brown butter iced brownies

"...why don't you make some brownies tonight? you haven't made those in a while... man, doesn't a brownie sound good?!"

this, smack dab in the middle of a meeting at work. i thought about it for a half a second, realized i had way too much to do at home already, and quickly moved my mind back to the work in front of us.

until i got home and sorted through the mail. and staring right back at me was cooking light's january/february issue with the claim "best light chocolate recipe ever" in giant red letters. so i did what any normal person would do and turned to page 143 to check out the finalists. i blew past double chocolate ice cream, chocolate frangelico fondue, and texas sheet cake to number one: classic fudge-walnut brownies.

no, these aren't those brownies. but, if you're a cooking light reader (or ripper of pages, like me), then you may remember cooking light did a whole series of brownies back in september of last year. why did i pick these brownies and not the winners? i'm not a fan of nuts in my brownies and one of my coworkers has a severe nut allergy. since these were made explicitly to take to work, nuts were out of the question.

when i compared this brownie recipe to the winner, they're only off by two ingredients: walnuts and bittersweet chocolate chips are added to the batter. that's it.


browned butter iced brownies
adapted from cooking light
45 minutes plus cooling time, makes 20 brownies

as you can see in the pictures, the icing has a hard, shell like consistency - the opposite of a smooth, soft buttercream. honestly, i wasn't all that crazy about it, and will be topping these with my mom's peanut butter buttercream, a light layer of perfect caramel sauce, or leaving them completely naked the next time i make them.
double the recipe for a 9x13 inch pan.

for the brownies:
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the icing:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
dark or milk chocolate to drizzle over the top
  1. preheat your oven to 350F and grease an 8 or 9 inch square baking pan and set aside.
  2. make the brownies. combine flour, cocoa, and both sugars in a medium bowl. add the butter, eggs, and vanilla and mix to combine. scrape batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out almost clean. cool until a little warm.
  3. to make the icing, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. add the brown sugar and milk and bring to a simmer. simmer for about 2 minutes. remove from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar and vanilla. spread over the cooled brownies. this icing is thick and sets up fast, so work quickly to spread it. not cooling the brownies completely also helps with this step.
  4. if you want to add a chocolate drizzle, melt an ounce or two of chocolate in the microwave until smooth. use a spoon to drizzle over the iced brownies.
  5. wait about 10 minutes for the icing to set before cutting and serving.


  1. Looks delicious. I'm trying a new brownie recipe this weekend that has Kahula in it. Can't wait to see how they turn out. Happy Saturday!

  2. Oh, wow. These are gorgeous. I LOVE browned butter. YUM!

  3. Looks amazing!! I prefer brownies without nuts as well ;) And I definitley know what you mean about being in the middle of something and suddenly thinking about what you want to bake next. Happens to me all the time!

  4. I love collecting and working on new brownie recipes...This is truly deicious!Yummy!


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