With Allyson Grant

How to make homemade brownies with a shiny top

 These brownies are made the old-fashioned way with one bowl and mixed by hand. They only take a few minutes to make and there’s also a good chance you already have the ingredients available. Let me walk you through the steps for making the perfect brownie with chewy edges and a shiny top.

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How to Make the Best Shiny Top Brownies

If you have tried tons of brownie recipes in search of the perfect batch of brownie perfection, look no further!

I’m going to show you how to make what I consider to be “the perfect brownie.”

The perfect brownies have several things going for them:

  • Chocolaty- a great brownie should have an ultra chocolaty flavor
  • Chewy- the edges are slightly more baked with the perfect chewy texture
  • Fudgy- dense and moist middles that melt in your mouth
  • Shiny- that crackly shiny top is a sigh of brownie perfection

The perfect brownie has the right ratio of chewy edges, fudgy center, and shiny, crackly tops. Let’s take a look at how to make the perfect brownie so that you never have to use a box mix to make brownies again!

Tips to get a shiny top on your brownies

Achieving shiny tops on your brownies is the mark of success for many bakers. It’s a sign of a job well done! But shiny tops can be inconsistent. Using the same recipe can often yield different results. Read more about shiny top brownies here.

When I was a bakery owner we baked brownies frequently. I noticed that some of my bakers would mix and bake brownies and have shiny tops, and others would follow the same recipe and have brownies with a matte finish.

So what were these bakers doing differently? Well, it all comes down to technique. Let’s break it down and discover the two things that affect shiny vs. matte top brownies:

Use hot butter for shiny top brownies

Melting the butter helps to dissolve the sugar as you stir it in. If you wait too long after melting your butter and it is too cool when you mix in the sugar, the sugar won’t dissolve as well. You may end up with the dreaded matte top brownie.

Beat the sugar and eggs well to help produce shiny top brownies

The next factor that helps produce shiny top brownies is how well you incorporate the eggs into the recipe. Beat the eggs into the sugar, butter, and chocolate mixture for several minutes until you have a glossy smooth mixture.

Tips for getting chewy edges on your brownies

Take a poll and ask people if they are edge piece fans or middle piece fans and you might be surprised to learn that most people like the chewy, lightly crunchy edge pieces.

So what’s the trick to getting the perfect ratio of chewy edges and moist fudgy middles? Here are my tips for getting the perfect edges on your brownies:

Use a good recipe to get chewy edge brownies

Not all brownie recipes are the same. To get a chewy/crispy edge piece, you need to have a recipe that has the right amount of sugar. Sugar creates crispness in baked goods and it’s essential for those deliciously crunchy edge pieces.

My recipe has a combination of granulated sugar and powdered sugar (which also helps with the shiny tops.) Make sure that you are using a recipe that has enough sugar to create the desired crispness.

Use the right size pan for the best chewy edge brownies

If you’re tempted to bake this recipe in the first pan you find and disregard the size, you may be disappointed to learn that the pan size greatly affects the final results.

What pan should I use?

This recipe is perfectly sized for a 9 x 9-inch square, non-stick aluminum pan. It is the right size for the amount of batter. If you change the pan size, double the recipe, or alter the fill amount, you could have flat, dry to undercooked brownies.

Should I use a metal or glass pan?

Aluminum, non-stick pans are the best for brownies. If you don’t have one and need to use a glass pan, lower your oven temperature by 25 degrees and bake your brownies for the same cooking time.

Next, let’s take a look at a few other factors that go into baking the perfect brownie.

Brownie ingredients

Who doesn’t love a spontaneous batch of brownies whipped up for movie-watching, weekend treats, or last-minute desserts? It’s so easy to make a quick batch of brownies when you keep your pantry stocked with the basic ingredients.

brownie recipe with cocoa powder

When it comes to brownies, I prefer Dutch-processed cocoa. The process of alkalizing the cocoa darkens it and gives it a rich deeper flavor.

brownie recipe with chocolate chips

Chocolate chips add the right amount of cocoa butter and sugar to balance the recipe.

Always use semi-sweet chips for the best results. Don’t be tempted to leave them out and substitute more cocoa powder though. The chocolate chips also contribute to the flaky, shiny tops!

Can I add nuts? How much?

Feel free to add chopped walnuts or pecans to the recipe. I like to add 1 cup of chopped and toasted walnuts and drizzle with rum after baking and transform my everyday brownies into something special for the holidays.

In addition to a good cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate chips, this recipe calls for a combination of butter and oil for moisture and flavor, the addition of extra egg yolk for texture, and both granulated sugar and powdered sugar to contribute to the shiny top and chewy edges.

Fudge brownies vs. Cakey Brownies: What’s the difference

Another common brownie debate is about the preference for fudgy brownies versus cakey brownies. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two:

Fudgy brownies recipe

A fudgy brownie is moist, dense, and gooey. It has a higher fat-to-flour ratio than the cakey type. Fudgy brownies will use little, to no leavening ingredients like baking soda or baking powder.

Cakey brownie recipe

Cakey brownies are light and airy with more of a traditional cake texture. They get their softness and texture from using baking powder and baking soda, as well as whisking more air into the batter while mixing.

