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The Best Brownies to Give as a Gift

  • Author: Sarah Marx Feldner
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Brownies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Makes one 8x8 pan of deliciously fudgy brownies.


  • 3 oz unsweetened chocolate (100% cacao), roughly chopped
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, plus extra for the pan (4 oz)
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar (265 g)
  • 1 tsp. instant espresso powder (like Medaglia D'Oro)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour (85 g)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (optional, but who doesn’t love more chocolate?!?) (6 oz)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter an 8×8 metal baking pan and line with parchment so at least two sides have an overhang (this will make it easier to remove the brownies).
  3. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter together until only a couple of unmelted bits remain. Off heat, gently whisk until smooth and fully melted.
  4. Whisk in the sugar and espresso powder. Then whisk in the eggs, one at a time. And finally, whisk in the vanilla and salt.
  5. Gently stir in the flour with a flexible spatula until close to being fully mixed, but not all the way. Add in the chocolate chips and stir just until everything is fully combined.
  6. Evenly spread the batter into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.


  • If you prefer not to use a double boiler, you can use the microwave to melt the butter and chocolate together (stirring every 30 seconds). But, if you go this route, be sure the bowl is big enough to mix in the rest of the ingredients. You don’t want to lose any of the chocolatey goodness transferring the chocolate-butter mixture to a larger bowl.
  • These brownies taste extra-amazing if you let cool, then wrap and leave untouched for at least 24 hours. They also ship super well.
  • If using a disposable pan (e.g. for gift-giving), put the pan on a sheet tray before baking – for extra support.
  • Vanilla is super expensive right now (here’s some great info as to why), but for a delicious splurge, I am a fan of the double-strength!
  • I initially found this recipe from a Chocolates El Rey newsletter (in place of the 3oz unsweetened chocolate, they recommend using El Rey Gran Saman 70% and Mijao 61%, 1.5oz of each) – which was in turn adapted from the ever prolific & talented Smitten Kitchen.
  • If you want to easily (but unnecessarily) doll-up the appearance of the brownies, sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving (or gifting).
  • Re: the bake time: In my oven, it’s a consistent 24 minutes. You want these brownies to be as fudgy as possible without being underdone. Over the years, I have basically baked these for a minute less each time until I found the perfect fudgy texture that I love.
  • At Treat, we made these brownies with Callebaut chocolate. At home, I’ve had good results with Ghirardelli. Guittard is another great brand of chocolate available at most grocery stores.

Keywords: Brownies, Food Gifts, Chocolate, Make-Ahead