Brown butter brownies with chocolate ganache

Brown butter brownies with chocolate ganache

For me, a mouthwatering brownie needs to be dense, decadent, and divine. I like a fudgy brownie that’s rich and complex in flavors. My brown butter brownies with chocolate ganache are basically like gooey candy bars but in the best way. They have a deep flavor thanks to the caramelization of the brown butter and espresso powder I add to the batter. I also use Dutch-processed cocoa so that the brownies have a milder and less acidic chocolate flavor. 

If you’re looking for an elevated brownie that you and your loved ones will savor, this is the brownie recipe for you. 

About the ingredients

Brown butter: The star of the show when it comes to these brownies is the brown butter. It adds that secret kick that makes people go, “what’s in this brownie?” Brown butter is created when full-fat butter is carefully toasted in a pan. The gradual heating of the butter helps caramelize the milk solids, giving it a rich, buttery flavor. By browning your butter, you enhance the savory notes of the butter, which is a nice complement when added to sweet desserts. 

Espresso powder: Chocolate and coffee is a perfect pairing. It helps enhance the rich flavors of the cocoa beans. I like to use instant espresso powder in the brownie batter as well as in the chocolate ganache recipe because it adds flavor and less moisture to the recipe. If you don’t have instant espresso powder, you can use a tablespoon of strong coffee in the batter instead.

Dutch-processed cocoa: There are three main types of cocoa powder to choose from, but my recommendation is to use Dutch cocoa powder for this recipe. This cocoa powder adds dark chocolatey color to the batter and is less acidic than the natural cocoa powder option, which means it has a nice and mild flavor.

Vanilla: I use a good 'ole fashion vanilla extract for this recipe. If you want to be fancy, you can use vanilla beans, but we have so many other flavors going on here that a typical vanilla extract does fine and helps highlight the other ingredients. 

Sugars: I used granulated and brown sugar for this recipe. It’s important to use both because they can give the brownie it’s dense texture. Plus, the molasses in dark brown sugar pairs well with the coffee and chocolate flavors in this brownie. 

Dark chocolate: I like the bitterness of dark chocolate, so I use dark chocolate squares in my brownie batter and also for my ganache. If you want something with a little more sweetness, you can use semi-sweet chocolate chips. 

Heavy cream: This is a key ingredient for reaching the best texture for your ganache. It helps add body and moisture to the chocolate as you heat it up. Plus, you need that extra fat to give the ganache its flavor. 

Eggs: Eggs are another essential brownie ingredient in this recipe, and in general. That’s because it acts as an emulsifier for brownie batters. The egg yolks have lecithin, a fat that helps the dry ingredients come together with butter or shortening. It helps give brownies a creamy texture. With you them, you’d have chocolate biscuits, which I guess wouldn’t too be too, but not what we want. 

Flour: You don’t need to be fancy here, just use all-purpose flour, it works perfectly. 

What’s the best texture for brownies?

Brownie texture is obviously a personal preference, I tend to gravitate toward fudgy brownies. But there are essentially 3 types of textures: cakey, fudgy, and chewy. These brownies are definitely fudgy. The texture of a brownie is impacted by ingredients and baking time. Below’s a description of the different types of brownie textures. 

Cakey brownies are light and airy, with a slightly fluffy texture. They are not as dense as fudgy or chewy brownies, and they may have a more pronounced chocolate flavor.

Fudgy brownies are dense and moist, with a gooey texture. They are made with more fat and sugar than cakey brownies, and they often have a richer chocolate flavor.

Chewy brownies are a cross between cakey and fudgy brownies. They are dense and chewy, with a slightly crispy exterior. They often have a slightly less pronounced chocolate flavor than caky or fudgy brownies.

When were brownies invented?

I love knowing the history of food. And obviously, I needed to learn about the history of brownies. The classic American dessert was invented in 1893 in Chicago, Illinois. Bertha Palmer, a socialite and philanthropist, was the wife of Potter Palmer, who was a businessman and hotel owner. She asked the pastry chef at the Palmer House Hotel to create a new dessert that would be easy to box and transport. The chef came up with a small, cake-like confection made with chocolate and walnuts. The dessert was a hit at the fair, and it quickly became known as the "Palmer House Brownie."

Although the hotel created the brownie, the first published recipe for brownies appeared in the Home Cookery cookbook in 1904. The recipe was very similar to the one used at the Palmer House Hotel, and it included instructions for making a cake-like brownie with walnuts and an apricot glaze. The Palmer House Hotel still serves its famous brownies today. The recipe is over 120 years old, and it is still one of the hotel's most popular desserts.

How to store your brownies

If you want to make the batter, but bake off another time, you can freezer the batter for up to 3 months and then thaw in the refrigerator and then baked them off. You can also bake the brownies and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days If the brownies are underbaked, under 22 minutes, try to eat them in two days and please refrigerate. You can also freeze your baked brownies, without the ganache, for 3 months. You can thaw them and microwave them when you want to enjoy them later. 

