This small batch brownies recipe makes 8 perfect slices of brownies. These are the absolute BEST brownies and need minimal effort, but you still have that soft, tender, dense, and fudgy texture that is so iconic of a well made brownie! Plus, these are 100% cocoa powder brownies - so no fussing around with melted chocolate!
Welcome back to the make it mini series!
If you're not familiar with it: the make is mini series is when I share some new small batch recipes. The idea coming about because I am the WORST at making (or should I say keeping) New Year's resolutions, and this is my way of still eating indulgently - just in moderation!
the key to a crinkly brownie top
A crackly brownie top is one of the defining features of a perfectly made brownie, and it mostly has to do with the sugar.
Dissolving the sugar is what gives you that perfect top crust. While a lot of recipes achieve this by whipping eggs and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved (like in my brown butter brownie recipe!) THIS recipe uses a lazier technique that will give you the same result!
Borrowing my favorite technique from my original classic brownies recipe, we achieve the perfect crackly top by melting the butter and sugar TOGETHER in a pot. The heat helps slightly melt the sugar (although it will be still be grainy) and will give you that meringue-like top in half the time!
what makes these small batch brownies the best?
Aside from the low effort trick to achieving a crackly brownie crust I went over above, here are some other tricks that make these brownies extra heavenly!
- No melted chocolate: Makes for an easy to make brownie recipe!
- Mix of granulated and brown sugar: The granulated sugar helps give the brownies structure and crispy edges, while the brown sugar brings added softness and moisture!
- More cocoa powder than flour: It's not a typo, you really only need ⅓ cup of flour! LESS flour means the brownies won't be heavy or dense. MORE cocoa powder will make the brownies extra fudgy, rich, and flavorful!
- Touch of baking soda: Baking soda gives the brownies a slight lift - not so much that you'll really realize it's there, but just enough that makes you miss it if it's missing! It doesn't compromise on the fudginess of the brownies, but it does make them lighter, softer, and just all around more fun to eat.
- Chocolate chips: These are optional, but the double chocolate action is magical!
- One pot + one bowl brownie recipe: To complete the ease of this recipe, the brownie batter is whipped up using one pot and one bowl!
how to make small batch brownies
1. Combine butter and sugars in a skillet.
2. Cook on low heat until the butter is melted. The sugar will melt slightly, but will still have some gritty, graininess to it.
3. Pour into a large bowl and set aside for about 10 minutes. This is to let it cool down slightly. It's fine if it's still warm - just not piping hot!
4. Add egg and vanilla to the slightly cooled butter / sugar mixture. Whisk together until well combined.
5. Add in remaining brownie ingredients. Mix together to combine.
6. Pour the brownie batter into a parchment lined loaf pan. Spread into an even layer.
7. Bake & cool! Once cooled, you can pull the brownies out of the pan using the little parchment paper overhang. Slice and enjoy!
how to tell when brownies are done baking
A skewer inserted into a perfectly baked brownie should come out with fudgy, moist crumbs. If the skewer comes out with smooth wet batter, they need a bit more time in the oven. If the skewer comes out clean, the brownies are most likely overbaked. Here's a visual idea of what the skewers should look like!
- melting the butter and sugars: Make sure to melt the butter on LOW heat. It really doesn't take long, but raising the heat to try to speed up the process runs the risk of scorching the sugar.
- measuring flour: I say this so much and I'm sounding like a broken record, but this is so so important! It's VERY important to measure flour either by weight or (if using cups) by spoon and leveling. Scooping your measuring cup straight into the bag of flour will pack in more weight worth of flour and dry out the batter. And although this recipe doesn't use a whole lot of flour, extra packed in flour will compromise that tender and soft brownie texture!
- mixing: It's important to watch your mixing once the flour is added to the batter. If flour is overmixed, it overworks the gluten and can lead to dense (not in a good way!) and dry brownies. To avoid overmixing, I like to add all the dry ingredients and chocolate chips together - I've found I was more prone to overmixing when I added the chocolate chips AFTER mixing in the dry ingredients. It seems like such an insignificant step, but really makes a world of a difference!
- bake time: Overbaked brownies will turn into hocky pucks! So keep an eye out to make sure they don't sit in the oven for too long.
- cooling: Brownies are always best cooled within the baking pan (unless otherwise stated by a recipe!) They're super soft and fudgy when they're warm and are nearly impossible to pull out of the pan or slice neatly when they're fresh from the oven!
how to store brownies
Keep brownies stored in an airtight container or plastic bag for maximum freshness! These will keep for around 3 to 4 days at room temperature or around 1 week in the fridge.
how to reheat brownies
Brownies are especially delicious the same day they're made, but they're super easy to reheat to bring back that same day freshness to days old brownies!
To reheat brownies in the microwave, place them on a microwave safe plate and heat in 10 second intervals until warmed to your liking.
To reheat brownies in the oven, preheat your oven to 350°F and place the brownies on a parchment lined baking sheet. Heat for 5 minutes or until warmed to your liking.
check out these other recipes!
Small Batch Brownies Recipe
- 6 tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (100g) packed brown sugar, light or dark
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teapoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup (40g) all-purpose flour, spoon and leveled
- ½ cup (40g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (85g) semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x5 inch baking pan. Line the bottom and sides with parchment paper, leaving a bit of excess parchment hanging over the sides to make it easier to pull the baked brownie out of the pan.
- In a medium sized skillet, combine butter, and granulated and brown sugar. Place the skillet onto a stove burner set to the lowest heat. Cook, while stirring, until the butter is melted. The sugar will be partially melted, but still slightly grainy.6 tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar, ½ cup (100g) packed brown sugar,
- Pour the butter/sugar mixture into a large bowl and set aside for about 10 minutes to cool slightly.
- Add egg and vanilla to the slightly cooled butter mixture, and whisk to combine. It's ok if the butter is still warm - it just shouldn't be piping hot.1 large egg,, 1 teapoon pure vanilla extract
- Add your flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips/chunks to the wet ingredients. Mix together until just combined. Take care not to overmix.⅓ cup (40g) all-purpose flour,, ½ cup (40g) unsweetened cocoa powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon salt, ½ cup (85g) semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
- Pour the brownie batter into your prepared loaf pan and spread into an even layer. Bake in the center of your preheated 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out with fudgy, moist crumbs but no wet batter.
- Cool the brownie in the pan completely before pulling out and slicing!