With good chocolate and a few other tricks, you’ll have the brownies of your dreams in no time.

By Bridget Hallinan
April 07, 2020
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Greg DuPree

We love a good brownie at Food & Wine. They’re rich, chocolatey, and filling, a truly comforting dessert we can't get enough of whether they're eaten plain or garnished with a generous scoop of ice cream. And if you're looking for a new recipe, pastry chef Lee Lee Reid’s double chocolate chunk brownies from Nathaniel Reid Bakery tick off all of those boxes and more. You only need 10 ingredients, and everything comes together in three steps. As you read through, it may seem like there’s a lot of extra work—the sifting, the melting, the resting period. But all of these little things add up to big flavor and the ultimate brownie texture, a cakey-fudgy hybrid.

Read on for our key tips to making these tasty brownies, compiled from the recipe and the Food & Wine Test Kitchen.

Before You Take Out a Bowl, Preheat the Oven

Setting the oven to 350F well in advance ensures even heating and temperature.

Use Good Chocolate… 

Brownies are only as good as the chocolate and cocoa you use, so Reid likes to use Dutch-process cocoa powder and dark chocolate wafers (aka jumbo-sized, flattened disks of baking chocolate) from brands like Valrhona. (Check out our guide to the best chocolate in the U.S. for more recommendations.)

…Or Sub in Chips in a Pinch

Chocolate chips tend to have stabilizers in them, which can affect the taste and meltability, so wafers or chopped chocolate bars would be your best bet. But if you can’t find them, chips definitely work.

Light Brown Sugar Can Work, Too

Dark brown sugar has a higher molasses content, and is therefore slightly more acidic, so it will react like baking powder or baking soda and create optimal texture for the brownies. But if you only have light brown sugar, that works, too.

Sift the Dry Ingredients

Sifting together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt removes any clumps and also ensures everything is evenly combined. 

Melt the chocolate

Either a double boiler or the microwave will work here. If you decide to microwave, make sure you heat the chocolate in short bursts, stirring in between each session, so it doesn’t burn.

Whip the Eggs and Sugar

Many recipes will typically call for creaming the butter and sugar together before adding the eggs. Instead, Reid likes to whip together the sugar (both granulated and brown), eggs, and melted butter all together with the vanilla extract, resulting in a very airy mixture—the sugar melts into the eggs and helps create brownies that are light but still rich.

Fold in the Flour

After you’ve mixed the melted chocolate into the egg mixture, fold in the flour mixture as opposed to using the mixer. You don’t want to overwork the gluten in the flour, as this will create a tough, rubbery texture. So instead, fold it in until everything is just combined. 

Bake ‘Em

Line a 13-by-9-inch baking pan (preferably metal) with parchment paper and lightly coat the paper with cooking spray. Pour the batter into the pan and make sure to add the remaining chocolate pieces on top for extra chocolatey goodness. Bake the brownies until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.

Cool ‘Em

You’ll be tempted to dig into these brownies right away, but you need to let them cool for awhile first. Place the pan on a wire rack and let it sit for at least two hours—the elevation allows air circulation and helps the brownies cool, while the pan, which will still retain a little heat, adds a little carry-over cooking. Cooling them in the pan also helps the brownies retain their shape, so they stay gooey without falling apart. Warning: These two hours may seem much longer than they actually are.

Cut and Store

Once the brownies have cooled, use the parchment paper to lift them out of the pan onto a cutting board. Cut them as you please and enjoy right away, but try to stash at least a few in an airtight container at room temperature so you can enjoy even more special brownie moments for up to two days more.