Classic Homemade Brownies From Scratch

These classic brownies are moist, rich, and fudgy with a beautiful crackly crust! Two ingenious methods make these brownies ultra chocolaty, thick, chewy, and velvety inside! These are by far the best homemade brownies from scratch

brownies cut into 9 squares on parchment paper

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like brownies!

And there has always been a long-standing controversy: those who love cakey brownies and those who love fudgy ones. 

Personally speaking, I have always loved thick brownies that are somewhere in between, but with more of a chewy texture. 

HOMEMADE VS. STORE-BOUGHT

Boxed brownie mixes are convenient but, to be perfectly honest, they’re nothing compared to classic homemade brownies made from scratch! 

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that not everyone has a tried and trusted brownie recipe, or they may just feel intimidated by making them from scratch. 

Well, I’m here to tell you that making homemade brownies from scratch is SO easy, and SO totally worth it that you probably won’t buy store-bought ever again! I’m convinced that this will become your new go-to recipe!

Why I believe these homemade brownies are better than store-bought mixes:

  • They’re incredibly easy to make.
  • They’re not overly sweet, yet they’re decadent.
  • They’re not greasy.
  • They have an exceptional distinctive chocolate flavor that far surpasses any box mix.
  • They taste even better the following day! Time really allows for the flavors to develop, creating a much richer taste.

3 brownies piled together with sliced brownies in the background

HOW THIS RECIPE STANDS OUT FROM TRADITIONAL ONES

For years, I’ve been making brownies using the standard method: whisking together the melted butter and chocolate and then the eggs, followed by adding the dry ingredients. Easy, peasy and delicious. However, I discovered 2 amazing techniques that take these brownies to a whole new level: the “ribbon stage” and “blooming” the cocoa powder!

The Ribbon Stage

I learned about this technique in this amazing article on Epicurious .  After reading it, I knew I had discovered a secret weapon for making the most incredible brownies EVER! 

The article discusses whipping the eggs until you reach “the ribbon stage”. This is a technique that is common among pastry chefs and bakers, especially when making sponge cakes. Generally speaking, the ribbon stage refers to beating the eggs and sugar together until you get a really thick mixture that almost looks like a thick cake batter. When you lift your whisk or beaters, the egg mixture falls off into beautiful thick ribbons that hold their shape for a few seconds. 

Beating the eggs and sugar together until you reach the ribbon stage incorporates a lot of air into the mixture, which is crucial for the texture and thickness!

Blooming the Cocoa For a Rich Chocolate Flavor

For this recipe, I used Dutch-processed cocoa powder, which I think has a deeper flavor and color than natural cocoa powder. I also “bloomed” the cocoa so that the chocolate is even more intense!

(Check out this post if you want to learn about “blooming” as well as the difference between Dutch-processed cocoa powder and natural cocoa powder.) 

The result of using these methods? 

PHENOMENAL!

The top is crackly and shiny.

The inside?

OMG!!  Soooo chewy, creamy, chocolaty, and thick! 

Brownies stacked on top of each other surrounded by brownies and pieces of chocolate scattered around

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Flour
  • Butter
  • Unsweetened Dutch-processed Cocoa Powder (If you don’t have it, you could use natural unsweetened cocoa powder, instead.)
  • Baking powder
  • Coffee powder (Don’t worry, you don’t taste the coffee!)
  • Salt 
  • Eggs
  • Packed Brown sugar (You could use granulated sugar, but I found that packed brown sugar gives a slight hint of caramel.)
  • Bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (I use couverture chocolate, which is perfect for baking.)

HOW TO MAKE CLASSIC HOMEMADE BROWNIES FROM SCRATCH

homemade brownie steps, melt butter, chocolate, coffee and cocoa powder, in a bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and cocoa powder, in another bowl mix sugar and sal add egss and beat for 5 minutes

 

add melted chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat well, gently fold in the flour mixture, pour into pans and bake

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do you store them?

They can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Can they be frozen?

Yes! Wrap individual brownie squares in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer-safe container. They can be frozen for up to about 3 months. To thaw, just put them in the refrigerator overnight.

