This Fudgy Pecan Brownies recipe is a time saver for Thanksgiving, that might just become your favorite Brownie recipe all year round! This Brownie with pecans is the perfect combination of thick, fudge, and gooey inside and crinkly, crispy top with intense chocolate taste, crunchy pecans, and a pinch of cinnamon. It is rich, yet very well balanced in sweetness! Absolutely out of this world, it is the perfect chocolatey Thanksgiving dessert but a good idea any other time of the year!
📖 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 and 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 have 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 rather under baking than over baking the brownies. Besides over baking, reducing the fat content (butter) also results in cake texture as opposed to gooey
- Intense chocolate taste – Brownies should have a deep chocolate flavor and color that is achieved by the combination of good quality dark chocolate and high-quality unsweetened dark cocoa powder. Try using the best quality ingredients, it will make a huge difference
🌟 Why this is the best recipe
- It is extremely easy – No fancy ingredients are needed, this is an easy Pecan brownies recipe that is totally doable from scratch, no need for a box mix. Both the mixing process of the brownie batter as well as the baking process are very simple even if you are a beginner in the kitchen
- It is super quick – Making Chocolate Pecan brownies is not just easy but quick as well, does not require dough chilling, etc. This recipe can be the perfect quick and impressive Thanksgiving dessert
- It is super delicious – These are hands down the best pecan brownies. Imagine the intense chocolate taste that is very well balanced with some cinnamon and salt, roasted and crunchy pecans on top... It is chewy and nutty at the same time. You will love it!
- No special equipment is needed – All you need is a brownie tin that you probably already have at home and you are good to go!
- It is super versatile – This Pecan Brownie recipe can be made using different spices eg. cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, as well as the nut can be substituted with walnut or other nuts. Feel free to experiment!
📝 Ingredient notes
- 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, the 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 the case of brownies, sugar is super important and has a huge impact on the brownies' texture and the iconic crackly top. These Brown sugar pecan brownies have the most amazing texture and flavor thanks to the brown sugar itself. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read my sugar guide
- Egg: Room temperature as always
- Flour: I use simple All purpose 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 flour guide
- 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 a fudgy, 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 using 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 color and is lower in acidity. Pecan brownies with cocoa powder have a lovely super deep chocolate taste
- Pecan: Of course, you can substitute it with other nuts eg. walnut, check my pecans vs walnuts article for more information.
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all Ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
👩🍳 How to make this recipe
1. How to melt chocolate without burning it
Have you ever wasted chocolate due to incorrectly melting it and burning it? Never again!
Making any brownies recipe usually starts with melting the chocolate. A 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 that 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 the chocolate, and in that case, it will break. Never ever try to melt chocolate directly on the stove as you will burn it in seconds.
The other option is to melt the chocolate in the microwave - strictly stirring every 30 seconds. If choosing the microwave option, I suggest placing chocolate into a plastic container. It is much easier to burn it in a glass container.
For more details, read my how to melt chocolate chips article.
💡 Top Tip: Aim to use good quality white chocolate with high cocoa content both in terms of texture also taste point of view. Low-quality chocolate might already break at the melting stage and becomes greasy
2. Step-by-step process
Making Chocolate brownies with pecan is not difficult 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 whip 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 dry ingredients; flour, cinnamon, salt, and cocoa powder together. 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 batter. 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
💡 Top Tip: Do not use a mixer and do not over-mix the brownie batter. Over mixing the 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
3. How to bake
Baking these Chocolate Pecan 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 brownie will be baked at 180 C / 356 F (no fan). 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 under-baked desserts.
Each oven is different so you might need to adjust the time slightly but in my oven, I bake the brownie blondies for 35 minutes. It is ready when the edge looks sort of baked, and the middle slightly gooey but not raw. Usually, recipes state "bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean", however, this is totally not the case for making this easy pecan brownies recipe. The toothpick should be gooey, and if it is clean, it means you sadly overbaked your dessert.
Let the brownies cool in the 7 inch /18 cm square brownie pan, then carefully cut it into 9 squares.
For more information on storage, check my article about how to store brownies to keep them fresh.
💡 Top Tip: Do not take the brownie out of the baking pan while it is still hot, as it will further set as it cools. Also do not attempt to cut it while it is hot as it will be way too sticky.
4. How to get the crackly crunchy top on brownies
Everyone is crazy about crackly brownie surfaces, let me tell you that I was not very good with that for a long time, due to I always tried to bake brownies 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, of course, you are free to do that for health reasons, but expect that the texture will change.
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, and do not forget the salt. Brown sugar also brings beautiful molasses flavor to Pecan brownies besides the sweetness so make sure you do not skip that.
If, for some reason, the crackly surface would not develop on your Pecan brownies, bang the tray on the kitchen counter a few times (5-10 minutes before the baking time ends), that will encourage cracks to form on top! Easy peasy!
💡 Top Tip: If, for some reason, the crackly surface would not develop on your brownies, bang the tray on the kitchen counter a few times (5-10 minutes before the baking time ends), that will encourage cracks to form on top
5. How to get gooey center on brownies
For gooey brownies, 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 easy 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.
