An easy, simple recipe for perfect fudgy brownies, bite-sized and with a quick-fix topping consisting of melted chocolate and chopped walnuts. The best chocolate treat for snacking, potluck parties, and giving as gifts!
A SWEET TOOTH TO FEND FOR ITSELF
I imagine a lot of us ladies grew up baking with mom, and I am no exception. It was one of my favorite pastimes, and one typically reserved for slow-moving Saturdays. As for the rest of the week, my little sweet tooth was left to fend for itself, and thanks to Lil’ Debbie, it was rarely deprived. My favorite treat baked up by that company was none other than a fudgy brownie, dense and chewy with big chocolate flavor, and speckled with buttery, crunchy bits of walnuts. And, I didn’t even like nuts as a kid. But somehow, these brownie bites snuck right under my radar.
HANDHELD TREATS AND BAKERY DAYS
Fast forward a few decades later, and my love of baking remained. So much so, that I started my own little at-home bakery, selling only handheld treats like cookies, chocolate bark, and you guessed it — fudgy brownies. The business always spiked at Christmas time when customers were on the hunt for sweet little gift ideas…quite literally. Most of my customers were in the market for affordable gifts for friends, extended family members, teachers, or co-workers, and each and every Christmas, I would package up hundreds of dozens of sweet treats in little baggies tied off with a red satin ribbon.
PACKAGING HOMEMADE DESSERTS
I was always looking for special desserts that would not only keep well, but package nicely as well. The criteria typically went something like this: If it was not meant to be a crunchy dessert, there needed to be plenty of moisture in the cookie or bar to keep it from drying out, and the desserts needed to be stackable in order to stay pretty in the clear cellophane baggies, which essentially meant no wet icings.
It didn’t take long for those fudgy brownies from my childhood to make their way back to the forefront of my mind. If Lil’ Debbie could package them, so could I. So I went to work recreating a homemade version of their walnut fudge brownies.
FUDGY BROWNIE BITES — THE PERFECT TREAT TO-GO
Fudgy brownies met the criteria perfectly. Not only are they easy to make, but they stay moist, and they just so happen to be a chocolate lover’s dream. Speaking from experience here, folks. If you can recall the Lil’ Debbie brownie packaging, you might remember that the chocolate topping isn’t necessarily mess-free. In order to keep things neat for packaging purposes, I opted to use Ghirardelli melting chocolate wafers instead.
Using the melted chocolate wafers in place of a ganache icing saved a great deal of time, and was absolutely perfect for packaging, as it set up quickly and stayed in place once hardened.
HOW TO MAKE FUDGY BROWNIES WITH A NO-MESS TOPPING
To make these brownies exceptionally fudgy, a few adaptations were made to my all-time favorite homemade brownie recipe. Now, I’m sure we’re all familiar with the “leave well-enough alone” saying, but if I was going to call this bad boy a fudgy brownie, by all means — it needed to be fudgy.
To make them creamy and soft in the center, I added a yolk to my original recipe (a tip I picked up from Fine Cooking), which also added richness to the brownie. Then, I added a touch more cocoa powder for an extra chocolatey finish.
EASY BROWNIE BATTER
Brownie batter is one of the easiest homemade desserts to throw together. You simply whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl. Then, mix the wet ingredients, and combine the two using either a sturdy wooden spoon or a handheld mixer. Add in the chopped walnuts, and mix once more. Simple as that.
HOW TO GET BROWNIES OUT OF THE PAN
If you are baking these fudgy brownies to give as a gift, you’ll want to ensure you can easily get them out of the pan. To do this, line your baking dish with either parchment paper or nonstick aluminum foil, making sure to leave a little overhang over the sides of the dish so you can easily pull them out. This small, extra step ensures each square stays completely intact with straight, beautiful edges when cut.
MELT THE CHOCOLATE WAFERS
Before you can add any toppings, it is important to note that your brownies should be completely room temperature.
Once your brownies are totally cooled, lift them out of the baking dish using the parchment overhang and transfer to a work surface. Melt the chocolate wafers according to package directions, and spoon the melted chocolate over the top.
ADD THE WALNUT TOPPING
While the chocolate topping is still wet, sprinkle over the chopped walnuts or any other toppings you might like. Allow the topping to completely set before cutting into squares.
HOW TO CUT BROWNIES INTO SQUARES
Once the topping has set, using a large, sharp knife, cut the block of brownies in half lengthwise, then cut each half in half again lengthwise. So, you should have four equal strips. Now, you’ll cut each strip in half crosswise, and repeat once more, so that you have sixteen squares total.
Brownies by nature are an easy dessert to make from scratch, and now you can make them all the more special with a simple chocolate topping. These fudgy brownies squares with walnuts are the perfect bite-sized treat for both gifting and snacking.
Whether you’re baking them up on a slow-moving Saturday, or as a Christmas-time treat for sharing, happy baking and as always, enjoy.
An easy and simple recipe for perfect fudgy brownie bites, with a quick-fix topping consisting of melted chocolate and chopped walnuts.
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 (10 ounce) package Ghirardelli Chocolate Dark Melting Wafers
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts separated
Preheat the oven to 350°. Have ready a greased, 8"x8" square baking dish lined with parchment paper, leaving a slight overhang to easily lift the brownies out once baked.
Melt the butter in a microwave-safe pitcher or bowl, and set aside to cool.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Whisk and set aside.
Add the eggs and the yolk to a large mixing bowl, and whisk. Add the sugar and vanilla, and a handheld mixer on medium speed (or a sturdy wooden spoon) to mix until well combined. Slowly stream in the melted butter, mixing all the while.
Add the dry ingredients and with the mixer on low, mix until just combined. Add 1/2 cup of the chopped walnuts, and mix once more.
Add the batter to baking dish, spread to the edges and smooth over the top. Bake for 26-28 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool completely. Once the brownies have cooled, lift them out of the baking dish and transfer to a work surface.
Melt the chocolate wafers according to package directions, and pour melted chocolate over the top of the brownies. Smooth over the top using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with remaining walnuts and set aside until completely set.
Cut the brownies into squares, serve and enjoy.