The Sauce: Chocolate Brownie Frosting – Made with butter, cocoa and confectioner’s sugar the genius of this recipe is spreading it on hot brownies so the warmth creates a glossy finish and slightly soaks into the surface.
‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’
A hero who also bakes brownies
Just before my senior year of high school our family moved, again. I attended a different school every year from 9th-12th grade. It was a tumultuous time for me. These teen years can be challenging without relocation. My world seemed more like the instability of water than the grounding of terra firma.
Focusing on best memories, I remember well the chocolate brownies my sunday school teacher shared with our class. Betty Hansen remains a hero of mine. In a tragic mechanical malfunction, she suffered injuries from a fall off a mountain ski lift during her senior year of high school. She lost her right arm. At the time I met her she had high school kids of her own. She exemplifies what it means to triumph over adversity. That gave me courage. She finds joy in loving and serving friends and family plus she’s a terrific cook.
I asked for her recipe and have been making Hansen Brownies for decades. Tweaking here and there, I’ve made a few changes as I learned more about baking and the chemistry of ingredients. I’ve received many requests to post my fudge brownie recipe. So here it is, a tribute to a favorite mentor and example in my early life.
You might also enjoy German Chocolate Pie Shooters, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, Peanut Butter Chocolate Buttons, Chocolate Truffles, Chocolate Hazelnut Squares, Biscoff Cookie Butter Mounds, Peppermint Patties, Chocolate Syrup, Hot Fudge Sauce, Chocolate Raspberry Torte, Chocolate ‘Cinnful’ Cookies and Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes.
Recipe: Double Chocolate Fudge Brownies
Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 33 Minutes | Yield: 24 Large Brownies | Level: Easy
- 1 1/3 cups cocoa
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 2 cups butter
- 8 eggs
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup cocoa, sifted
- 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/3-1/2 cup milk
Special Equipment – 12×17 baking sheet
1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 12×17 baking sheet pan with cooking spray.
2 Sift 1 1/3 cups cocoa into a medium bowl, then add flour and whisk to combine. Set aside. Melt 2 cups butter and set aside.
3 With a hand or stand mixer, beat eggs on high speed for 30 seconds.
4 Add granulated sugar, salt and beat for 60 seconds.
6 Add cocoa/flour mixture and beat until well combined.
7 Pour batter into prepared baking sheet and spread evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
8 Meanwhile mix frosting by combining 1/2 cup cocoa, powdered sugar, 1/2 cup softened butter, 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1/3 cup milk. Beat until well combined adding more milk as needed for spreading consistency. Allow brownies to cool slightly then carefully spread over brownies while still hot for a glossy finish. Or, cool completely then frost for a matte finish.
Several varieties of unsweetened cocoa powders are available and could be used in this recipe depending on taste and color preference.
–Unsweetened or Natural Cocoa has complex chocolate flavor and lighter color. It’s available at supermarkets.
–Dutch-Processed Cocoa has been treated with an alkali to neutralize its natural acidity. It’s darker and slightly reddish but more mellow than unsweetened cocoa. It does not react with baking soda so it should be used with baking powder if leavening is desired. Penzey’s sells a quality dutch-processed cocoa.
–Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa is a combination of dutch-processed for flavor and black cocoa for color. It’s the darkest of the three cocoas. Black cocoa is super-alkalized producing an almost black cocoa. King Arthur Flour sells Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa. Hershey sells Special Dark Cocoa which is a combination of natural and dutch cocoas.
The matte frosted brownies pictured at the top were made with natural cocoa and frosted after the brownies were completely cooled. The Rocky Road brownies pictured to the right were made with double dutch cocoa and frosted while hot.
Rocky Road – Stir in 2 cups mini marshmallows and 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts into 1 recipe of frosting and spread over brownies.
Chocolate Nut – Evenly spread 12 ounces chocolate chips and 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans over batter before baking. Omit frosting.
Before baking, top one half of the brownie batter with 1/2 amounts of Almond Toffee or Chocolate Nut topping. Once brownies have baked, spread 1/2 recipe of frosting over the bare half.
Mix 1 recipe of frosting and divide in half. Mix one part with 1 cup mini marshmallows and 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts. Spread the plain frosting on half and the Rocky Road on half.
Top half of the brownies with 1/2 recipe of Almond Toffee and the other half with 1/2 recipe of Chocolate Nut topping before baking.
- Use natural unsweetened, dutch processed or double-dutch cocoa.
Inspiration – Betty Hansen
Cook with Sauces
Written by Helen Horton
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: June 23, 2013