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I'm a huge fan of brownies, but to be honest, I've never met a homemade version that could stand up to the boxed mix. Most from-scratch recipes tend to be dry and cakey, so I set out to develop the ultimate chewy, extra-chocolatey treat. After testing many versions, I finally found the one. And unlike boxed mixes, this recipe yields two pans of gooey, fudgy perfection, which is especially handy during the holidays. I think handmade presents make recipients feel special. Prepare one batch in a gift-worthy dish, and save the other to serve at a party. For gifting, lift and remove the parchment paper from the brownies, return them to the 8- by 8-inch baking dish, wrap with a festive linen, and top with a bow. For an easy and impressive presentation at parties, I cut brownies into diamond shapes instead of the traditional squares.


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

15 mins
1 hr 40 mins
Makes 2 (8-inch-square) pans


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 (8-inch-square) baking pans with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides to easily lift brownies out of pans.

  • Place butter in a microwavable bowl, and heat on HIGH in 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until melted (about 1 minute total). Stir in chocolate until melted; stir in vanilla, and set aside.

  • Stir together flour, cocoa, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.

  • Place granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and yolk in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until pale and thick, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Stir in melted chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in flour mixture. (Batter will be very thick.) Fold in stir-ins (below), if desired. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.

  • Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center of each pan comes out with a few moist crumbs and tops are set and shiny, 25 to 28 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool completely in pans on wire racks, 1 hour. Use parchment handles to lift cooled brownies from pans; cut and serve.

Chef's Notes

Stir-in Surprises

Chocolate Chunk-Sea Salt
Add 1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chunks; garnish with 1 1/2 tsp. flaky sea salt.

Toasted Nut
Add 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans.

Add 1/2 cup chopped thin crème de menthe chocolate mints (such as Andes) and 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips.