6/19/22

Crackle Top Fudge Brownies

A decadent recipe for thick, fudgy homemade brownies with glossy, crackly tops and intense chocolate flavor.

JUMP TO RECIPE

I’ve made a bazillion pans of homemade brownies using just cocoa powder to flavor the brownies. They’ve all been good, some great. I mean, it’s brownies, so no matter the recipe, they’re going to be good.

And while they’ve all scratched my chocolate itch, none of them were anything amazingly remarkable. You know, the kind of thing that makes you sit up straight and declare at the top of your lungs, This is it! In the history of all things chocolate, by God, this is the best I’ve ever had!!

So I decided to try to create a recipe that would make me do just that. 

Crackle Top Fudge Brownies! A decadent recipe for thick, fudgy homemade brownies with glossy, crackly tops and intense chocolate flavor.

First, I had to decide what I wanted. What are the characteristics I’m looking for? What is the perfect brownie to me? I came up with this list:

  1. Moist, dense, fudgy texture (not cake-like)
  2. Intense chocolate flavor
  3. Crackly, glossy tops
  4. THICK brownies

Crackle Top Fudge Brownies! A decadent recipe for thick, fudgy homemade brownies with glossy, crackly tops and intense chocolate flavor.

MOIST, DENSE, FUDGY TEXTURE: The first thing I learned is that, while I love the flavor, butter alone will not yield the fudgy, dense texture I wanted. Well, you could clarify the butter down to the fat then use it but that’s one extra (sometimes tricky) step I didn’t want to fool with. So, I used two parts vegetable oil and one part butter.

It’s also important to let the brownies cool completely in the pan before cutting. This allows the moisture to stay in the brownies and not escape via steam.

Crackle Top Fudge Brownies! A decadent recipe for thick, fudgy homemade brownies with glossy, crackly tops and intense chocolate flavor.

INTENSE CHOCOLATE FLAVOR: The next (and somewhat disappointing) thing is that cocoa alone would not get me to that intense level of flavor I was after. The thought of buying, chopping and then melting chocolate seems a little daunting but, alas, it is worth it. Don’t worry – there’s no double-boilers in my recipe. You just heat the oil and butter on the stove a bit then add chopped chocolate which instantly melts. 

Then to add another layer of flavor, I used instant espresso powder. This step is optional but I highly recommend it as it adds a deep, rich note that really amplifies the chocolate.

Crackle Top Fudge Brownies! A decadent recipe for thick, fudgy homemade brownies with glossy, crackly tops and intense chocolate flavor.

CRACKLY, GLOSSY TOPS: To get the crackly, glossy, paper-like top, I had to consult the queen of baking, Stella Parks. In her book, Bravetart: Iconic American Desserts, Stella’s recipe for Glossy Fudge Brownies explains the importance of foaming the eggs and sugar. Doing this creates sort of a meringue texture to the batter which is where the perfect crackly top comes from. 

THICK BROWNIES: This one was easy, just make enough batter for a 13x9 pan. For one thing, I LOVE thick brownies but ALSO, if I'm going through all this trouble, I want a bigger batch than an 8x8 or 9x9 pan will yield. 

Crackle Top Fudge Brownies! A decadent recipe for thick, fudgy homemade brownies with glossy, crackly tops and intense chocolate flavor.

HOW TO MAKE GLOSSY, CRACKLY BROWNIES

As I mentioned above (thank you Stella), the secret to achieving glossy, crackly brownies is to whip cold eggs with sugar until they're pale yellow and at least tripled in volume. This is called "foaming" the eggs.

The batter feels a bit like you've folded marshmallow creme into it when you use foamed eggs. Another thing that's great about it is that any mix-ins you add will stay put in the batter and not all sink to the bottom.

How to foam eggs for crackly, glossy brownies

NOTES ABOUT MAKING CRACKLE TOP FUDGE BROWNIES

  • If you have a scale, definitely weigh the dry ingredients rather than depending on a measuring cup. We are using 4 ounces of both the flour and the cocoa powder. 
  • Use the ‘spoon and sweep’ method for measuring the flour and cocoa powder if you’re not using a scale.
  • If you don’t have a stand mixer, use a large bowl and hand-held mixer.
  • I use Starbucks Premium Dark Roast instant coffee which is closer to espresso powder than traditional instant coffee. If using regular instant coffee (like Sanka), use 1½ teaspoons.
  • Use any dark chocolate candy bar(s) between 75-85% cocoa. I measured my 6-oz after finely chopping it and it was right at 1 cup. If using dark chocolate chips, use 1 cup.
  • Use a chef’s knife to chop the dark chocolate into slivers.
  • Many cakes are best when all ingredients are at room temperature but to properly whip the eggs with the sugar, you need to start with cold eggs from the refrigerator. 

Crackle Top Fudge Brownies! A decadent recipe for thick, fudgy homemade brownies with glossy, crackly tops and intense chocolate flavor.

