Brown Butter Cupcake Brownies

By • February 11, 2014 • 43 Comments

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Author Notes: This is adapted from Alice Medrich's brilliant Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts (from Bon Appetit). I've removed a bit of the sugar, turned them into cupcakes, and inserted an ooey gooey melted chocolate center. I undercook them. Big time. They are a bit more elegant than your average brownie. They freeze beautifully so you can bust out a fancy dessert anytime by throwing one into a 325° F oven for 15 minutes and topping it with ice cream.Phyllis Grant

Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter (2 1/2 sticks)
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch process)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 4 eggs, chilled
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups walnuts, chopped finely
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (bittersweet or semisweet)
  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Generously butter and flour your cupcake pan (using a non-stick cupcake pan is ideal.) Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Don't walk away. Swirl it around until it starts to brown. It will smell nutty and you'll see little brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the sugar, cocoa, vanilla, water, and salt. Cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. It will get all shiny and beautiful. At this point, add the flour. Now mix the heck out of it for about a minute (Alice says about 60 strokes). Stir in walnuts.
  4. Spoon batter into cupcake pan (fill almost up to the top edge because they barely rise). Press chocolate chips down into the center of each cupcake (as much or as little as you like). Bake until the edges are set and middle is still a bit gooey. This takes around 15 minutes. It's a bit hard to tell when they're done because of the melted chocolate. If you need to, take the pan out and just take a peek inside with a paring knife.
  5. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan (the chocolate chips make them a bit fragile, so be careful). Serve right away with vanilla ice cream. Store at room temperature in a Ziploc bag for up to 3 days. Or freeze for a few months. Just pop them in a warm oven for 15 minutes or so before serving to awaken the gooey center.
Jump to Comments (43)

Comments (43) Questions (1)

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6 months ago kelsey

Phyllis - I can't say enough how much I love your choc chip cookie recipe. It has made a non-baker into a baking lover! I want to try this recipe next. Two questions: do you butter and flour your nonstick pans? And, what is the trick/measurement for powdered sugar on top of the brownies like I see in your photos? Thanks!

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7 months ago supersuz

This recipe did not work at all. The butter fully separated and it never cooked. Total disappointment

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7 months ago Phyllis Grant

such a bummer! would love to help. so you're saying that the butter separated from the rest of the batter? would love some details and then maybe we can figure it out.

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8 months ago Gourmet Traveller 88

Just made this afternoon, greased and floured enough but didn't come out smoothly except one. I used muffin pan. I skipped the nuts. not sure what went wrong. they tasted great though. I spooned them to muffin cases for freezing.

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8 months ago Gourmet Traveller 88

i think i will try a higher oven temp. I normally use glass ramekins for molten chocolate cake, more visible and easier to control the doneness. Maybe I will give another go. I think it's to do with the oven temp.

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7 months ago Laurie

Only use nonstick cupcake pans and then liberally butter and flour. Made two sets and the nonstick pan was great. The older pan was a disaster!!

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8 months ago Grapefruitgreatfruit

Can I refrigerate this batter over night?

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8 months ago Phyllis Grant

i don't know. never tried that. might be fine since there is not baking soda or baking powder. but i'm just not sure. another option would be to bake them halfway and then finish baking them when you want to eat them.

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9 months ago Mona Yaeger

Dashandbella & Chandra: I did follow those directions. Maybe I didn't grease & flour the pan AS WELL. I will make sure to over do it with the next batch.

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9 months ago Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast

I made these for Valentine's Day this past weekend for a sweet treat. What an amazing recipe. I skipped the nuts, but added a tsp of instant espresso. Thanks for sharing!

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7 months ago Phyllis Grant

love the addition of instant espresso.

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9 months ago OnionThief

I made with no nuts or chocolate chips. Baked in silicone liners and they peeled right out. Ridiculously good. And I made 3 batches, so I may have committed this to memory. Thanks for making me look like a genius.

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7 months ago Phyllis Grant

yay!

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9 months ago CheffieEmily

Thank you! I've had a hankering for a decadent chocolate cake, these do sound incredible

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9 months ago Phyllis Grant

fold the chocolate chips into the batter. then divide into 2 pans. undercook it for sure so it's super moist. let me know if you do it! what about whipped cream in between the layers. and another layer of whipped cream on top. grate chocolate all over the top. would have to eat right away though with whipped cream. so maybe just go all out and do your italian buttercream.

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9 months ago CheffieEmily

Would this stand up to being turned into a layer cake with buttcream, or my personal favorite italian buttercream? I will settle for cupcakes lol. I just think this would make a lovely birthday cake. For me. Yes i make my own birthday cake

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9 months ago Phyllis Grant

i think it's a bit dense for a layer cake. i would recommend a lighter one. i'm sure there's a fabulous chocolate layer somewhere on food52. can anyone help emily? having said that, i love these brownie cupcakes so much that i would be happy eating them in any form. so you could just go for it. but maybe with whipped cream. i fear buttercream would just make it too rich. happy birthday!