VARIATIONS

  • Feel free to mix in your favorite add-ins, like chocolate chips or chopped walnuts!
  • Although they are amazing on their own, you could top them with your favorite frosting. For a delicious chocolate buttercream cream frosting, check out my recipe here. It’s vegan, but if you’re not vegan you could replace the vegan butter/margarine with real butter and the almond/coconut milk with real milk or heavy cream.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • Get the best quality ingredients you can.
  • Measure all the ingredients properly. A digital scale will result in CONSISTENT results every time.
  • When adding the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, don’t overmix the batter. You need to GENTLY fold it in until it’s just combined, otherwise you will deflate all the air that you created in the egg mixture (see the picture tutorial above).
  • Use the right brownie pan size. For this recipe, I used a 9 X 9 inch (23.5 X 23.5 cm) pan. If you have an 8 X 8 inch pan, the brownies will be a bit thicker, if you use a larger pan, they’ll be thinner. Keep in mind that pan size will also affect the baking time.
  • When you line your pan with parchment paper, make sure you leave about 2 – 2 ½ inches hanging over so you can just lift the whole pan of brownies out at once without breaking it.
  • Don’t overbake! You should take them out of the oven when you see a few crumbs on the toothpick inserted to test if they’re done (see picture tutorial above). If you prefer cakey brownies, just bake them for an additional 5 minutes or so.
  • Let them cool completely in the pan before removing them so they don’t fall apart.
  • You can easily freeze these brownies. Just wrap individual squares in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer-safe container. They can be frozen for up to about 3 months. To thaw, just put them in the refrigerator overnight.

3 brownies piled together with sliced brownies in the background

Enjoy!

~Voula

MORE EASY CHOCOLATE DESSERTS!

Classic Chocolate Cupcakes (No Mixer)

Ultimate Chocolate Chunk Cookies (+ Secret Ingredient)

Cheater’s Chocolate Mousse (+Easy Chocolate Garnishes)

Chocolate Pomegranate Bark

Easy Egg-free Chocolate Salami – Greek Kormos/Mosaiko (No-bake + Vegan Option)

Easy Homemade Chocolate Syrup (Without Corn Syrup)

Easy Vegan Fudge Brownies

Sugar Free Whole Wheat Chocolate Cupcakes

Let me know how these classic homemade brownies from scratch turn out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Classic Homemade Brownies From Scratch

These classic brownies are moist, rich, and fudgy with a beautiful crackly crust! Two ingenious methods make these brownies ultra chocolaty, thick, chewy, and velvety inside! These are by far the best homemade brownies from scratch
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: brownies from scratch, brownies, homemade,, chocolate, classic brownies, easy,
Servings: 9

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (113 g / 4 oz) unsalted butter
  • 4 oz (125 g) good quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I use couverture chocolate)
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
  • ½ cup (60 g / 2 oz) unsweetened dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted & divided (If you don’t have it, you could use natural unsweetened cocoa powder, instead.)
  • ½ cup (127 g / 4.5 oz) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (200 g / 7 oz) packed brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs

Instructions

  • Grease and line a pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.
  • In a medium saucepan, add the butter, chocolate, coffee powder and half of the cocoa powder. Melt over medium heat, whisking until everything has melted together. Set aside to cool.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and half of the cocoa powder. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix the sugar and salt together. Add the eggs all at once and beat on high with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes. The mixture should be thick like cake batter.
  • Add the melted chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat until well incorporated.
  • Gently fold in the flour mixture until just combined. Don’t overmix.
  • Pour into the prepared pan and even out the top.
  • Bake for about 15- 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.
  • Allow it to cool completely to room temperature, then lift out of the pan. 
  • Cut into squares and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

TO FREEZE
Wrap individual brownie squares in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer-safe container. They can be frozen for up to about 3 months. To thaw, just put them in the refrigerator overnight.
© Pastry Wishes
 

How to Make Ancient Greek Sesame Bars – Pasteli

These delicious sesame bars have been a part of the Greek culinary tradition since ancient times! You only need 2 ingredients to make this nutritious, ancient Greek superfood known today as Pasteli!

ancient greek sesame bars with honey

Pasteli is a classic, Greek snack! Not only is it delicious, but it’s healthy, too!  It’s an incredible treat dating back to ancient Greece!

Sweets in ancient Greece

In ancient Greece, honey was believed to have come from the gods. It comes as no surprise that the ancient Greeks used honey for so many things since granulated sugar did not exist in ancient Greece; it arrived many centuries later. One popular honey and sesame seed delicacy was called Sisami (pronounced see-SA-mee), which is basically what modern-day Greeks refer to as Pasteli.

What is Pasteli?

