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Fudgy Dark Chocolate Brownies

I had such a nice weekend.  Fritz was out of town doing dentist stuff, but one of my little sisters, Kristen, spent the weekend here since she’s on summer break from veterinary school.

This is Kristen.  She is my sister-friend.

This is Kristen. She is my sister-friend.

A great friend of mine, Breanna, also came down to Rochester for a much-needed ladies night.  Kristen and I went to ZooBrew (highly recommended) on Friday, and all three of us made our way over to one of my favorite bars, the Daily Refresher, on Saturday.  The Daily Refresher gets 5/5 stars from me for their late-night thin-cut (yes) garlic fries that you can grab at the food truck in the back patio (french fries are my kryptonite after-ahem-even one glass of wine).

Breanna and I have known each other for years, since college, and we have a special bond since we both starting dating/marrying our husbands at around the same time, and then both suffered (are still suffering) through said spouses getting through dental school/residency.

One of the first times the four of us hung out together--apple picking, of course.

This is Breanna. One of the first times the four of us hung out (this is 2007, I think!)

I’m pretty sure being married to a dental student is harder than actually being one (though don’t ask Fritz that, since he thinks I just faff around baking and playing games all day. Which…I kinda do).  Anyway, Henry is deeply in love with Breanna, even though this weekend he has been going through an existential crisis that mostly involves him hissing and swiping at Emerson nonstop.

Why was I put on this Earth? Do I even want more food?

Why was I put on this Earth? Do I even want more food?

Henry actually abandons our bed to stare at Breanna all night whenever she sleeps over.

I'm not as innocent as I look.

Just so you know, Emerson’s not as innocent as he looks.

I, of course, took no photos of the entire weekend other than these of Emerson playing in the sink this morning.

cat 3

He gets confused when the water bounces off his ears and doesn't land where he expects.

He gets confused when the water bounces off his ears and doesn’t land where he expects.

I love my friends.  And my family.

Anyway.  Let’s make brownies.

dark chocolate brownies

I’m not a picky brownie eater, in the sense that if it comes from BJ’s in a giant Ghirardelli box, then I’m there.  But I wanted brownies that are just a little bit classier (aka slightly less sweet) and that don’t require a bulk store membership in order for me to bake up a pan.


Major requirements: fudgy, fudgy, fudgy, crackly top, not 3572 pans, and fudgy.

dark chocolate brownies 2

I knew that to achieve a less cake-y brownie, then I’d have to decrease the flour and leavening agents pretty significantly from other baked good recipes.  I also knew I wanted to melt the butter first, then beat in the eggs before adding flour to try to get that shiny crackly top.

Fudgy Dark Chocolate Brownies (makes 16 small brownies)

  • 1/2 C butter (one stick)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 C flour
  • 3/4 C semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 8×8 square pan with oil or butter (or line with parchment paper).

Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, and add the salt, sugar, and vanilla.  It just needs to be warmed up–the sugar doesn’t have to dissolve (good thing, or you’d be making candy).

Remove from heat, and add the cocoa powder and the eggs.  Beat for 30 seconds to a minute, then fold in the flour and chocolate chips. Don’t over mix after the flour is added; just mix until combined.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until they are your preferred texture.  Make sure that when testing doneness with a toothpick that you aren’t fooled by melted chocolate chips!  You want to take them out of the oven when there are still crumbs clinging to the toothpick.

dark chocolate brownies 3

Check out that crackle.

Cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing and removing (ha!).


These brownies really are my perfect brownie.  All the cocoa powder gives them a really dark chocolately flavor that is perfectly balanced with ice cream but can also stand on its own.  You only need one (or maybe two or three) to feel satisfied.


Overall, I was impressed that they weren’t too far off from the beloved box mix.  You could add more chocolate chips for a meltier brownie, or nuts if you roll that way (I certainly do not).

dark chocolate brownies 5

I only have one more week of the “school year” (Early Intervention and preschool physical therapy services follow a school year calendar), then a week off (!) before my summer schedule starts.  Does it feel like June just flew by for you, too?


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  1. Hannah

    These brownies look great. Let me know how they compare to the super easy (yet hard to admit I use) box mix. Hope to see you soon!! XXX Mom

  2. Maggie

    Oh my gosh these were so good! A cinch to make and they turned out delicious, especially served with vanilla ice cream 😉
    Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      Glad you liked them! Can’t go wrong with a one-pot cleanup, right?

  3. Kathleen

    Having indulged in these before, I can certainly confirm that these are beyond delicious. I’ve pinned them for the distant future when I realize I need to bake and cook.

    Miss ya, friend, but love that you are blogging again.

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      miss you too, Kathleen! :) these are a little less decadent than the brownies we had before, so you might be able to eat one without feeling queasy or falling into a sugar coma 😉

  4. Aileen

    My chocolate cravings have been kept better in check lately since I have been snacking on cacoa nibs (but isn’t that kind of indulging the craving?.?.?..) In any case, when nothing but a brownie would do, I searched down this recipe and followed it to a T. When I was melting the butter, my fiance told me that I’d have to take the leftovers to work, but now he’s nearly through his half of the pan…. We like our brownies extra dark and slightly bittersweet, so these were ideal! As always, thank you :)

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      I’ve never tried cacao nibs, but I always mean to. i’ll try to remember to grab some next time I’m at the grocery store (and nothing wrong with indulging the craving!) :)

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