Let me start with an honest fact, it took me years to create the PERFECT brownie recipe that has amazing texture AND taste at the same time. This Pecan brownies recipe is thick, fudge and gooey in the middle, crinkly and crispy on top with intense chocolate taste, crunchy pecans, and a pinch of cinnamon… absolutely out of this world!
Need a quick chocolate fix? Try this foolproof brownie recipe that comes together in literally 10 minutes.
How brownies should look like
- Crinkly top – During baking a crinkly skin should form on top of the brownies that is crispy and makes the brownies brownies, not a cake. Please note that if you are changing the recipe eg. reducing sugar, you won´t get the iconic crinkly top
- Dense texture – Brownies should rise only a tiny bit due to the eggs however it should not rise like a sponge cake, in fact it should stay rather dense. Having said that, dense does not mean flat. If you have been experiencing “flat” brownies before, probably you either has to increase the quantity of the brownie batter or choose a smaller pan
- Fudge center – Brownies should have a fudge, gooey texture. There is nothing worse than over baked brownies with crumbly texture! I suggest to rather under bake than over bake the brownies. Beside over baking, reducing the fat content (butter) also results in cake texture as opposed to gooey
- Intense chocolate taste – Brownies should have deep chocolate flavour and colour that is achieved by combination of good quality dark chocolate and high quality unsweetened dark cocoa powder. Try using the the best quality ingredients, it will make a huge difference
My Top 5 Baking Tips for home bakers
- Read this Pecan Brownies recipe carefully including my tips and recommendations on how to avoid and fix typical issues during baking. Not much issue is expected during making brownies but still worth to check my tips so that your brownies will turn out exactly like mine
- Avoid using substitutes and changing the recipe unless you are aware of how to fully reformulate the recipe in order to keep the balance in texture as well as flavour. Eg. reducing sugar, replacing egg or not using the ingredients on the right temperature will certainly have an impact on your brownies
- For consistent, happy baking experience always measure your ingredients with the help of a Digital scale. Cup measurement is an indicative figure only but not accurate and a little bit of too much or too little of certain ingredients can easily ruin the balance in the texture of this brownie
- Did you know that most home ovens can significantly under or oven run? Also, oven temperature drops when opening the oven door therefore it is recommended to always pre-heat the oven above the required baking temperature.
- Temperature is so important in baking and accurate oven temperature is key, can make or break any recipe! Make sure you invest into an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer to avoid over baked crumbly brownies
Important notes regarding the INGREDIENTS of this Homemade Pecan Brownies recipe
- Butter: Use always unsalted butter as you want to be in control of the quantity of the salt. I am using 82% fat content butter in all my recipes. In this recipe butter will need to be melted so no need to bring it to room temp as we usually state in many recipes
- Sugar: For this Pecan brownie I use a combination of white and brown sugar. If you had baked my recipes before you probably realized that usually I don´t use a huge amount of sugar, however in case of brownies, sugar is super important and have a huge impact on the brownies texture and the iconic crackly top. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read my article in here
- Egg: Room temperature as always
- Flour: I use simple AP flour. If you want to be a Pro when it comes to deciding what type of flour to use in your baking, please read my article in here
- Cinnamon: There is a small amount of cinnamon in the recipe that makes a wonderful addition to the chocolate and pecan , do not leave it out!
- No baking powder: Having no chemical leaveners in the recipe (like baking powder) will ensure fudge, gooey brownie!
- Chocolate: The quality of the chocolate along with the quality of cocoa powder will determine the overall taste of your brownie therefore I recommend using the best quality you can access. I suggest to use dark or at least semi-sweet chocolate as with milk this brownie recipe would become way too sweet . The chocolate I am using is Callebaut Dark Chocolate (callets)
- Cocoa powder: Generally always use unsweetened, 100% cocoa powder in baking. I use dutch-process cocoa powder, it has a lovely dark colour and it is lower in acidity
- Pecan: The recipe can be made with any nuts really from hazelnut, walnut to pecan
My top 7 tips regarding the TECHNIQUE of making this Pecan brownies recipe
1. What cake pan is the best to make brownies?
Honestly almost any pan can be used to bake brownies however my preference is a 7 inch /18 cm square brownie pan that makes 9 wonderful brownie slices! What is more important is how you prepare your pan before baking!
Remember, the brownie will be gooey, fudge so you want to make sure that you can remove it from the pan in one piece without breaking it. How to prepare the pan before baking? With the help of a pastry brush, brush the inside of the cake pan with a tiny bit of oil o rmelted butter then use parchment paper on the bottom and side as well. The oil only needed for the parchment to stick to the pan. What I love about this pan preparation is that even though my brownie always super gooey, with the help of the parchment paper it is incredible easy remove the baked brownie from the pan and brownie won´t stick to it whatsoever.
2. How to melt chocolate without burning it?
Double boiler is a common method for melting chocolate without burning it. You might have to play around with combinations of pans and bowls to find the perfect fit but it works perfectly fine. While melting chocolate, make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove chocolate from the heat as soon as it is melted, it is possible to overheat chocolate and in that case it will break.
Other option is to melt the chocolate in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds. If choosing the microwave option, I suggest to place chocolate into a plastic container as it is much easier to burn it in a glass container.
