Mom’s Chocolate Chunk Brownies

Hi everyone! I’m very excited about today’s post, for two reasons.

First: I’m sharing a recipe that I grew up on. I’ve done a number of posts that were inspired by things my mother would make when I was young, but this is the first followed-to-a-T-because-anything-less-would-be-blasphemous recipe. My mother is a bit of a wiz in the kitchen, especially when it comes to baked goods. Weekends were always devoted to baking several kinds of treats, and I can’t really recall a time when our cookie jar was ever empty. The near-endless supply of top-notch goodies also made me one of the power players in the underground lunch trade (which suited me well on occasions when I had a weird craving for bad pizza, but mostly just annoyed me because I wanted to be left alone so I could stuff a brownie in my face). Needless to say, my mother’s recipes are near and dear to my heart. And I’ve been keeping most of them in my pocket for special occasions, which brings me to my . . .

. . . second reason: My good friend Nicole is doing an amazing giveaway over at her blog! Nicole is a style consultant based out of NYC, and she’s giving away a gorgeous Alexis Bittar bracelet to one lucky person. (Picture after the jump!)

When Nicole first started talking about doing a giveaway a few months ago, I asked her if I could get in on the fun with a joint post. Once she agreed, I realized I had to actually come up with a really great post to be up to par with hers. I’d settled on cocktail lollipops, but that inspiration quickly faded once the mercury began to skyrocket and standing over a vat of boiling sugar became the least appealing thing I could imagine. I switched the lollipops to popsicles, and even went as far as to make and photograph them, but it still didn’t feel quite right. But when I happened upon my mother’s brownie recipe while rifling through one of the kitchen drawers, I knew I’d found the perfect match.

These brownies are unlike any other brownie I’ve ever had. For the most part, I am a girl who likes a super-fudgy, barely held-together brownie that practically requires a spoon (or a complete lack of shame) to eat. But these brownies are different. They’re a dense, bizarrely appealing combination of rich, cake-like brownie, riddled with chocolate chunks and drizzled with barely sweetened chocolate. They’re so intense that my mother has actually had to start cutting them down into half-brownie sizes. (I kept them full-sized for the purpose of taking pictures, then immediately cut them in half as well.) Of all of the treats my mother bakes, this is the one that is required to make an appearance at any event she attends. I’m pretty sure she could show up somewhere with a multi-tiered cake that had a top layer of croquembouche, and people would be like, “wow, that’s pretty amaziWHEREARETHEBROWNIES?” Nicole can attest to this, as she also grew up on my mother’s baked goods. Despite the fact that we now live a good distance from each other and communicate primarily through electronic means, this brownie recipe is still a regular topic of conversation for us. (I can recall at least two times in the past year that she has asked me for it.) So when I sent her a picture of the brownies with a text that said something along the lines of, “how about my mother’s brownies for the post instead?” I knew she’d be excited. When she called me later, I was expecting her to say something along the lines of, “yes, that’s perfect!” Instead, the conversation went something like this:

C: Hello!


C: [laughs]

N: No, I’m serious, please mail me one.

And I did, of course.

I hope you will all try these brownies and enjoy them as much as my friends, my family, and I do. And for those of you that love gorgeous free stuff (um, is there anyone this doesn’t apply to?), hop on over to Nicole’s blog for a chance to win this amazing bracelet!

[Photos by Clint Mejia]

Mom’s Chocolate Chunk Brownies

yield: approximately 12–15 regular size brownies, depending on what you consider “regular size” to be (or 24–30 if you cut them in half, which I recommend)

Notes: Don’t let these sit in the oven a minute longer than necessary. Because they aren’t your typical fudgy brownie, they can walk a fine line between super-rich cakey chocolate brownies and dry, dense brownies. Also, I’m not sure how easy chocolate chunks are to come by in different areas (we’ve been using Toll House brand). My mom can only find them at a nearby small-town grocery store, and we like to joke that the only reason they have them is because they haven’t sold off all their backstock from the ’90s. If you can’t find them, large semi- or bittersweet chocolate chips would work, or roughly chopped chocolate bars.

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
  • 4 oz. of unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 12-oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  • 1 oz. of 85–90% cocoa chocolate (or another ounce of unsweetened chocolate with a few chocolate chunks/chips mixed in)

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.

