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Closeup of fudge brownies with a crackly top.

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 rich and complex chocolate flavor that's not too sweet.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 10 brownies


  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • 2 tsp 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, cook for two minutes.  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.)
    Speed up the cooling process by letting them cool at room temperature for 1 hour, then in the refrigerater 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. 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.
Keyword Fudge Brownies, High Altitude