These are chewy, fudgy, and ultra-rich frosted brownies covered in a generous layer of creamy chocolate buttercream. The recipe starts with a combo of melted butter and quality chocolate, which provides a smooth and velvety base for these dense fudge-like treats. Bake these in a 9-inch square pan, then cool for about 1 to 2 hours before frosting.
I originally published this recipe for frosted brownies in 2014.
There’s nothing like indulging in a from-scratch brownie.
But if you cover that brownie in creamy chocolate buttercream, you’re entering another dessert dimension. A moist and dense brownie underneath a blanket of sweet and smooth frosting is pure chocolate luxury.
If you’ve tasted these frosted brownies before, you know I’m not exaggerating.
These are R-I-C-H!
Chewy & Fudgy Frosted Brownies
Here’s what you can expect from this recipe:
- Fresh homemade flavor
- 1 bowl brownie batter + 1 bowl chocolate frosting
- Yields a 9-inch square pan of brownies (about 16)
- Intensely chocolatey
- Crackly, shiny surface before frosting
- Dense and moist, yet still a bit chewy
5 Key Ingredients in These Chewy Brownies
Before you begin, it’s helpful to know the importance of the ingredients you’re using. Especially since you’re taking the time to make a treat from scratch, that could easily be made from a box instead. I wasn’t able to develop this frosted brownie recipe without a little practice and learning. There are 5 main ingredients in your brownie batter—varying the amounts of these ingredients will affect the texture and flavor of the finished product, so I don’t recommend adjustments.
- Butter: Melted butter adds flavor and helps develop a chewy texture.
- Chocolate: Homemade brownie recipes call for cocoa powder and/or solid chocolate. If using all cocoa powder, you need more fat in the brownie batter because cocoa powder does not contain cocoa butter. My brownie recipe uses mostly solid chocolate with a little cocoa powder. Double the chocolate goodness! Semi-sweet chocolate is best here; I don’t suggest using unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate. I prefer Baker’s or Ghirardelli brand chocolate. You need 2 4-ounce bars.
- Flour: I use as little flour as possible to produce a fudge-like brownie that still has some nice structure. More flour = a lighter, more cake-like brownie.
- Sugar: These homemade brownies use 3/4 cup of granulated sugar. I also add 1/4 cup of brown sugar, which adds a bit of moisture.
- Eggs: Eggs perform many functions in baking including binding, adding richness, tenderizing, providing structure, adding lift, and so on. This recipe uses 3 eggs, which give the brownies a tight crumb and melt-in-your-mouth texture.
You also need cocoa powder for both the brownie batter and the frosting. For superior flavor, I recommend dutch-process cocoa powder over natural cocoa powder.
And finally, vanilla, salt, and chocolate chips are the remaining few ingredients. Each add some flavor.
Melted Butter + Chocolate
Melt the butter and chopped chocolate together first. It’s helpful to cut the butter into pieces so it melts quickly and evenly. You can use a microwave or the stove for this step.
Again, this provides unbeatable chocolate flavor and a smooth starting point for your perfect brownies.
Use a bowl or pot that’s on the larger side, because eventually, all of the remaining ingredients will join.
Expect a Semi-Thick Batter
Give the batter a good whisk to ensure there are no remaining pockets of cocoa powder and flour, and then fold in the chocolate chips. Expect a semi-thick batter:
Spread the batter into a parchment paper-lined 9-inch square pan. If you’re looking for a recommendation, I use and love this USA Pan 9-inch square baking pan.
Chocolate Brownie Frosting
You can also frost brownies with a cooked fudge-like frosting, or a chocolate ganache. I find both to be particularly rich for these, and too similar to the brownie layer in both texture and taste. So, instead, I always opt for chocolate buttercream. It’s lighter, a tad sweeter, and ultra creamy. For the buttercream, I use a variation of my regular chocolate buttercream, a favorite choice for cupcakes and cakes. Most of the ingredients are repeats from the brownie batter, with the exception of confectioners’ sugar and milk.
Success tip for the milk: Instead of milk, you can use heavy cream. Regardless of which you use, warm it up for a few seconds in the microwave or in a small pot on the stove. Adding slightly warm liquid to the frosting helps to thin it out and creates a smoother, more satiny finish.