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9 months ago Mona Yaeger

These were amazing for Valentine's Day. However, I had a really hard time getting them out of the cupcake tin. They fell apart. The suger amount is crazy! But once again so good. I'm going to use cupcake papers and will grease the pan. They should be a hit for an upcoming Oscar party.

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9 months ago Chandra Fischer

Did you grease and flour the tins well? Mine came out well doing that and also running a jnife around each cupcake. Simeone else used cupcake papers and reported sticking.

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9 months ago Phyllis Grant

make sure you don't press the chocolate chips too far down. try to get them right in the middle. did you let them cool? yes to running a knife along the edges. and another trick is to swipe the bottom of the cupcake pan over the flame on the stove for a few seconds. this can help loosen them up before you pop them out.

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10 months ago Shalini

I'm going to make the brownies soon. But first, I want to say two anecdotes of yours that are my favourite: the finger under the table to your husband, and your nephew who couldn't sleep because of the brownies. Love.

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9 months ago Phyllis Grant

thank you!

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10 months ago Stu37

Stuck inside yesterday in NYC's snowmaggedon (or whatever CBS2 is calling this one), I was happy to discover I had all the ingredients in my pantry (except walnuts). Whipped these up super fast (and super easy) and expected to serve for V-day dinner tonight. Not sure they are going to make it as they are absolutely divine!

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9 months ago Phyllis Grant

lovely. i hope the winter explosion ends soon.

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10 months ago tpot

You mention that you remove some of the sugar from the Alice Medrich recipe, but your recipe calls for 1 cup MORE sugar than her Bon Appetit recipe. You really use 2 1/4 cups sugar?

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10 months ago Phyllis Grant

Yes. The Bon Appetit recipe calls for 1 1/4 cups sugar. But when I make the brownies, I use 1 1/8 cups sugar. But for the cupcake brownies, i've doubled the recipe so that takes us up to 2 1/4 cups of sugar. Sounds like a lot but it's not. I promise. I don't like things very sweet.

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10 months ago kaysenyah

The taste of these brownies is to die for. The amount of butter, sugar, and eggs did make me cringe a little, but I know I shouldn't complain as they are a dessert that ticks all the right boxes (rich flavor, substantial texture, freezer friendly, great with ice cream/berries/etc.). I skipped greasing the cup cake tin and used store bought cupcake wrappers instead. They stuck to the gooey brownies a little too much. Next time, I'll grease the pan or make my own wrappers with parchment paper.

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10 months ago Chandra Fischer

Oh, we did leave out the nuts, because of nut allergies and it was no problem.

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10 months ago Phyllis Grant

chandra,
thanks so much for reporting back. i forgot to put nuts in them the other day and i agree that they totally work. any chance you noted how long they took to cook? i always like to give a range and i'm curious. thanks!
phyllis

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10 months ago Chandra Fischer

I baked them for 15 minutes....then an add'l 5 to rewarm slightly just before dinner (they hadn't fully cooled prior). They were gooey near the middle around the melted chocolate, which we all liked, but if you wanted them drier, I'd bake longer.

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10 months ago Chandra Fischer

wowza! These were amazing! Made these tonight as dessert for an early valentine's family dinner and we are all happy now :-)

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10 months ago tastysweet

Also, with company, I serve them with either vanilla ice cream or freshly made whipped cream and add sliced strawberries.

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10 months ago tastysweet

First I want to say how much I loved your story. It is nice to know that others go a bit nuts when cooking wonderful dishes for company. But yours sounds over the top delicious.
Now I am going to try this brownie recipe because you made yours into cupcakes. I for some reason have trouble with brownies when baked in a pan. So some time ago, using the Ghirardelli brownie mix with chocolate chips, I decided to turn them into cupcakes. When cooled, I froze them. To eat we put one in the microwave for 30 seconds and viola, a molten style lava cake. I use the silicon cupcake pan. Now I only do brownie cupcakes.
So thank you for this recipe which I will try.

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10 months ago Celeste Scollan

These sound amazing. Browning the butter--what a great way to add depth of flavor!

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10 months ago Anne Hribar

My son has a wheat allergy. Have you tried these with rice flour, coconut flour or almond flour?

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10 months ago Phyllis Grant

never tried. but i think almond flour would work quite well. please let me know if you try this. thanks!

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9 months ago Anne Hribar

I made them with the almond flour and they are amazing. I struggled to get them out of the pans so I think next time I will cook them in ramikens and serve them right in the "pan" with ice cream on top.