Feel free to add your favorite nuts, candy pieces or morsels. I’d add about 2 cups total of whatever you’re adding. Here are some ideas for mix-ins:

  • Chopped pecans or walnuts
  • Chopped Heath bars or your favorite toffee brickle
  • Chocolate morsels or chunks
  • Chopped peanut butter cups
  • White chocolate, butterscotch or peanut butter morsels

Crackle Top Fudge Brownies! A decadent recipe for thick, fudgy homemade brownies with glossy, crackly tops and intense chocolate flavor.

If you love chocolate like I do, be sure to check out some of my other favorite recipes!

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE BROWNIE CREAM PIE - Cream cheese, pudding mix, marshmallow crème and cool whip make a mousse-like chocolate filling in this brownie-bottom pie. 

CHOCOLATE POUND CAKE - A true southern chocolate pound cake recipe that’s moist and fudgy and packed with rich chocolate flavor. 

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE NO-BAKE COOKIES - Classic no-bake peanut butter oatmeal cookies made with DOUBLE the cocoa and studded with chocolate chips! 

THE BEST CHOCOLATE TEXAS SHEET CAKE - A tried-and-true family recipe for velvety tender, perfectly chocolate Texas sheet cake. 

IMPOSSIBLE 5-INGREDIENT CHOCOLATE CAKE - An impossibly moist, fudgy, decadent chocolate bundt cake recipe made with just five ingredients. 

Recipe for Crackle Top Fudge Brownies

Crackle Top Fudge Brownies

Crackle Top Fudge Brownies
Yield: 24 Brownies
Author: Mandy Rivers | South Your Mouth
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 30 MinTotal time: 45 Min
A decadent recipe for thick, fudgy homemade brownies with glossy, crackly tops and intense chocolate flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
  • 6 large eggs (cold)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
  • 6 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13x9 metal baking pan with foil to cover the bottom and long sides of the pan (optional – this is to lift the brownies out of the pan before cutting). Spray pan and foil with cooking spray.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt into a mixing bowl – set aside.
  3. Add sugar, vanilla, espresso powder and eggs to a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, mix on low until incorporated then increase speed to medium-high. Whip for 7-9 minutes or until fluffy, thick and light yellow (should at least triple in volume).
  4. While eggs and sugar are whipping, heat vegetable oil and butter over medium-low heat in a small pan until butter has melted. Remove from heat then stir in dark chocolate until smooth.
  5. When eggs are fluffy and thick, reduce speed to low then add the melted chocolate mixture.
  6. Add sifted flour mixture then continue mixing for one minute. Finish mixing by hand by folding with a rubber spatula (be sure to scrape the bottom when folding).
  7. Pour batter into prepared pan then bake at 350 degrees 30-35 minutes or until brownies are mostly firm (a little jiggle in the middle is normal), or internal temperature is between 200 degrees. Baking time will vary with dark or non-stick metal (likely 25-30 minutes) and glass or ceramic pans (likely 40-45 minutes).
  8. Cool brownies to room temperature then lift from the pan using the foil. Cut into 24 squares then store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Notes

  • If you have a scale, definitely weigh the dry ingredients rather than depending on a measuring cup. We are using 4 ounces of both the flour and the cocoa powder. 
  • Use the ‘spoon and sweep’ method for measuring the flour and cocoa powder if you’re not using a scale.
  • If you don’t have a stand mixer, use a large bowl and hand-held mixer.
  • I use Starbucks Premium Dark Roast instant coffee which is closer to espresso powder than traditional instant coffee. If using regular instant coffee (like Sanka), use 1½ teaspoons.
  • Use any dark chocolate candy bar(s) between 75-85% cocoa. I measured my 6-oz after finely chopping it and it was right at 1 cup. 
  • Use a chef’s knife to chop the dark chocolate into slivers.
  • Many cakes are best when all ingredients are at room temperature but to properly whip the eggs with the sugar, you need to start with cold eggs from the refrigerator. 


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3 comments:

  1. This recipe sounds like the best ever and I can't wait to make it (with pecans)! In the meantime, could I pass on a tip for an excellent instant espresso? I've used it in so many things -- espresso chocolate chip ice cream, tiramisu, iced coffee, you name it. It's "Cafe Bustelo", a rich, dark Cuban coffee, introduced to me by a Cuban friend some years ago. It's available online at Walmart, Amazon, and at cubanfoodmarket.com. It would be perfect in your yummy brownies!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I notice that the recipe says 1 cup of cocoa but then it mentions 6 oz. chocolate. Where does the 6 oz. of chocolate come in? Thank you, Tina

    ReplyDelete

Hi there! While I’m not able to respond to every comment, I try hard to answer any questions that haven’t been addressed in the post, recipe or in other comments.

I can tell you now 1) I have no idea if you can substitute Minute Rice or brown rice in my recipes because I’ve never used them and 2) If I know how to convert a recipe to a Crock Pot version, I will make a note about it (otherwise, I don’t know).

And though I may not respond to them all, I do read each and every comment and I LOVE to hear from you guys! Thanks, y’all! - Mandy