4.98 from 36 votes

Brownies – 4 Ways

Host Zoe Francois and her brownies, as seen on Zoe Bakes, season 1.

These are the brownies I make for my son, Charlie, and his roommates in season 1, episode 6 of Zoë Bakes on Magnolia Network. The recipe is a crowd pleaser because you use a delicious brownie base, then you can customize with up to 4 different toppings, if you desire!


If you make these, please tag me if you share them on social media. You can find me on Instagram here and Facebook here. I would love to see what creative toppings you come up with! And if you LOVE brownies, check out these outrageous brownies, too.

Host Zoe Francois’ brownies with chocolate chunks, as seen on Zoe Bakes, season 1.

Brownies – 4 Ways

These are the brownies I made for a care package for my son, Charlie, and his roommates at college. I made four different kinds because each of the boys wanted their favorite brownie. It's an easy way to please a crowd!
4.98 from 36 votes
Course: Desserts


  • 2 1/3 cups (283g) cake flour
  • 1/2 cup (45g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups (452g) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 lb (340g) bittersweet chocolate chopped
  • 7 eggs room temperature
  • 3 cups (600g) sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract homemade vanilla extract

Optional Toppings

  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • crushed Oreos
  • 2 tbsp Nutella
  • toasted hazelnuts
  • 3 oz chocolate chunks


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and line a 9×13-inch baking pan with buttered parchment.
  • Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter to just simmering. Turn off the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Swirl the pan so the chocolate is submerged in the butter and let sit for 3 minutes. Gently whisk until smooth.
  • In a bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, whip together the eggs, sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • Turn the speed to low and slowly add the melted chocolate mixture.
  • Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir just until combined.
  • Pour into prepared pan and add toppings, if desired.
  • Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a tester comes out with moist crumbs. It can take much longer depending on your oven and ingredient temperature. If you like your brownies dense and gooey, bake them until the sides puff, but the center is still fudgy when tested. Note: All ovens are different, so the bake time may vary depending on the oven. An oven thermometer will help determine actual temperature.

Four Topping Variations

  • Warm peanut butter in the microwave for a few seconds to make it spreadable. Swirl with a skewer, then add crushed Oreo pieces.
  • Warm Nutella in the microwave for a few seconds to make spreadable. Swirl with a skewer, then add toasted hazelnuts.
  • Add a mix of white, milk and dark chocolate chunks, stir half into the batter and top with the remaining.
  • Last section left plain and simple.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Check out all my brownie recipes, and while you’re at it, I’ve got all kinds of recipes for bars.

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41 thoughts to “Brownies – 4 Ways”

  1. I’v recently discovered you and excited to try some things! Going to make these brownies and send to my son and his roommate in college! How did you package them to mail to your son and his friends?

    1. Hi Heather! Zoë goes into detail in the episode and she goes into even more detail in her Magnolia Workshop. She wraps them individually in parchment before shipping.

  2. 5 stars
    My husband loves chocolate and brownies. I caught the show by accident today right before leaving for the grocery store and all of a sudden cake flour and bittersweet chocolate were on my list. Unfortunately the store was completely out of bittersweet so I gave them a go with semi sweet. I topped them with a chopped up dark chocolate hazelnut Ghirardelli bar. By far the best brownies I’ve ever baked. They were so rich and gooey and delicious. My husband LOVES them. Will try again with bittersweet to see if I can top the first batch.

  3. 5 stars
    I have NEVER baked brownies from scratch before but yesterday, I needed the distraction of something to learn. These brownies are AMAZING – and I even used stevia-sweetened dark chocolate instead of the real stuff. (No idea if that’s acceptable but it’s what I had so in it went!) My husband took the majority of them to work today and so far they’ve gotten rave reviews. I love Zoë’s show and her “this-is-easy” approach to baking. 🙂

  4. 4 stars
    Followed your brownie recipe and baked for 35 min at 350.. was still like water in the middle cooked for 50 minutes.. this is a lot of mixture no way it can be done in 30 min at 350 degrees..may want to change the directions..very tasty though

    1. Thank you for your feedback, Kay. We have updated the recipe based on recent feedback–calling for room temperature eggs and adjusting the baking range to 35-40 minutes. We hope this helps resolve it for next time! It’s also important to make sure your oven is running true to the temperature you set it at. An oven thermometer (purchased at a hardware store or online) can help determine the actual temperature. Cheers!

  5. 5 stars
    I have never been able to get those yummy fancy restaurant brownies until now. These are heaven. Not ridiculously sweet like all the other recipes. I did not have enough bitter-sweet chocolate and added for Lilly’s semi-sweet and it was perfect. Toasted walnuts on top and served still warm with fresh whipped cream and strawberries. Amazing! Thank you!

  6. Would pastry flour be an acceptable substitute for cake flour? Or would it be better to sub with AP flour? Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Amanda, pastry flour would be best here. You will need to reduce the amount by about 1-2 tbsp per cup. Enjoy!

  7. Where do you buy the coin shaped chocolate from. I looked online an oh my goodness, so much to choose from. Love your show!

    1. Hi Candy! We are so thrilled to hear you’re enjoying the show. The chocolate pieces in this recipe are Valrhona feves. Enjoy!

  8. 5 stars
    Made these for my daughter’s sleepover. It was a huge hit with the teenagers as they all chose their topping and then got to take home goodies too. This will definitely become my go to brownie recipe. Thank you for sharing it!

