Rich, chocolatey, and indulgent, these brown butter brownies are going to be one of your top favorite desserts. Brown butter plus a bit of coffee add a really good depth of flavor, rounding out that chocolatey goodness.
What I love about this recipe is that it’s easy to make and satiates my chocolate craving. Could I have made this recipe simpler? Probably — but I tried it simpler and it just didn’t taste as good.
Why brown the butter?
So what I meant by “simpler” was using just regular melted butter. It only really saved me like 3-5 minutes vs. browning it, and while the regular brownies turned out okay, it was very one note. It yielded a basic chocolate brownie, without other layers of flavor to the chocolate. Overall, forgettable. So I thought, what is one easy change I could do that will produce better brownies? The answer was brown butter. You don’t really taste brown butter in the final brownie result, but it adds another layer to the chocolate that is subtle, but still noticeable. I can’t really put my finger on how to describe the difference, but it made it less one-note.
The other difference in the butter I use is that I opted for salted butter instead of unsalted butter. I know some folks are cautious about the amount of salt that goes in baked goods, but to be honest, the salt level in the amount of butter used in this recipe is not going to make it salty. Salt is important in desserts! It enhances the flavor and rounds out the sweetness as well. If you don’t have salted butter, you can use unsalted butter but just add 1/2 tsp of kosher salt in the batter.
Why add the coffee?
The other flavor enhancer that I love to use in chocolate desserts is coffee. Again, the amount indicated in the recipe is not enough for the brown butter brownies to taste like coffee. However, it amps up and rounds out the chocolate flavor. In the recipe, I noted espresso powder or instant coffee. I happen to have easy access to espresso because I make my own lattes and I have an espresso machine to grind whole espresso beans. If you can’t find espresso grounds or powder, you can also just use instant coffee powder or granules (like the Starbucks VIA or whatever brand you prefer).
What about add-ins?
While this recipe only calls for semi-sweet chocolate chips, you can definitely nuts if you’d like some added texture to these brownies. My husband prefers them without nuts, but if it were just me, I’d definitely add some toasted walnuts. If you are going to opt for nuts, I’d recommend adding no more than 1/3 cup. Some good options for nuts are walnuts, almonds, pecans, or cashews. If hazelnuts are not expensive in your area, that’s a great nut option as well.
Tools you’ll need
- 10 tbsp salted butter
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup Dutch process cocoa
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp espresso powder or instant coffee powder/granules
- 4 oz (~2/3 cup) bittersweet chocolate chips
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Put the sugar, bittersweet chocolate chips, and espresso powder (or instant coffee) in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, brown your salted butter. You're aiming for a golden brown color, and you'll also smell the nuttiness once it gets to that point. Be careful though and make sure to keep your eyes on the butter. It doesn't take long for it to go from light brown to burnt.
- Once it reaches the golden brown stage, pour the hot brown butter on to your mixing bowl with the sugar, chocolate, and coffee. With a rubber spatula, stir well until all the chocolate chips are melted.
- Using a hand mixer, add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly until fully incorporated before adding the next egg. Add the vanilla extract and mix.
- With a fine mesh sieve, sift the flour, Dutch process cocoa, and baking powder to your wet ingredients. Mix with a hand mixer on low until you don't see any more dry flour spots. The batter will be thick, but this is to be expected. Switching back to your rubber spatula, fold in the semi-sweet chocolate chips. If you're opting to add some nuts as well, you can also fold them in at this stage.
- In a greased 8x8 square baking pan, pour the batter in and spread it as evenly as you can. Bake for 28-30 minutes. For the consistency that I like, I've seen that 28 minutes was sufficient. It shouldn't be too cakey or too fudgy.
- Let it cool and rest for about 15 minutes, then enjoy!
If you happen to have leftovers, microwave a serving for 10-15 seconds prior to eating for best results.