Pasteli (pronounced pa-STE-lee) is a bar made with sesame seeds and honey. Various ancient Greek texts mention it, including Homer’s Iliad, where it was popular among the warriors. The father of history, Herodotus, also referred to it as “sweet cakes of sesame and honey”.

Variations of Pasteli today

Today, there are variations of Pasteli in the Middle East and around the Mediterranean, too.

In Greece, there is Pasteli made with sugar and/or a combination of nuts and spices. Pasteli made with sugar is hard and crunchy, almost like brittle. Pasteli made with just honey is much softer and chewier.  The recipe in this post uses honey instead of sugar.

Why I think you’ll love this homemade pasteli:

  • There are only 2 main ingredients, with a few optional add-ins.
  • It’s quick.
  • It’s pretty straightforward.
  • It’s very healthy.
  • It tastes great!

The health benefits of Pasteli

Sesame is known to be a great source of fiber, plant protein, and B vitamins. Pasteli is also rich in antioxidants, which are beneficial for overall health.

What you’ll need

All you need is honey and sesame seeds.

I always use good quality Greek honey. I briefly talk about the benefits of Greek honey in this post. Whenever I make desserts with honey, I find that the quality of the honey really makes a huge difference in the overall flavor. So, if you can’t get Greek honey, get the best honey you can or one you like!

How do you make Pasteli?

Different parts of Greece use different methods. Some areas make Pasteli in large metal pots and then the mixture is poured over a large marble slab or wooden board. Then it’s evened out and beaten with a wooden pin to the desired thickness.

Of course, these traditional methods aren’t really ideal for an ordinary kitchen! I have found a much easier way to make it at home.

First of all, I use a nonstick frying pan. It makes cleanup A LOT easier.

I also like putting the pasteli in a square pan lined with parchment paper. That way, I can just lift it out and then cut it when it’s ready.

pasteli steps 1-10

STEP 1

Oil the bottom and sides of a pan.

STEP 2

Line the pan with parchment paper.

STEP 3

Toast the sesame seeds, put in a bowl and set aside.

STEP 4

Heat the honey in a nonstick pan until it bubbles and foams.

STEP 5

Add the sesame seeds and stir continuously.

STEP 6

Add the remaining ingredients and stir until it thickens.

STEP 7

Spoon the mixture into the pan and even it out with the back of a spoon.

STEP 8

Put a piece of parchment paper on top and press to flatten. The parchment paper will prevent you from getting burnt.

STEP 9

After about 20 minutes it should easily bend, but still be in one piece and hold its shape.

STEP 10

Lift it out of the pan and cut into bars or squares.

If you don’t mind uneven slices, don’t use a pan at all! You can just spoon it onto a large sheet of parchment paper, but don’t touch it with your bare hands because it’s very hot!

Why use a pan?

A pan lets me make Pasteli as thick as I want. For example, a small pan will make thicker bars, whereas a larger pan will make thin ones. For this recipe, I used a 9 ½ inch (24.5 cm) pan and the bars came out to about ½ an inch (1 cm) thick. So, if you’re going to use a pan, pick one depending on how thick or thin you want your bars to be.

pasteli ancient greek sesame bars with honey

Add-ins

Here are a few ideas for add-ins to add more flavor:

  • orange or lemon zest
  • almonds, peanuts, or pistachio nuts
  • ground nutmeg
  • wine
  • black pepper – Ancient Greeks used to put a lot of black pepper in a sweet called gastris! Some parts of Greece today still add black pepper to Pasteli! You might want to give it a try!

 TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • I toast the sesame seeds in a nonstick pan, but you could toast them in the oven (350°F / 180°C) for about 15 minutes.
  • Don’t overcook the Pasteli, otherwise it may become hard.
  • When you spoon the mixture into the pan, don’t touch it! It’s very hot!
  • Cut into bars or squares after about 15-20 minutes. If you wait longer than that, it will be too hard to cut.
  • Store it in an air-tight container at room temperature with sheets of parchment paper between each bar to prevent them from sticking together.

MORE GREEK DESSERTS!

Let me know how this Pasteli turned out for you in the comments below!

I’d love to hear from you!