Recipe: Brown butter brownies with chocolate ganache

Baked and decorated brown butter brownies on pink serving plate

Cooking notes

  • Yields: 16 brownies if baked in 8x8 pan
  • Baking temperature: 350 degrees Fahrenheit 

Cook time

  • Active cooking time: 30 minutes 
  • Passive cooking time: 3 hours to overnight (letting the batter rest)
  • Baking time: 22 to 25 minutes 
  • Total cook time: About 4 hours


Brownie batter 

  • 1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter 
  • 4 ounces of semi-sweet or dark chocolate 
  • ½ cup of granulated sugar 
  • ½ cup of dark or light brown sugar 
  • 3 eggs at room temperature 
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 
  • ½ cup of all-purpose flour 
  • ½ cup of cocoa powder 
  • ½ teaspoon of espresso powder (instant is best) 
  • ½ teaspoon of salt 
  • Pinch of fleur de sel (for garnish)
  • Sprinkles (optional, for garnish)

Chocolate ganache 

  • ½ cup of semi sweet or dark chocolate chips or squares 
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream 
  • ¼ teaspoon of instant espresso powder 


First, we start this recipe off by making the brown butter. In a sauce pan, melt your softened butter slowly over medium heat. As the butter heats, it will become foamy and crackle. You need to watch your butter carefully because the browning process happens fast and if you aren’t watching, it can burn. Once the butter stops making popping and crackling sounds, stir it with a wooden spoon. Monitor the color of your butter. It will start to darken in color. You want an light amber color on your butter. The milk solids, which will toast at the bottom of the pan will turn a light brown color. Once you have achieved this color, remove from the heat immediately. 

Browned butter on stovetop

Your butter will still be hot when you remove it from the heat. At this point, add in your 4 ounces of chopped semi-sweet or dark chocolate. I like using baker’s chocolate here because it doesn’t have stabilizers and it melts very quickly into the butter. Stir the chocolate into the butter until it is nicely blended and set aside to let it cool. 

Brown butter and chocolate mixed together

In a separate, large bowl whip your eggs and sugars together until the mixture it light and airy. You can do this by hand with a whisk. Next, add it your vanilla, espresso powder, and your cooled, but still liquid, butter and chocolate mixture. Mix well. 

Cooled brown butter and chocolate mixture added to eggs and sugar

Then you will sift your flour, cocoa powder, and salt into the wet ingredients so that you have no lumps. Stir to combine but do not over mix. 

Flour and cocoa powder added to the batter

Once everything is incorporated, add in your chocolate squares, chips, or other candies the batter. Fold lightly. 

Chocolate squares and candies added to brownie batter

Take an 8x8 brownie pan and line with parchment paper. While your batter is still wet and malleable, pour into the pan. 

All the ingredients mixed into the batter

For the best fudgy brownie, you need to chill this batter for at least 3 hours, but you get the best results by chilling overnight. This lets the flavors come together and it lets the batter rest. 

The next day, pull your brownie batter out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. 

Unbaked brownie batter in baking pan

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

Once your brownie batter is at room temperature, pop it into the oven for 22 to 25 minutes. 

The brownies will have a lovely, paper thin, crispy crust when they are done baking. 

Paper thin crust on top of the baked brownies

Remove the brownies from the oven and let them rest for at least 15 minutes. You can eat them just like this, or you can make the chocolate ganache to go on top. 

You can make a chocolate ganache two different ways. The professional way is the double boiler method where you take a pot, add some water to it, not too much and bring it to a simmer. Then you use a heat proof bowl, glass ideally, and out it on top of the pan. The water should not touch the bowl at any time. Than you add in your chocolate and heavy cream and let it warm up until it forms a lovely, thick chocolate sauce. 

Or, if you are pressed for time, you can do all of this in the microwave. It’s not as fancy, and it won’t necessarily have the same glossy shine, but it does the trick if you’re busy. 

For the microwave method, add in your chocolate and heavy cream and heat is short intervals in the microwave. I like to heat on a low setting for 15 seconds. Then I stop the microwave, remove the chocolate and heavy milk mixture, stir, and let it melt through from the residual heat. But you might have to do this a few times to make sure everything is fully melted. When the chocolate and heavy cream are combined into a thick sauce, add in your espresso powder and stir well.

Chocolate ganache

Add in your ganache to your cooled brownies.

Thick ganache added to brownies

Spread the sauce until it is an even layer on top of the brownies.

Ganache spread over the baked brownies

While the ganache is still warm, sprinkle it your fancy salt and sprinkles.

Sprinkles added to brownies

Let everything cool for another 15 minutes, at least, and then dig in. 

Baked brownies on serving plate

Did you make these brownies? Let me know what you thought why adding your comments below.

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