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Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 207 Total Fat:: 10.5g Carbohydrates:: 27.7g Fiber:: 1.4g Protein:: 2.6g

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