The satiny frosting glides onto the cooled brownies seamlessly:
You can, but I don’t recommend it. I find the added sugar helps to develop the brownie’s shiny, crackly crust. In fact, this is an experiment many bakers have tried, including the crew over at King Arthur Baking. How fascinating! And, as always, be sure to whisk the sugar into the warm melted butter and chocolate, as that also helps develop a crisp crackly top.
Not for this recipe. Instead, try my seriously fudgy homemade brownies, and you can leave out the 2 ounces of melted chocolate and 2 ounces of chopped chocolate in that recipe. (Or try my coconut cheesecake brownies or brownie ice cream sandwiches!)
This isn’t enough batter for a larger 9×13-inch pan. Instead, try my seriously fudgy homemade brownies.
These are chewy, fudgy, and ultra-rich brownies covered in a generous layer of creamy chocolate buttercream. The recipe starts with a combo of melted butter and quality chocolate, which provides a smooth and velvety base for these dense fudge-like treats. Bake these in a 9-inch square pan, then cool for about 1 to 2 hours before frosting.
- 1/2 cup (8 Tbsp; 113g) unsalted butter
- two 4-ounce (226g) semi-sweet chocolate bars, coarsely chopped*
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup (84g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 2 Tablespoons (10g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder (I prefer dutch-process)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (180g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup (8 Tbsp; 113g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 cups (180g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/3 cup (27g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder (I prefer dutch-process)
- 3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream or milk, slightly warm (see Note)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch of salt, to taste
- Make the brownies: Cut the butter into smaller pieces so it melts down quicker. Place it in a heatproof bowl or in a medium saucepan. Add the chopped chocolate. Melt in the microwave in 20-second increments stirring after each until melted, or, if you’re using a saucepan, melt it over low heat on the stove. Cool for just 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Whisk the granulated and brown sugars into the cooled chocolate/butter mixture. Whisk in the eggs, and then the vanilla. Whisk in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt until no pockets of dry ingredients remain. Once combined, fold in the chocolate chips. The batter is semi-thick.
- Pour and spread batter evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 32-35 minutes, or until the top appears set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist (not wet) crumbs. All ovens are different, so keep an eye on your brownies. Check them at 30 minutes. Mine usually take 32 minutes. Tip: Err on the side of underbaking, because brownies continue to set as they cool.
- Place the pan on a wire rack and cool brownies for 1 to 2 hours. Once cooled, lift the brownies out of the pan using the parchment paper on the sides. Set aside as you make the frosting.
- Make the frosting: With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream/milk, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 1 full minute. Taste. Beat in another pinch of salt if desired.
- Spread over mostly cooled brownies (it’s ok if the brownies are still a bit warm). I usually use an offset spatula to spread the frosting. Cut into squares. For neat squares, I use a very long and sharp knife and wipe it clean with a paper towel after each cut.
- Unfrosted brownies stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week. Frosted brownies stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Freezing Instructions: For longer storage, these frosted or unfrosted brownies freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Saucepan/Pot or Glass Mixing Bowl | 9-inch Square Baking Pan | Whisk | Cooling Rack | Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | Offset Spatula
- Chocolate: Quality chocolate is ideal. Chocolate is the main ingredient and will be melted down, so using chocolate chips (which contain stabilizers) will negatively affect the taste and texture. (Chocolate chips are an add-in in this batter, and not used for melting with the butter.) For all my recipes calling for chopped or melted chocolate, including this one, I use 4-ounce (113g) chocolate baking bars, found in the baking aisle. I like Baker’s, Lindt, and Ghirardelli brands. You need 2 for this recipe. I used Baker’s brand in the pictured brownies.
- Gluten Free? Many bakers have tried these brownies with a 1:1 swap of gluten free flour blend for the all-purpose flour. I have not tested it myself, but all have said it works wonderfully. Or you can browse my gluten free recipes.
- Heavy Cream/Milk in Frosting: Regardless of which you use (both work wonderfully in the frosting), warm it up for a few seconds in the microwave or in a small pot on the stove. Adding slightly warm liquid to the frosting helps to thin it out and creates a smoother, more satiny finish.
- Baking Pan: You can use an 11×7-inch baking pan instead. The bake time is about the same. This isn’t enough batter for a larger 9×13-inch pan. Instead, try my seriously fudgy homemade brownies.
Keywords: frosted brownies