These ultra-fudgy dark chocolate brownies have melted dark chocolate, dark cocoa powder and chocolate chunks in them. They are rich and a little goes a long way with these thick and indulgent brownies! While they are sweet, they are not over-powering due to the dark chocolate. They are made in one bowl and couldn't be easier to whip up when that ultimate chocolate craving hits.
Why you'll love these brownies
If you love a fudgy brownie and are a dark chocolate fan, then these dark chocolate brownies are for you. They aren't cloyingly sweet though they are rich and dense. A small piece will fill that chocolate craving in an instant. The chocolate chunks give the brownies an irresistible texture and provide some contrast to the fudginess. For more brownie inspiration, check out my fudgy peanut butter cup brownies or for something a little different, my browned butter Nutella blondies.
What is dark chocolate?
Dark chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa solids and cocoa butter than other chocolate. The higher the percentage, the more bitter the chocolate and the less sweet it will be. The other part of the percentage is made up of sugar, dairy and other flavorings.
Dark chocolate doesn't technically have a "legal definition" in the US where it has to contain a certain percentage of cocoa solids/butter like milk chocolate. It can fall under bittersweet or even semi-sweet chocolate. With percentages typically starting around the 50's and going up from there. Here is an article with more info if you want to take a deeper dive into the world of chocolate.
All the usual suspects go into these brownies but let's break each one down a bit.
- Butter- I use unsalted butter in these brownies so that I can control the amount of salt.
- Dark chocolate- I used Ghiradelli 60% bittersweet chocolate for these brownies. I've tested using both the Ghiradelli baking bar and the Ghiradelli chocolate chips and both work well. The chocolate is melted and folded into the batter and then whole chocolate chips or chocolate chunks are stirred in at the end. You can adjust the percentage you use based on how sweet you want your brownies. Remember, a higher percentage is less sweet than a lower percentage.
- Sugars- Both granulated sugar and brown sugar are used in these dark chocolate brownies. Aside from adding obvious sweetness, brown sugar has more moisture in it and leads to a denser brownie which is why I use both.
- Eggs- Eggs are a typical ingredient in brownies. I always use large eggs so try to use the same.
- Cocoa powder- I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder which is a dutched cocoa powder. Natural unsweetened cocoa powder works fine as well. The special dark cocoa powder amps up that dark chocolate flavor.
- Flour- Standard all-purpose flour is used for these brownies.
- Salt- I used both kosher salt for the batter and coarse sea salt to sprinkle on top of the finished brownies. For the batter and for all of my baking and cooking, I use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. For finishing salt on the tops of the brownies, I use Maldon Sea Salt. The sea salt helps balance the sweetness and richness of the brownies. This is totally optional but really makes the brownies extra special!
- Use the microwave as a shortcut! I melt my butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl large enough for all of the ingredients for 30-second increments until completely melted. It took about 3 and a half increments for mine to melt all the way. Stir after each 30 seconds. If it's almost completely melted, don't put it in for the whole 30 seconds as you don't want to burn it. Using the microwave and a bowl big enough for all the ingredients makes this a one-bowl brownie recipe and super easy with minimal clean up. Of course, you can still use the stove to melt the butter and chocolate if you prefer!
- Line your pan with a parchment paper sling so that two sides of the parchment extend beyond the pan. After the brownies have cooled, you just lift them from the pan easily using the parchment. The easiest way to cut these is out of the pan so this makes your job super simple. To keep the long sides of the parchment in place, try using metal binder clips.
- Two types of chocolate- For extra rich and fudgy brownies, both cocoa powder and melted bittersweet chocolate is added. As mentioned above, any cocoa powder is fine in this recipe but I like to use Hershey's Special Dark. Because there is no leavening agent in this recipe, the type of cocoa (natural or dutch-processed) doesn't matter. If using chocolate bars, to easily chop the chocolate, consider using a serrated knife (or bread knife) to chop it. It's much easier than a regular knife!