~Voula

pasteli ancient greek sesame bars with honey
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5 from 1 vote

HOW TO MAKE ANCIENT GREEK SESAME BARS (Pasteli)

These delicious sesame bars have been a part of the Greek culinary tradition since ancient times! You only need 2 ingredients to make this nutritious, ancient Greek superfood known today as Pasteli!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time6 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: ancient Greek, healthy, refined sugar free, honey, sesame

Ingredients

  • 200 g (7 oz) sesame seeds
  • 200 g (7 oz) good quality (Greek) honey
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  • Line a pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Lightly toast the sesame seeds in a nonstick pan, until light golden brown. Put the toasted seeds in a bowl. Set aside.
  • In the same nonstick pan, heat the honey on medium heat until it bubbles and foams.
  • Add the seeds and all the remaining ingredients and stir continuously until the mixture thickens and isn't runny (about 5-6 minutes).
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and even it out with the back of a spoon. DON'T TOUCH THE MIXTURE WITH YOUR BARE HANDS - IT'S VERY HOT!
  • Put a piece of parchment paper on top and press down to flatten and even out the surface.
  • After about 15-20 minutes, it should easily bend, but still be in one piece and hold its shape. Lift it out of the pan and cut into bars or squares.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature with pieces of parchment paper between each bar/square.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Instead of toasting the sesame seeds in a nonstick pan,  you could toast them in the oven (350°F / 180°C) for about 15 minutes.
  • Don't overcook the mixture, otherwise it may become hard.
  • Cut the Pasteli into bars or squares after about 10-20 minutes. If you wait longer than that, it will be too hard to cut.
  • Pasteli is best on the day it’s made. It becomes a little bit harder the next day, but it still retains its chewiness.
© Pastry Wishes

 

Easy Homemade Vegan Fudge Brownies

Who can possibly resist gooey, fudgy brownies topped with creamy chocolate frosting? These mouthwatering vegan fudge brownies are rich, dense and seriously addictive!

four squares of vegan fudge brownies stacked on top of each other with frosting and strawberries

If you’re a brownie fan, you’ll love these vegan fudge brownies – they never disappoint!

This recipe is SO easy. These are the best vegan brownies I’ve ever had!

You won’t find any unusual or hard-to-find ingredients, either.

They’re thick, super fudgy and rich without any butter, eggs, OR egg replacements!

WHAT MAKES THESE EASY VEGAN FUDGE BROWNIES STAND OUT

  • Like my Classic Homemade Brownies, I use the blooming method to really bring out all the rich chocolate flavor! Basically, I add hot water to Dutch-processed cocoa powder to “bloom” it, which makes the chocolate even more intense! (You can read more about blooming here to learn more.)
  • Another thing that makes these vegan brownies outstanding, is that I use BOTH melted chocolate and chocolate chunks in the batter. So, these are actually triple chocolate brownies: cocoa powder, melted chocolate and chocolate chunks!
  • The addition of brown sugar gives them a subtle caramel overtone, which really pairs well with the dark chocolate!

These vegan fudge brownies are:

incredibly simple to make.

soft and chewy.

super chocolaty.

tried, tested & trusted.

absolutely delicious!

a hand holding a brownie piece with walnuts

What you’ll need:

All-purpose flour

Salt

Unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed) – Read about the differences here.

Baking powder

White, brown & powdered sugar

Vegetable oil

Dark/Bittersweet/Semisweet or Couverture chocolate

Vegan butter/Margarine

Almond/Coconut milk

Optional: walnuts – I’ve made this recipe with and without walnuts and both work fine! Personally, I love them without walnuts, but I often make both to please everyone in the family!

How to melt chocolate without scorching it

  1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces.
  2. Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.
  3. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water so it doesn’t scorch the chocolate.
  4. Stir the chocolate until it melts.
  5. Alternatively, you could melt the chocolate in the microwave in short 10 second increments, stirring frequently.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do you store them?

I think they taste better cold, straight out of the fridge! Keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Can they be frozen?

Yes! You can keep these in the freezer for up to about 3 months. Just wrap each brownie square in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer-safe container. To thaw, just put them in the refrigerator overnight.

Can they be reheated?

Of course! I like to heat them in the microwave for a few seconds and serve them with ice cream and luscious homemade chocolate syrup!

HOW TO MAKE EASY HOMEMADE VEGAN FUDGE BROWNIES

 

vegan brownies steps 1-4

vegan brownies steps 5-8

STEP 1

melt HALF of the chocolate

STEP 2

whisk together the hot water & cocoa powder

STEP 3

whisk together the oil, sugar & salt

STEP 4

add the melted chocolate & cocoa mixture & mix until combined

STEP 5

whisk together the flour & baking powder

STEP 6

add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture & combine

STEP 7

fold in the remaining chocolate

STEP 8

pour into prepared pan & spread evenly

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

This recipe is practically foolproof! However, there are a few things you should consider to ensure the brownies come out great!