In a heavy saucepan over low heat, combine butter and the 4 oz. of unsweetened chocolate and heat until just melted, stirring constantly. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in sugar. Let mixture stand to cool slightly.

Beat eggs into chocolate mixture one at a time with a wooden spoon. Mix in flour, vanilla, and salt until just combined. Evenly spread batter in your baking pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chunks evenly over the top. (I like to poke some of them down into the batter, since they don’t really tend to sink during the baking process.)

Bake for 40 minutes (max). I like to take mine out a few minutes early. Let brownies cool in the pan for an hour or two.

Once cool, melt the 1 oz. of 85–90% chocolate over low heat. With a spoon, drizzle chocolate over the top of the brownies. Let chocolate set for about half an hour, then cut and dig in!


  1. Scot says

    I haven’t been to a meeting in awhile – Hi, My name is Scot. I’m a chocoholic…

    I live in Colorado. Do I need to adjust for high altitude?

    These look really good. I want one this very minute.

    • says

      Hehe! Welcome, Scot. :)

      Hmmm, that’s a good question re: altitude adjustments. I’d try using jumbo eggs, which will increase the liquid content and keep the brownies from drying out too quickly in the oven. Also , test them with a toothpick after 30 minutes in oven, and take them out somewhere between then and 35 minutes (when the brownies are just set and a few crumbs stll cling to the toothpick). If you try them out and have some trouble, let me know. (My aunt lives out in Nederland, and it’s quite possible that she has made my mother’s brownies and has some high-altitude baking tips for them!)

  2. Maji says

    Well it’s 8am and I’m climbing the walls looking for chocolate so I can make these… Nothing like a morning brownie! Can’t get enough of your blog :)

    • says

      Hehe! Thanks, Maji! :) I’ve pretty much been living off of morning/afternoon/evening brownies for the past week. (House-sitting means terrible things for my diet — when I’m isolated, I feel no shame.) I am very much looking forward to heading back to VT, and one of my first orders of business is to quell the Pistou withdrawals. See you guys soon!

  3. says

    Mom’s recipes are always the best…they’re time tested and have so many memories attached to them. Brownies are by far my dessert of choice, so I’d definitely get in trouble with this recipe…looks great!

    • says

      Thanks, Julia! Nostalgia definitely enhances my love for these brownies, so it makes me very happy to know many people who are obsessed with them simply because they’re amazing. :)

  4. Lindsay says

    Gah. These look divine! I will have to try them as soon as I procure some chocolate! Also, I feel a bit silly saying so but I love your blog! It’s so wonderful, I’ve tried several of your recipes already and they came out wonderfully! I don’t remember how I found you but when I saw mention of Vermont I got doubly excited. That’s what happens when you grow up in an all too forgotten about state. (I live in Burlington) Thanks for the inspiration to start cooking again!

    • says

      Thank you, Lindsay! It’s great to have a fellow Vermonter as a reader. There is something about this state that fosters solidarity — I have been here for a little under four years now, and it already feels like a second home. And I’m actually in Burlington too! Given the seeming smallness of this “big” VT city, we’re probably separated by only a few degrees of friends/acquaintances. :)

  5. says

    I make brownies very similar to these, but always wanting to try something new, I made this recipe last week. Heavenly brownie perfection! I couldn’t stay away from them. So delicious. It is now my go-to recipe. Thanks!

  6. Nathalia Jardim says

    I sent your blog to a friend, she is better cook than I am! I’ll ask her to try this first.

    I’m not from an English speaking coutry in fact, I’m from Brazil. I saw about your recipes on another brazilian blog and I’m really glad I found it :)

    The photos and the visual of the blog are also inviting!


    PS: Sorry for any writing mistake!

    • says

      Hehe! Thank you, Nathalia! I hope you gals enjoy the brownies. :) And please don’t apologize — your English is great. Far better than my Portuguese, which is non-existent. :

  7. Korissa says

    I tried this recipe last night and the stove top idea is GENIUS. However, I used a very square sized pan for the brownies instead of a 9 by 13 and they are SO thick! So? Round two will be in a few days and I will use the proper pan. So rich and good… I love this idea and I can’t thank you enough for sharing it :) I’m in Oregon and could not find chunks anywhere…so I bought a bakers bar and chopped it up myself. Worked great! Do you have other recipes? I love to bake and I love to try new things… Would love to pick your brain on other ideas that you’ve tried :)

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