Posts

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 homemade! 

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 duch-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

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

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
 

THE BEST CINNAMON ROLLS FROM SCRATCH (+ Make-ahead Options)

What could be better than a warm, gooey batch of homemade cinnamon rolls? These cinnamon rolls are super soft, pillowy, fluffy and moist – simply the BEST cinnamon rolls from scratch!

Cinnamon Rolls

I love making cinnamon rolls! There’s something therapeutic about kneading the dough by hand and watching it rise!

If you haven’t made cinnamon rolls at home before, don’t feel intimidated! It really isn’t complicated at all. I think the most difficult part is waiting for them to cool down when they come out of the oven!

And the amazing aroma that fills the kitchen…OMG, pure bliss!

This recipe is straightforward with plenty of tips. I also offer a few make-ahead options, too.

How to Make the Best Cinnamon Rolls from Scratch in 8 Easy Steps:

STEP 1: WARM THE OVEN

This is a simple trick I use if I want the dough to rise faster. I turn the oven on for a few minutes (at 140° F / 60° C ) and then turn it off and wait a few minutes before adding the dough. This creates a nice, warm environment for the dough, allowing it to rise faster.

STEP 2: MAKE & KNEAD THE DOUGH

Simple, basic ingredients is all you need for the dough: flour, yeast, sugar, salt, milk, butter & 1 egg. You can use a stand mixer or knead by hand for about 5 minutes. I love kneading by hand!

STEP 3: LET THE DOUGH RISE

Put the dough in a greased, oven-proof bowl & place it in the warm oven to rise (about 1 – 1 ½ hours).

STEP 4: MAKE THE FILLING

Mix the softened butter, sugar, and cinnamon together.

STEP 5: ROLL OUT & CUT THE DOUGH

After the dough has risen, lightly grease your work surface with oil and roll out the dough into a rectangle. Spread the dough with the cinnamon sugar filling and then tightly roll it up, starting from the bottom. Cut into 10 – 12 pieces, (the number of pieces will depend on how large your rectangle is).

STEP 6: LET THE DOUGH RISE A SECOND TIME

Place the pieces in a pan, about 2 inches (5 cm) apart and let them rise again (for about half an hour). They should have doubled in size.

STEP 7: BAKE

Preheat the oven to 356° F / 180 °C. Bake for about 20 – 30 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and puffy. Then let them cool for about 15 minutes.

STEP 8: MAKE THE GLAZE 

Mix the powdered sugar with some milk or water, adding more liquid if necessary. Drizzle over the cooled rolls.

cinnamon rolls

THREE WAYS TO MAKE THE FILLING:

  • Spread room temperature butter on the dough. Then add the cinnamon sugar & spices.
  • Melt the butter and brush it on the dough. Then add the cinnamon sugar & spices.
  • Mix room temperature butter with the cinnamon sugar & spices and then spread it on the dough using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.

MAKE-AHEAD OPTIONS

There are different ways you can easily make these cinnamon rolls in advance, just make sure they are tightly covered so they don’t dry out.

Want freshly-baked, warm cinnamon rolls in the morning?

Put the rolls in a pan, cover, and refrigerate overnight (you don’t need to wait to let them rise first). The next day, you’ll see that they have risen nicely! Let them rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes (you can do this while preheating your oven). Then uncover them and bake as directed.

Want to save the cinnamon rolls and bake them later?

Here are 2 easy ways and you don’t need to let them rise first!

  • In a pan: Tightly wrap the entire pan with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and freeze. If your pan has a lid, make sure it’s tightly covered.
  • Individual rolls: Place some rolls on a baking sheet and then put them in the freezer until they are frozen (a few hours). Then take them out and tightly wrap each one in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag or freezer container.

Cinnamon rolls can be frozen for up to a month. To bake, let the rolls thaw at room temperature overnight and then bake as directed.

cinnamon rolls

Tips for perfect homemade cinnamon rolls

  • Use room temperature ingredients. They will be better incorporated in the dough, making it easier to work with.
  • Don’t kill the yeast. Make sure you proof the yeast properly (see my note below).
  • Measure the flour properly when you mix your dough. If your dough is a bit sticky & too wet, add some flour, but only a tablespoon at a time, until it’s pliable. If you don’t use enough flour, the dough will be too sticky and the cinnamon rolls will turn out dense. If you use too much flour, the cinnamon rolls could turn out dry and crumbly, not soft and fluffy! The dough should be a bit tacky, but not sticky.
  • Make sure the dough rises in a well-greased bowl. This will make it easier to remove. Also, keep in mind that rising times will depend on how warm and humid your kitchen is.
  • Grease your work surface before rolling out the dough instead of flouring it. I find that greasing the surface with some light vegetable oil is much better and makes the dough easier to work with.
  • Roll the dough tightly. This will help the rolls hold their shape when baking.
  • After cutting the rolls, give them plenty of space in your pan because they will need to rise a second time. Make sure they’re about 2 inches (5 cm) apart so that they rise evenly.
  • Let the baked cinnamon rolls cool before glazing them, otherwise the glaze melts to the bottom of the pan instead of staying on top of the rolls.