  • Get the best quality chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder you can find; it makes such a difference. I personally love couverture chocolate because it’s a high-quality baking chocolate.
  • Make sure you melt the chocolate properly.
  • Measure the ingredients well, especially the flour. I use a digital scale to get consistent results each and every time.
  • Don’t overmix the batter.
  • Use the right brownie pan size. For these brownies, I used a 9 X 9 inch (23.5 X 23.5 cm) pan. If you have an 8 X 8 inch pan, the brownies will be a bit thicker, if you use a larger pan, they’ll be thinner. This will also affect the baking time.
  • When you line your pan with parchment paper, make sure you leave about 2 – 2 ½ inches (5-6 cm) hanging over so you can just lift the whole pan of brownies out at once without breaking it.
  • All ovens vary, so start checking the brownies after about 12 minutes. The longer you bake them, the drier they become. I personally prefer underbaking them a bit.
  • Allow the brownies to cool COMPLETELY in the pan before cutting & frosting, otherwise they will fall apart.
  • They taste even better after being in the refrigerator overnight!

three brownie squares stacked on top of each other with a bowl of frosting

I really hope you enjoy these brownies!

~Voula

WANT MORE DELICIOUS CHOCOLATE RECIPES? You’ll love these:

Let me know how these easy homemade vegan fudge brownies turned out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

Easy Homemade Vegan Fudge Brownies

Who can possibly resist gooey, fudgy brownies topped with creamy chocolate frosting? These mouthwatering vegan fudge brownies are rich, dense and seriously addictive!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: EASY, VEGAN, FUDGE, BROWNIES,
Servings: 9

Equipment

  • You'll need a 9 X 9 or 8 X 8 inch square pan ( 23.5 X 23.5 / 20 X 20 cm).

Ingredients

For the brownies

  • 125 g (4.4 oz) dark/bittersweet/semisweet or couverture chocolate, chopped into small chunks (I use 72% dark chocolate)
  • ½ cup (45 g / 1.6 oz ) unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed)
  • ¾ cup (200 ml / 6 fl oz) hot water
  • ¼ cup (65 ml / 2.3 fl oz) vegetable oil
  • ½ cup (100 g / 3.5 oz) granulated white sugar
  • ½ cup (100 g / 3.5oz) brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups (190 g / 6.7 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) walnuts, roughly chopped (optional)

For the frosting

  • ½ cup (113 g / 4 oz) vegan butter/margarine, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (90 g / 3 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed)
  • 2 cups (240 g / 8.5 oz) powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3-6 tablespoons almond/coconut milk

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180 °C.
  • Line the baking pan with parchment paper. Make sure to leave about 2 – 2 ½ inches (5-6 cm) hanging over so you can just lift the whole pan of brownies out at once without breaking it. Set aside.

For the brownies

  • Melt HALF of the chocolate chunks and reserve the other half. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the hot water and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar and salt. Add the melted chocolate and cocoa mixture and mix until combined.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, and baking powder.
  • Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture. Mix until well combined.
  • Fold in the remaining chocolate chunks and walnuts (if using).
  • Pour into prepared pan and spread the mixture evenly.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs on it*.
  • Let it cool COMPLETELY IN THE PAN, about 20 minutes. Then use the overhanging parchment paper to lift the brownies out of the pan. Cut into squares and frost if desired.

For the frosting

  • Using a mixer, beat the vegan butter/margarine until creamy.
  • Gradually add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt and 2 tablespoons of the almond/coconut milk. If you want a thicker consistency, add more powdered sugar. If you want a creamier consistency, add more almond/coconut milk. Spread over the cooled brownies.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • * All ovens vary, so start checking the brownies after about 12 minutes. The longer you bake them, the drier they become. 
  • Allow the brownies to cool COMPLETELY IN THE PAN before lifting them out of the pan and cutting them, so that they don't crumble apart.
  • These brownies are super fudgy when stored in the refrigerator. They will keep for about 3 days at room temperature in an airtight container unfrosted, or in the refrigerator for about a week. 
© Pastry Wishes