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Thick high altitude fudge brownies, one with a bite taken.

Best High Altitude Crackly Topped Fudge Brownies

Heather Smoke
The best ever fudge brownies with a shiny, crackly top, that stay soft and moist for days! Dutch-processed cocoa powder and melted dark chocolate gives these brownies a rich and complex chocolate flavor that's not too sweet.

All recipes on Curly Girl Kitchen are developed for high altitude at 5,280 feet. See FAQs for adjusting to higher or lower elevations.

4.93 from 27 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings10 brownies


  • ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (216g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (90g) dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp (8g) vanilla extract
  • 2 (110g) large eggs
  • cup (55g) unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed)
  • cup (43g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • ¼ tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • 2 tsp (2g) espresso powder (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large saucepan, melt the butter and sugar over medium heat.  Once it begins to bubble hard enough that you can't stir down the bubbles, cook for two minutes.
    TIP: If you have an instant read digital thermometer, check the temperature. You want the butter and sugar mixture to reach between between 230-235 degrees Fahrenheit, which will help get the shiny crackly top on the brownies.
  • Remove from the heat and use a wooden spoon to stir in the chocolate chips and vanilla until melted and shiny; the mixture will be grainy.  Let cool for 10 minutes.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the mixture comes together into a smooth batter.
  • In a bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, flour, salt and espresso powder.  Add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until no dry streaks remain.  The batter will be thick but spreadable.
  • Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.  Bake on the center oven rack for exactly 25 minutes – don’t over-bake!  The brownies will be browned and crackled on top and slightly puffed.
  • Cool the brownies completely before cutting, if you want them to be set when you cut them.  (If you don’t mind them warm and gooey and messy, then you can go ahead and cut them after cooling for just a couple of hours.)
    TIP: Speed up the cooling process by letting them cool at room temperature for 1 hour, then in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
  • Lift the cooled brownies out of the pan by the parchment paper onto a cutting board to cut them into servings. Use a damp cloth to wipe your knife clean in between cuts for neat, clean edges on your brownies. If you like, sprinkle the top of the brownies with coarse finishing salt.


Store leftover brownies in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or wrap well and freeze to enjoy later.
Since these brownies have such a rich and deep chocolate flavor that's not too sweet, they're also fantastic topped with a sweet buttercream.
For extra thick brownies, be sure to see the recipe variation section in the post above.
Keyword Fudge Brownies, High Altitude
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