4.95 from 19 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!
4.95 from 19 votes
Course: Desserts

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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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24 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!

    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

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