💡 Top Tip: 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.
🥣 Equipment notes
What baking pan is the best to make these Pecan brownies? Honestly almost any pan can be used however my preference is a 7 inch /18 cm square brownie pan that makes 9 wonderful large brownie slices! What is a more important topic 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 7-inch pan before baking? With the help of a pastry brush (or your fingers), brush the inside of the cake pan with a very tiny bit of oil or melted butter, then use parchment paper on the bottom and side as well. The oil is only needed for the parchment to stick to the pan. What I love about this pan preparation is that even though this Brownies recipe is super fudge, with the help of the parchment paper it is incredibly easy to remove the baked dessert from the pan, it won´t stick to it whatsoever.
🎓 Expert tips
- Your pecan brownie will be as delicious as the chocolate you are using. Avoid cheap supermarket chocolate in baking
- While making any brownie, avoid using a mixer to incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet as that would result in too cakey texture
- For the best fudge brownie experience, not over-bake your brownie and consider using an over thermometer to be able to measure the oven temp correctly
- An inexpensive Rubber spatula is super useful whenever "fold" is mentioned in the recipe. With the help of your spatula, you will be able to fold the ingredients properly
- Feel free to experiment with flavors eg replace pecans with walnut
- Or, why not drizzle the brownies with a spoonful of delicious homemade pecan butter?
Yes, you can, however, you will need to adjust the ingredient quantities and baking time accordingly.
Most probably yes, you can, however, you can´t just leave out / change an ingredient without reformulating the entire recipe. When one ingredient changes, some other ingredients need to be changed too in order to keep the balance in the texture and flavor. Sadly, I am not able to provide substitutes for all sorts of allergies and diets.
There are a couple of reasons why your dessert can turn out to be raw, and fixing it requires different actions.
First of all, make sure that you let it cool completely. The Brownie bars are meant to be way too gooey while they are hot, but they will set as they cool.
If the dessert seems raw even after chilled, you most probably underbaked it. Under baking can happen for two reasons: either because of incorrect oven temperature (lower than stated in the recipe) or simply the brownies would have needed a bit more time in the oven. Make sure you invest in an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer if you tend to struggle with the baking part.
Another issue that can cause raw texture is measuring the ingredients inappropriately eg. adding less flour to the recipe. Make sure you use a Digital scale during baking, cups are not an accurate way of measuring for consistent results.
Similarly to the raw texture, there are a couple of issues that might have happened.
You most probably overbaked your brownie bars, either because of incorrect oven temperature (higher than stated in the recipe) or simply it was baked for too long. Make sure you invest in an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer as suggested above.
Another issue that can cause too cakey texture as opposed to gooey texture is measuring the flour incorrectly, eg. adding too much flour, or measuring the fat incorrectly, eg. too little butter. Make sure you use a Digital scale during baking. Over mixing the ingredients can also cause a cakey texture on your brownies. You have to incorporate the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula and don´t use the mixer at this point.
Once the Pecan Brownie is baked, make sure you let it cool (as it is further set) before cutting. Any leftover can be stored in an air-tight container either at room temperature or in the fridge for 3-4 days. I suggest you cover the dessert so it does not absorb any smell from the fridge or from the kitchen.
Technically you can freeze these in an airtight container however the gooey texture might change slightly. I personally never freezer brownies since they stay fresh for a few days or they are gone quickly!
🍫 More Brownie recipes
The Ultimate Fudge Pecan Brownies
- 150 g (1 cups) Chocolate use semi-sweet quality chocolate eg. Callebaut Dark Chocolate (callets)
- 150 g (⅔ cups) Unsalted butter
- 3 Eggs room temperature
- 150 g (¾ cups) Granulated sugar
- 150 g (¾) Brown sugar
- 30 g (⅓ cups) Cocoa powder unsweetened Dutch processed
- 75 g (⅔ cups) All purpose
- ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 150 g (1½ cups) Pecan
- chocolate chips optional
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 ( no fan)
- 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 it aside
- Melt butter and chocolate in a bowl over simmering water over medium heat
- In another bowl whip 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, and 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
- Sprinkle with sea salt
- Let the brownie cool in the 7 inch /18 cm square brownie pan then carefully cut
- Store at room temperature or in the fridge for 3-4 days
- Use always unsalted butter in dessert recipes, but make sure you add the salt stated in the recipe as that will balance the sweetness
- Use a combination of white and (light or dark) brown sugar for the best texture and beautiful butterscotch flavor
- The egg should be used at room temp
- Baking powder is not included in this recipe intentionally, so ýour Brownie will turn out wonderfully fudge and gooey
- The quality of the chocolate chips along with the quality of cocoa powder will define the taste of your brownies so try to use high-quality ingredients
- Digital scale is required for a consistent, happy baking experience:)
- Melt chocolate over a double boiler so you won´t burn it
- Always pre-heat your oven and consider using a digital oven thermometer for the best results
- Each oven is different so you might need to adjust the baking time slightly
- For the best fudge brownie experience consider rather slightly under bake your dessert
- Do not attempt to cut the brownie bar while it is still hot, as it further sets as it cools