- Don't overbake- One of the main keys to achieving fudgy brownies is not overbaking them. It's better to underbake these than overbake because as they cool, they will firm up more. Around 30 minutes is the perfect time for my brownies. They should you done on the top, slightly puffed on the edges and should not jiggle when you shake the pan. The toothpick test is a little difficult with these brownies due to how fudgy they are and the chocolate chips/chunks studding the batter.
- Measure flour correctly. I've provided the gram measurments for the flour so if you have a kitchen scale, use it! Clean-up is even easier as you are not dirtying a bunch of measuring cups. Flour is often over-measured which can lead to dryer baked goods. If you don't have a scale, then make sure you fluff up the flour in the canister or bag and then lightly spoon it into your measuring cup, leveling off the top.
How to cut the brownies neatly
Chill the brownies in the fridge for a few hours before cutting into them if you want neat, clean slices. Use a really sharp knife that ideally is as long as the pan of brownies so you can cut in one slice. Cut without sawing through the brownies, making one clean slice down them. It also helps to wipe the knife off after each slice through the brownies.
Substitution and variations
If you don't have dark chocolate or bittersweet chocolate, you can substitute semi-sweet chocolate. I would not substitute milk chocolate in these dark chocolate brownies as they will be far too sweet. You would need to reduce the sugar some if you choose to use milk chocolate.
As said above, a baking bar or good quality chocolate chips can both be used as the melted chocolate. If you prefer to leave out the additional chocolate chips folded into the batter at the end, you can do so but they do add a nice textural element to the rich brownies.
I have not tested this as a gluten-free version, but you could likely swap 1:1 gluten-free baking flour for the all-purpose flour in these.
If you only have salted butter, it's fine to use but don't add the extra salt in the recipe.
The easiest way to tell if your brownies are baked enough is to use an instant-read thermometer. They need to be at a minimum of 165 degrees in the middle to be safe to eat. They will still be very gooey at this temp so aim for about 180-190 for that perfect fudgy brownie. You can also try inserting a toothpick but know that you don't want a clean toothpick to come out of them. They will be over-baked if you reach this point.
Yes, these freeze well. Ideally, freeze them whole and then thaw them overnight on the counter before cutting into them. If you are freezing leftovers, pack them tightly together in a zip-top bag. You can also wrap them in foil first and then put them into a zip-top bag or other container for an extra layer of protection. They will be good for a couple of months like this.
The brownies are best stored in the refrigerator and will last for a week or so. Make sure they are covered tightly. If you prefer to eat them less cold, pull them out of the refrigerator an hour before you serve them to take the chill off.
For more brownie recipes, check these out:
Tag me on Instagram @themarblekitchenblog if you make this and leave a star rating and comment below! Thank you and enjoy!
Dark Chocolate Brownies
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter cubed
- 8 oz dark chocolate good quality chips or finely chopped bar
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (100 grams) light brown sugar packed
- 3 large eggs
- ⅓ cup (26 grams) cocoa powder ideally Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa powder
- 1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup dark chocolate chunks/chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper leaving an overhang on 2 sides or spray the pan with cooking spray.
- Combine butter and chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips) in a medium heatproof bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring each time, until completely melted.
- Add the brown and white sugar and stir to combine.
- Add the eggs and stir until combined.
- Add the cocoa powder, flour and salt and stir until almost combined but streaks of flour are still visible. Stir in the chocolate chips/chunks until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, until the edges are slightly puffed and the middle is set. The toothpick test won’t work for these because of the fudgy texture. You can also use an instant-read thermometer to test the middle of the brownies. You would want a temp around 180-190 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Let the brownies cool slightly and then refrigerate them for a couple of hours to allow them to solidify and make them easier to cut.
- These are really rich, fudgy brownies. They could easily be cut into smaller pieces and yield 25 instead of 16 if you cut in a 5 x 5 grid.
- Do not cut these straight from the oven. They really need to harden up in the refrigerator before you slice them or at least cool completely at room temperature.