Either way, aim to use good quality chocolate with high cocoa content eg. Callebaut Dark Chocolate (callets) both in terms of texture also taste point of view. Low quality chocolate might already break at the melting stage and become greasy.
3. What is the process of making these Pecan brownies
Making brownie is extremely easy but there are a couple of key steps you have to get right to achieve the right texture.
- Melt butter and chocolate in a bowl over simmering water
- In another bowl beat together the eggs with sugar with the help of an Electric hand mixer until pale this might take 5-7 minutes
- Pour the melted butter and chocolate mixture into the egg sugar mixture, mix well with a Rubber spatula. Do not use a mixer at this point
- Sift in flour, cinnamon, salt and cocoa powder together (this will be your dry ingredients). Sifting is necessary to avoid lumps later in the brownie mixture
- Fold dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Make sure you fold it with a Rubber spatula only until the mixture comes together, literally 30 seconds. Do not use a mixer and do not over mix the brownie butter. Over mixing ingredients would result in incorporating too much air and gluten into the mixture in which case the brownie might get a crumbly, cake like texture and we do not want that!
- Pour the brownie batter into the prepared 7 inch /18 cm square brownie pan , smooth the top with an Offset spatula then place chopped pecan pieces on top
4. How to bake these Pecan brownies? For how long? How do I know that my Pecan brownies are ready baked?
Baking brownies is a super delicate matter, the most important part of this recipe!
First of all never bake any dessert without properly pre-heating your oven first, so start with that. The brownies will be baked at 180 C / 356 F so preheat the oven +20C / 68F as the oven temp drops when you open the door. Always use Digital oven thermometer to avoid over baked crumbly or underbaked brownies.
Each oven is different so you might need to adjust the time slightly but in my oven I bake the Pecan brownies for 20 minutes then remove it from the oven, sprinkle with some chocolate chip and bake it for another 10 minutes. The brownie is ready when the edge looks sotrt of baked and the middle slightly gooey but not raw. Do not over bake your brownies! Every other recipe usually state “bake until toothpick inserted comes out clean”, this is totally not the case for making this Pecan Brownies recipe or any other brownie recipe. The toothpick should be gooey and if it is clean, it means you sadly over baked your brownies.
Let the brownie cool in the 7 inch /18 cm square brownie pan then carefully cut it into 9 squares. Do not take the brownie out of the pan while it is still hot as it will further set as it cools. Also do not attempt to cut it while it is still hot as it will be way too sticky.
5. How to get crackly crunchy top on brownies
Everyone is crazy about crackly brownie surface, let me tell you that I was not very good with that for a long time and reason being that I always tried to bake brownie with less sugar than I should. Please do not change this recipe, it is perfect with the right amount of sugar to give you that lovely crackly surface. Reducing sugar will have an impact on the overall texture of the brownie as well as the crackly top. If worried about the sweetness of this brownie, instead of reducing sugar, make sure you use high quality dark chocolate that will offset the sweetness of the sugar. Brown also bring beautiful molasses flavor to Pecan brownies beside sweetness so make sure you do not skip that.
If, for some reason, crackly surface would not develop on your Pecan brownies, bang the tray on the kitchen counter for a few times (5-10 minutes before baking time ends), that will encourage cracks forming on top! Easy peasy!
6. How to get gooey center on brownies
For gooey brownie first of all you need a brownie recipe that has the right ratio of ingredients eg. high enough fat content (butter) vs flour, good news is that this Pecan brownies recipe perfectly delivers on that!
Secondly, you must measure your ingredients with a digital scale, a little bit too much of this, not enough of that can majorly change this recipe eg. adding a little bit too much flour might ruin the gooey center you strive for.
Thirdly, do not over bake the brownies! In fact, it is like making cookies, you have to take them out of the oven when they do not look properly baked yet… It is better to under bake your brownies than to over bake them.
There is nothing worse than over baked brownies.. having said that, you might need to experiment with your own oven in this regard. The brownie is ready when the edge looks baked and the middle looks gooey but not raw. The brownie will further set as it cools and it will even further dry for the next day. As mentioned, do not cut brownies while it is still hot, wait until it comes to room temp.
7. Can I replace pecans in this brownie recipe?
Yes, you can! Feel free to use other nuts eg. walnut or hazelnut. You can also experiment with other toppings like Oreo pieces, pretzel etc. Or try my raspberry brownie, recipe in here.
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RECIPE CARD – Pecan brownies
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Pre-heat oven to 180 C / 356 F
- Take a 7 inch /18 cm square brownie pan, brush the inside of the cake pan with a tiny bit of oil then use parchment paper on the bottom and side as well. Set aside
- Melt butter and chocolate in a bowl over simmering water
- In another bowl beat together the eggs with sugar with the help of an Electric hand mixer until pale, for about 5-7 minutes
- Pour the melted butter and chocolate mixture into the egg sugar mixture, combine with a Rubber spatula. Do not use a mixer at this point
- Sift in flour, cinnamon, salt and cocoa powder and fold the mixture together. Do not overmix
- Bake for 20 minutes then place some chocolate chips on top (optional) and bake for further 10 minutes. The brownie is ready when the edge looks baked and the middle looks slightly gooey but not raw. Do not over bake! The brownie will further set as it cools
- Let the brownie cool in the 7 inch /18 cm square brownie pan then carefully cut
- Sprinkle with sea salt