Did you know that today is national have a brownie day? There are three basic types of brownies you could make to celebrate today: cakey, fudgy, and chewy. My favorite type of brownie is fudgy, which is exactly what these gooey Nutella brownies are. They are a deliciously gooey and super chocolaty hazelnut brownie.
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What makes these brownies so fudgy, gooey, and delicious? The good news is there are only a couple of simple ingredients. The gooeyness comes from the high ratio of fat to flour, lots of Nutella, and paying close attention to the baking time being careful to not over bake these amazingly fudgy Nutella brownies.
Fudgy and gooey brownies have a higher fat to flour ratio. I think the ideal ratio is 2 parts fat to 1 part flour. For this recipe, we are going to brown the butter before adding the sugar. Browning the butter gives it a delicious nutty flavor. Check out this blog post from Baker Bettie for more information about using brown butter in baked goods. Using melted butter also stops air bubbles from forming and making the brownie fluffy, which we don’t want.
There are two basic sugar options: white sugar and brown sugar. If you want a crispy cracked top use white sugar. Brown sugar is more hygroscopic (it absorbs water from its surroundings) than white sugar, which creates a denser gooier brownie. I used half white and half brown sugar in this recipe to have the best of both worlds. Because Nutella is already sweet we are also able to add less sugar.
Eggs help to bind the brownie together they are also the only leavener in this brownie recipe. Be careful to not over-whip the eggs. We don’t want to add a lot of air to the eggs. As the eggs cook, their proteins line up and form a structure that will help support the brownie. A brownie without eggs would be a gooey mess.
In this recipe, we are using Nutella and just Nutella. I really wanted to focus on Nutella’s chocolate hazelnut flavor. Nutella’s already smooth and creamy texture adds to the brownie’s gooeyness.
The best brownie texture comes from using all-purpose flour. When adding the flour you want to be careful to not overmix. Overmixing creates gluten which will develop into a tougher brownie. Due to the high amounts of fat in these brownies mixing in the flour will be very easy. Flour tends to form into lumps if there’s a lot of moisture in the batter (ex: pancake or waffle batters), but with this high of fat content that doesn’t happen. The fat coats the flour particles keeping them from clumping together.
All of the best recipes contain at least a little salt. Salt adds its own flavor but it also intensifies other flavors. In this recipe, salt increases the sweetness of the brownies.
To better understand salt’s flavor intensifying abilities try this experiment. If you like sweet tea, brew a cup of tea and add 1 teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt. It should taste like you actually added 3 teaspoons of sugar.
Mix-ins and Toppings
- Toasted Hazelnuts: This recipe doubles down on the delicious hazelnut flavor and crunch. A cup of hazelnuts are mixed into the batter and used as a crunchy topping.
What isn’t in these fudgy Nutella brownies? chemical leaveners aka baking soda or baking powder. We don’t want these brownies to rise and become cakey. We want them to remain dense and fudgy.
- 9×9 metal baking pan
- Medium saucepan
- Mixing bowl: These are my favorite mixing bowls. They come in a huge range of sizes, nest together for easy storage, and are easy to clean.
- A whisk
- A rubber spatula This one is my favorite. It is comfortable to hold and isn’t too floppy.
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Kitchen Scale: For the most accurate measurements, which are especially important when baking, use a kitchen scale to measure your ingredients.
- Large serrated knife: A large serrated knife makes cutting even clean pieces much easier.
Line a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper allowing the ends to extend over two of the sides and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheight and position an oven rack in the middle of the oven.
In a saucepan, brown the butter over moderate heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until it is nutty-smelling and golden brown and the foam subsides, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk the white and brown sugars together with the eggs, egg yolk and hazelnut liquor until just combined. Switch to a rubber spatula for the rest of the mixing. Stir in the Nutella. Then slowly pour in the melted butter while stirring continuously until smooth.
Add the flour and salt and stir until just combined. Stir in 3/4 cup of the chopped hazelnuts.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup of chopped hazelnuts. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with very moist crumbs clinging to it. Remember the brownies will continue to bake as they cool.Cool completely before using the parchment paper to lift the brownies from the pan and cutting.
Baking times for all recipes are only suggestions. The actual baking time will vary depending upon your oven. It is helpful to know your oven and worth purchasing an inexpensive oven thermometer. Oven temperatures can vary as much as 50 degrees plus or minus. This recipe recommends a baking time of 40 minutes You should start checking the brownies after 28 minutes or so.
When the brownies are done they will start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Also, look for a slight jiggle in the middle of the pan of brownies.
One way to check to see if the brownies are done is to insert a toothpick into the middle of the pan. Below are photos of 3 toothpicks. Each toothpick was inserted at different times.
The first toothpick was inserted after the brownies had been baking for 28 minutes. The batter is still raw.
The second toothpick was inserted after 35 minutes. There is less raw batter and one crumb from the top crust, we are getting closer.
The third toothpick was inserted after 40 minutes. There is even less batter and more crumb on the toothpick. This is when I like to take my brownies out of the oven.
If the toothpick is clean, like the fourth toothpick inserted after 45 minutes, the brownies are overbaked.
Brownies “carry-over bake” quite a bit. Meaning they will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven. With this in mind, you should remove the brownies from the oven a few minutes before they are fully done. A slightly underbaked brownie is always better than an overbaked brownie in my opinion.
How do you cut brownies smoothly?
For neater slices, allow the brownies to cool for at least an hour before cutting. This will allow the chocolate and fat to set. Use a large serrated knife to easily cut even pieces.
If you are planning to store the brownies rather than eating them right away it is best to wait to cut them until you are ready to eat them. Cutting the brownies exposes them to air causing them to dry out.
Air is the enemy when you are trying to keep brownies moist. Tightly wrap the brownies in plastic wrap or place them in an airtight container.
If you will be storing the brownies for more than a couple of days add a slice of bread. The moisture from the bread will keep the brownies soft and fresh for a few extra days.
Brownies should be stored at room temperature and will stay fresh for at least 3-4 days. If you must store them for longer place them in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. The brownie will have better flavor if you allow it to come back to room temperature before eating it.
For even longer storage brownies can be frozen. Wrap the brownies tightly in plastic wrap and then place them in a zip-top bag. Label the bag with the date and contents. Frozen brownies will stay fresh for up to three months. Allow the brownies to thaw at room temperature before eating.
If your brownies do dry out place them in the microwave for about ten seconds.
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