The debate over brownies is always about chewy versus cakey, but if you introduce an unexpected cooking method (steaming!), you can create a texture that’s the best of both worlds. Steaming brownie batter creates a fluffy-yet-squishy brownie that’s unlike what you’ll find in a baked brownie. They’ll be moister and fudgier, but not as dense as a classic brownie. If you're lucky enough to have a steam oven, like Miele's Combi-Steam Oven, it makes the whole process a cinch. If not, you can easily bake them using a stovetop steamer. Whatever you do, don’t skip the frosting! It’s sweet but salty—the luscious creaminess of it is the perfect foil to the brownies. —Posie (Harwood) Brien
Test Kitchen Notes
This recipe is shared in partnership with Miele. —The Editors
- Prep time 10 minutes
- Cook time 40 minutes
- Makes one 9-inch square pan
- For the brownies:
(113 grams) unsalted butter
(60 grams) unsweetened chocolate
(198 grams) granulated sugar
espresso powder (optional)
(28 grams) cocoa powder
(60 grams) all-purpose flour
- For the whipped peanut butter frosting:
(113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
(270 grams) creamy peanut butter (not natural peanut butter)
2 3/4 cups
(312 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- Melt the butter and the unsweetened chocolate together over a double boiler (or in the microwave in 30-second increments), stirring until the mixture is smooth and evenly melted.
- Transfer to a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) and add the sugar, whisking until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each. The batter should look shiny and glossy.
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix until the batter is just combined; do not overmix.
- Pour the batter into a well-greased 9-inch square pan. Cover the pan with tin foil. If using a steam oven, turn the oven onto steam mode and cook for 35 minutes.
- If using a stovetop method, place a steamer basket inside a pot large enough to fit your brownie pan. Fill the pot with enough water to just reach the bottom of the basket. Bring the water to a simmer. Place the pan on top of the basket, cover the pot, and cook for 35 minutes. You’ll need to check on the water level at least once or twice to be sure it hasn’t evaporated too much, and may need to add more.
- Remove the pan carefully from the oven or pot and let cool fully before frosting.
- To make the frosting: Beat the softened butter with the peanut butter until fluffy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup at a time, alternating with the heavy cream. Add the vanilla and beat until very fluffy. If you need to adjust the texture, add more cream (if too thick) or more confectioners' sugar (if not fluffy enough).
- Spread the frosting over the cooled brownies.