Pro tips for making this brownie recipe

As you can see, the perfect brownie is the result of a combination of ingredients and techniques. Here are a few pro tips to help you get the best results:

Use hot melted butter in your brownie recipe

As I mentioned earlier, the butter temperature is key to getting shiny tops. Have all your ingredients ready so that you can work quickly. Stir the sugar into butter that is still hot enough to dissolve the sugar.

Whisk the egg until glossy for a shiny top brownie

Mix your eggs well, but don’t overdo it. You want to achieve a smooth glossy egg mixture. Mixing by hand will take about 1 minute of whisking. Be careful though, if you over-mix you’ll have a cakey brownie.

Don’t overbake your brownies

The amount of time that you bake your brownies can drastically affect your final product. Overcook them, and you may have a cakey texture. Underbake them and the centers will be too gooey and raw.

How To Tell When Brownies Are Done

You can tell when brownies are done by the crackle on top. Once you start to see the small hairline cracks in the shiny surface your brownies are almost done. Watch for the cracks to spread towards the middle of the pan and then take them out of the oven.

You can also follow the baking time and temperature of this recipe. If you use a 9 x 9-inch pan and bake at 325 degrees, your brownies will be done in about 35-45 minutes.

Always use your best judgment on the baking time for brownies since oven temperatures vary.

What flavor variations can I try?

Brownies are one of my favorite menu items because of how versatile they are. Try swirling in different ingredients. Some of my favorites are:

  • swirled in melted peanut butter
  • swirl in raspberry jam
  • mini marshmallows and almonds for a rocky road flavor
  • graham crackers and chocolate chips for a smores flavor (add marshmallows at the end)

How long do they last, can they be frozen?

Another reason I love brownies so much is because of how well they freeze. Just bake as usual and cut your brownies into desired portion sizes. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap, then place the pieces inside a freezer-safe plastic container, or a freezer zip lock bag.

Don’t forget to label and date your freezer container!

Enjoy this scratch brownie recipe

Here is the recipe for my favorite brownies ever! I hope you love it as much as I do!

The Brownie recipe has metric measurements too!

I always try to make my recipes accessible for everyone, so each ingredient contains measurements for standard American units as well as metric measurements.

Print Recipe
Homemade Brownies

The Best Homemade Fudgy Brownie Recipe

Better Baker Club
 These brownies are made the old-fashioned way with one bowl and mixed by hand. They only take a few minutes to make and there's also a good chance you already have the ingredients available.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings 9


  • 4 oz Butter 8 Tbsp, 113g
  • 4 oz Semi-sweet chocolate chips 2/3 cup, 113g
  • 2 ea Eggs Large, room temperature
  • 1 ea Egg yolk Discard white
  • 8 oz Granulated sugar 1 cup, 226g
  • 2.5 oz Powdered sugar 1/2 cup, 70g
  • 1.5 oz Cocoa powder 1/2 cup, 50g
  • 2.5 oz Vegetable oil 1/3 cup. 70g
  • 3 oz All-purpose flour 1/2 cup, 85g
  • 1/2 tsp Salt 2.6g
  • 1/4 tsp Baking soda 1 g
  • 1 tsp Vanilla 4g


  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Coat a non-stick 9 x 9 -inch baking pan with pan spray and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Measure both sugar measurements into a medium bowl. Whisk together. Set aside.
  • In a microwave, melt the butter and chocolate together in a glass bowl on low heat for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave for another 30 seconds. Continue until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is very warm.
  • Add the melted butter and chocolate mixture to the sugar mixture. Stir by hand for approximatelty one minute to help dissolve the sugar.
  • Add the vanilla, oil, eggs, and egg yolk. Stir the mixture until it is silky and thick, about 3 minutes. This is how the shiny tops are formed so be sure to stir for the full 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Mix until you can no longer see any dry flour spots.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared 9 x 9- inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean, but moist.
  • .Allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting into 9 equal pieces.

Homemade brownie recipe for the perfect brownies

Now that you know how to achieve the perfect shiny tops and chewy edges you can quickly bake up a batch of these amazing-tasting brownies for yourself. Just remember my tips for using the proper pan size, using the right ingredients, and following my mixing tips for the best results.

Let me know in the comments how your brownies turned out!

Allyson Grant Baking Coach

If you enjoyed this brownie recipe, you might also like my Super Easy Blondie Bar recipe and my Strawberry Crumble Bars.

5 thoughts on “How to make homemade brownies with a shiny top”

  • Hi Carol,
    You can absolutely use this recipe in a pan that makes individual brownies. If you are using the type of individual pan that makes 12 brownies. just fill 9 of them since this recipe is the size of a 9 x 9 pan and makes 9 servings. If you decide to fill all 12 spaces, you’ll have a thinner brownie that bakes a little quicker.

  • This recipe was the most confusing recipe ever. The measurements were totally confusing and put in such a strange order. I am 65 years old and actually had to call my mom and get her opinion about the measurements! I still have no idea what 3.oz of flour 1/2 cup is. Am I competely stupid or are these these recipes from a foreign country.

  • Hi Nan, I write my recipes so that they are accessible to all different types of bakers. Some people like to weigh their ingredients and prefer the units to be in ounces. Others like to measure using cups and teaspoons. Sorry, you found it too confusing. Hope your brownies turned out good!

  • cant wait to try this……i use a digital scale and understand your measurements fine…..just got a z shaped bakers edge pan…..can i use that…….thanks gg

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