Brownies to die for

People tell me these are the best brownies they’ve ever had. I watch responsible adults turn into five-year-olds at the sight of them. Brownies may have nothing to do with my usual blog themes, but since I just finished a long semester—and on the Summer Solstice!—I can’t think of any better way to celebrate than dark chocolate brownies, crisp on the outside and nearly runny on the inside.Brownies

The secret to these brownies lies in the method as well as the ingredients, so here, just for you, are all my brownie secrets. (And yes, I made the plate too.)

Brownies to die for

  • 7 ounces (or squares) semisweet chocolate
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or a little less)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Notes on the ingredients

  • I use Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate chips. Of all the chocolates I’ve tried, Ghirardelli provides the most complex dark chocolate flavor for this recipe.
  • You can use unsweetened baking chocolate. If so, use 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate and increase the sugar to 2 cups.
  • Butter, of course. No cheating.
  • Eggs: 3 eggs (instead of 4, as in the original version of this recipe) give the brownies a chewier texture. The extra egg would turn them a little cakey.


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler. I’ve never had a double boiler, so I use a small metal mixing bowl perched on top of a saucepan with some water in it.
  • Mix the sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
  • Add the melted chocolate-butter mixture.
  • Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients.
  • Fold in the walnuts.
  • Spread in a greased, floured 9 x 13-inch pan.


The secret to a crisp exterior with a nearly runny interior is in the baking.

  • Bake 10 minutes @ 400 degrees. (To crisp the outside.)
  • Turn oven down to 325 degrees, and bake 10 to 15 minutes more.
  • Take the brownies out before they’re done! Here’s how to recognize the perfect baking moment: The batter will puff up as it bakes then slowly recede. Take the brownies out AFTER they reach the highest puff but BEFORE they have gone down all the way. If you wait until the puff is gone, you’ll have dry instead of moist brownies.

Eat as many as you can before they cool.

Happy Solstice!


7 Responses to Brownies to die for

  1. Pedantka says:June 21, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    And I can vouch for the ability of those brownies to survive transatlantic shipping and a good month being held up at customs, and still come out tasting utterly delicious. (Warning: do not attempt during summer.)

    I wonder if I will have time away from the library to commune with my stand mixer when I’m back over there in a couple weeks.

  2. Annette says:June 22, 2009 at 12:33 am

    just what I needed! Thx

  3. Mimi Meredith says:June 22, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Thank you for sharing a recipe today! I think it’s a perfect way to blend your messages about sustaining this good and beautiful earth. How many of us take time to bake from scratch something that is a treat. Share with people you love; share with people you don’t know; left over crumbs…for the birds of course! See Priscilla, you’re training us well! Happy Summer!

  4. Priscilla Stuckey, PhD says:June 22, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Pedantka, we have only the icy winter of the far north to thank for the fact that you didn’t get food poisoning that time! (Or maybe you did and were just too polite to tell me.) Happy mixing with what sounds like a favorite toy. I don’t have a mixer myself; just a few swipes with a spatula do the trick with this batter. Annette, I hope you enjoy! And Mimi, thanks for making the link to sustainable living–duh! you’re exactly right. A special treat gives emotional sustenance too–critical for sustaining life.

  5. Pedantka says:June 22, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Blame it on the winter if you want, but I remain convinced of the innate indestructibility of the brownies.

  6. Sandy says:October 13, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    Best brownies ever! Thanks for sharing the recipe…now, do you adjust the baking temperature or time for altitude when you’re here in Boulder?

    • Priscilla Stuckey, PhD says:October 14, 2009 at 7:44 am

      Hi, Sandy, glad you liked them! These are the same temp and time I used at sea level. When I moved to 5,000 ft I thought they’d have to be adjusted, but from the first batch, everything worked fine. I suspect that by watching the batter rise and fall in the oven you’re making the adjustment–less time overall at altitude. Or is it more? I’m hopeless at calculating the adjustment, so I depend on watching the oven–trust the senses! 🙂 Every batch seems to need a slightly different baking time.