How to Proof Active Dry Yeast

  • Warm the milk. The temperature should roughly be between  105° F – 115° F (40°C – 46°C) degrees. To test if the temperature is right without a thermometer, the milk should feel comfortably warm on your wrist, not hot. If it’s too hot, it’ll kill the yeast! If the temperature is OK, add the yeast and a teaspoon of sugar and give it a little stir. The sugar acts like food for the yeast, which will activate it.
  • Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes. This will give the yeast enough time to feed on the sugar. You’ll know it’s ready when the mixture becomes foamy and bubbly. If the mixture hasn’t proofed, then your yeast might be old. If that’s the case, you’ll need to start over with yeast that hasn’t expired.

Homemade cinnamon rolls are best the same day they are baked, but if there are any left the following day, you could easily reheat them! Simply microwave them for about half a minute.

AMAZING TOPPINGS FOR CINNAMON ROLLS

Apart from the classic glaze and cream cheese frosting, these are some of my favorite toppings for cinnamon rolls:

  • Slather with butter as soon as they come out of the oven! OMG! The most delicious breakfast ever!
  • Drizzle some melted, dark chocolate over the warm cinnamon rolls.
  • Top with Greek yogurt, muesli and fruit.
  • Top with some whipped cream and sprinkle some cinnamon on top!
  • Top with a scoop of your favorite ice cream!
  • Spread some Nutella over them!
  • Pour some caramel sauce or homemade chocolate syrup on top!
  • Add some chopped apples and then drizzle with honey or pour some maple syrup over them.
  • Top with crushed mini pretzels (it sounds weird, but trust me; it’s incredible!)

I really hope you enjoy these cinnamon rolls!

~Voula

Let me know how these cinnamon rolls turned out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

THE BEST CINNAMON ROLLS FROM SCRATCH (+ Make-ahead Options)

What could be better than a warm, gooey batch of homemade cinnamon rolls? These cinnamon rolls are super soft, pillowy, fluffy and moist – simply very best cinnamon rolls from scratch!
Total Time3 hrs
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: best, breakfast, cinnamon rolls, from scratch, make-ahead options
Servings: 12 approximately

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 1¾ cup (200 ml / 6 fl oz) warm milk (105°F-115°F / 40°C – 46°C ) plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 packet (8 g / 0.28 oz / 1 ½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 beaten egg, at room temperature
  • 2 ½ -3 cups (328-381 g / 11.5 – 13.4 oz) all-purpose flour (+ 1-3 tablespoons more if needed)
  • 6 tablespoons (60 g / 2 oz) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g / 0.5 oz) melted butter

For the filling

  • 3 ½ tablespoons (50 gr / 3.5 oz) butter, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup (78 gr / 2.8 oz) packed brown sugar
  • 1  tablespoon ground cinnamon

For the glaze

  • 1 cup (120 g / 4.2 oz) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) milk (water works great, too!), use more as needed

Instructions

  • Warm the oven: Preheat the oven to 140°F / 60 ° C for a few minutes and then turn it off.
  • Proof the yeast: Add the yeast and a teaspoon of sugar to the warm milk and give it a little stir. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes, until it becomes foamy and bubbly.
  • Make the dough: Mix the flour, sugar and the salt. Set aside.
    In a large bowl, mix the yeast mixture together the beaten egg. Add the dry ingredients and mix until a soft dough forms, adding 1-3 tablespoons more flour if needed or if dough is too sticky. The dough should be a bit tacky, but not sticky.
    Knead the dough for about 5 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Add the melted butter and knead for another minute or so.
  • Let the dough rise*: Grease an oven-proof bowl and put the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap and then a clean kitchen towel and place it in the warm oven and let it rise for about 1 – 1 ½ hours.
  • Make the filling: Mix together the butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • Roll out and cut the dough: After the dough has risen, lightly grease your work surface with a little oil and roll out the dough into a rectangle. Spread the dough with the filling and then tightly roll it up, starting from the bottom. Cut into 10 – 12 pieces, (the number of pieces will depend on how large your rectangle is).
  • Let the dough rise a second time: Place the pieces in a pan, about 2 inches (5 cm) apart and let them rise a second time (about 30 minutes). They should double in size.*
  • Bake: Preheat the oven to 180 °C / 355° F. Bake for about 20 – 30 minutes or until they’re golden brown and puffy. Then let them cool for about 15 minutes.
  • Make the glaze: Mix the powdered sugar with the milk, adding more if necessary. Drizzle over the cooled rolls.
  • Cover the cinnamon rolls tightly and store for up to 5 days in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

* Rising times will depend on how warm and humid your kitchen is.
For Overnight Cinnamon Rolls: Put the rolls in a pan, cover, and refrigerate overnight (you don’t need to wait to let them rise first). The next day, you’ll see that they have risen nicely! Let them rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes (you can do this while preheating your oven). Then uncover them and bake as directed. 
© Pastry Wishes