    1. Hello! Fresh raspberries let off a lot of liquid, so they can make the chocolate around them a bit soft and they tend to shrink. It sounds delicious, but visually they can get a little weird in the oven. Dehydrated raspberries might work best as you’ll get the flavor, but they’re less likely to change the texture and look of the brownies. Cheers!

  9. 5 stars
    Love the show and your energy! These brownies are moist and full of chocolate goodness! I baked batter for 40 min and the top separated from the brownie. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Mandy! Thanks so much for your kind words. So glad you’re loving the show! We’d suggest checking the brownies around 30 and 35 minutes next time. Your oven temperature may be a little high and the separation could be an indication they’re overbaked.

  10. I stumbled upon your show yesterday and I’m hooked! I love your vibe and how soothing your show is. Do these brownies freeze well after baking?

    1. Hi Phylicia, they freeze very well! Thanks so much for your kind note about Zoë’s show!

    2. Same I LOVE Zoe’s personality and how she actually provides the recipe as well as the method! I need more episodes! Lol

    1. Hi Mclaine! Yes, you can substitute AP flour for the cake flour in this recipe, however the result may be a bit drier. Zoë suggests trying the recipe with a few tablespoons less AP flour.

  11. This recipe was hands down the best brownies I have ever made. I bake A LOT too so it was a wonderful surprise to be so impressed by how delcious these brownies are. I made them 4 ways just as Zoe has on here. Perfection

  12. Planning to make these today – yum. In show you mention dark cocoa – curious if you’d recommend Dutch, Onyx or Natural. Thanks, Anita

    1. Hi Anita! For this recipe it doesn’t matter too much. Zoë almost always uses Valrhona Dutch Cocoa. Enjoy!

      1. 5 stars
        Thank you. I’ve been wanting to try this for a while. I wound up using weights. Very very delicious. Very very fudgy – I usually bake a chewy brownie, so great to have a fabulous fudgy recipe too.

  13. 5 stars
    Although this recipe is a bit on the spendy side, it is by far the best brownie recipe I have ever made. And I have made dozens of them. It is dense, delicious, fudgy and addictive!
    You can get really creative with the toppings, just go light on them as to not insulate the batter from baking properly.
    Follow the recipe to the letter and it will not fail you!
    Enjoy…. we certainly do!

  14. 5 stars
    Beautiful recipe! I love to bake, and am a fan of Zoe’s baking show. I am a seasoned baker of many years, and I love watching a show where I frequently learn new methods and techniques. This brownie recipe is rich and delicious. I made one addition to the batter, 1 tsp of espresso powder. I just love the depth of flavor developed by adding a little coffee flavoring. I made my brownies with semi-sweet chocolate chips. I will use this as my go to brownie recipe. Great job, Zoe!

  15. Hi – I am in the UK and wonder what size eggs are used in this recipe? We have large and medium eggs but not sure which to use?? Thank you!!

    1. Hi Katey, I tried finding some info about how to compare US eggs to UK eggs, but coming up short. You can assume eggs called for in Zoe’s recipes are US large, but in one item I found it said extra large US eggs are equal to large eggs in the UK. I’d suggest testing UK medium eggs to start. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help!

      1. Thank you so much for replying so quickly! I will try UK large and medium and see what happens. The only way to be sure is to weigh the eggs in their shell – maybe I’ll try that next time I visit the US!! X

  16. 5 stars
    Absolutely the best brownies I have ever made. I’ve made many,
    many brownie recipes. I’ll always use this one now.

  17. Hi there, Will be making these today. My volume and weight equivalents don’t match yours. I usually defer to weight. Is that appropriate with this recipe?
    Thanks so much, Anita

  18. 5 stars
    I live in Ireland and had never heard of Zoe until the other day while browsing through tv shows and I’ll sound completely lazy and slightly mad but I have binged watched all 3 series in 2 days lol. I love baking and just made the brownies are they are heavenly and now I’m trying to make up my mind which to bake next and pan bang cookies are the front runner. Zoe is so down to earth and a joy to watch and I love how she goes places, shows the products and producers and what they create also. I hope there will be more shows in the near future.

    1. Hi Tracey, thank you so much for your kind note. We are thrilled to hear you enjoy the show and her brownies recipe! We can’t wait to hear what you bake next. Cheers!

  19. Hi Zoe and team. I’d love to make the brownies but I’m confused about the amounts when it comes to some of the ingredients listed. The grams versus’s cup measurements to seem to add up so could you clarify the amount of flour and butter are correct because I really want to make these.
    2 1/3 cups (283g) cake flour
    1/2 cup (45g) cocoa powder
    2 cups (452g) unsalted butter

    Thank you

    1. Hi Aidan, I double checked with Zoë and these weights are correct. Zoe always uses weights to develop her recipes and then the TV network or publisher translates them into cups based on their style sheet. Depending on the publisher or TV network, ingredient weights can differ a bit. In this case, the recipe was developed for Magnolia Network. I hope this helps! If you do make the recipe, please come back to let us know how it went!

      1. 5 stars
        Hi Zoe and team, I made the brownies this morning but I added a little bit of coffee in warm water along with the cocoa powder.. I didn’t have the right size tin so used 2 smaller tins and they took well over an hour to make but I think maybe because of the tins being too deep maybe and over filled or my oven. But they looked absolutely divine and I took them to work and my co workers and myself just had them on coffee break and they went down a storm, even those that for some reason don’t like Brownies said they were delicious. My daughter just so happens to be the brownie Queen in our house and she pinched 1 and is going to make them for her college class too. A real fudgy and chocolatey brownie that is going to be a frequent bake in our kitchen.. Thank you

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