These walnut brownies are what proper brownies should be — crusty and shiny on top, fudgy in the centre, and bursting with walnuts and chocolate chips in every bite.
(Try these soft and chewy cookie butter blondies — they’re brownies but made with everybody’s favourite cookie butter.)
There’s a reason brownies always show up in bake sales — everybody loves them and they’re very easy to make.
But the perfect homemade brownie, now that’s what chocolate dreams are made of.
I’m talking about dark, moist, chocolatey brownies with a perfectly crackly top.
Closer to fudge than cake, slightly gooey, most certainly chewy. Packed with walnuts and chocolate chips.
These are the old-fashioned classic fudge walnut brownies that remind you of grandma or the kitchen smelling wonderful as you come home from school.
Let’s get to it.
Why this recipe works
I love making brownies with walnuts. Hopefully you will too!
- Just as easy as a box mix, but better. I know there are lots of boxed mixes out there but lemme tell you, nothing beats the taste of homemade brownies.
- And it’s so easy to make too. You’re essentially just mixing all the ingredients in a bowl and transferring them to a baking pan. That’s it!
- Freezer friendly. These brownies also freeze well. I usually bake a big batch, freeze them and just thaw when I need to serve them.
- Easy to customize. And the recipe is very easy to customize. Not a fan of walnuts? Leave them out or replace with other nuts like pecans. I give more variations below.
How to make walnut brownies
To make this recipe, you’ll need basic pantry staples:
- Cocoa powder — I use Dutch processed unsweetened cocoa powder
- Baking soda
- Unsalted butter
- Espresso or strong coffee — if you don’t care for additional caffeine, you can substitute with water
- Granulated sugar
- Brown sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Large eggs
- All-purpose flour
- Dark chocolate chips — you can also use chopped dark chocolate
- Walnuts — I don’t toast my walnuts but you can definitely do so. Toasting them will add great flavour.
You don’t need a mixer on baking day. Just the following:
- 9×13 inch baking pan
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups and spoons
I also always recommend an oven thermometer and a kitchen scale. They’ve made me a better baker for sure.
Making brownies from scratch is one of the first things I learned as a baker. It’s easy and straightforward:
PREP. Preheat oven to 325F and line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
WHISK. In a large bowl, whisk cocoa powder and baking soda.Then add melted butter and whisk until smooth. Espresso comes next; whisk until thick and incorporated.
WHISK SOME MORE. Add sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, eggs and a pinch of salt. Stir until shiny and smooth.
DRY INGREDIENTS. Then add flour, your chocolate chips and walnuts and gently stir until just combined. Don’t over-stir.
BAKE. Transfer the batter to your prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or just until the sides are starting to pull away from the pan and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with minimal dry crumbs.
ENJOY. Allow to cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares.
Expert baking tips
What makes a brownie fudgy and chewy?
From my experience, two things significantly affect the chewiness factor (is that a thing? Let’s make it a thing) of brownies:
(1) Brown sugar. In this recipe, there’s 1/2 cup packed brown sugar and I’ve found that adding it helps create that sticky, fudgy texture.
(2) Bake time. Remember it’s better to under-bake than over-bake brownies. Use the baking time in this recipe (or any brownie recipe) as a guide then start testing your brownies about 10 minutes before the end, or just when they start pulling away from the sides of your pan.
The tester or toothpick you insert in the centre must not come out clean.
What you want are bits of crumbs (not wet batter) sticking to it. The brownies will continue to cook as they cool.
How to freeze brownies
What I usually do is cut the thoroughly cooled brownies into individual pieces, wrap each one in plastic wrap (wrap them snugly), then with foil. Then I place each one in a freezer safe container or Ziploc bag.
When I’m ready to eat or serve them, I just bring them out and thaw at room temperature.
They’re good slightly chilled too — especially with ice cream — so sometimes I don’t even wait that long.
Brownies stored in the freezer will keep for 1-2 months.
How to cut brownies smoothly
If you want to give out brownies as presents for the holidays or serve them to company, you most definitely want to cut them in nice even squares.
The trick is to allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting. Even better, chill for an hour or so in the fridge.
Then use a warm knife (i.e. run the blade under hot running water then wipe dry) to cut. Remember to wipe the blade clean after each cut and run the blade under hot water again if needed.
I sometimes use my bench scraper too. And if I really want them even I bust out my baking ruler/decorating comb and do math.
Then eat, or share, it’s up to you!
I love making different kinds of brownies and this is the recipe that I always use as the base. I’ve used it making:
Here are examples of other variations you can explore:
- Leave out the chocolate chips and walnuts for a pure chocolate brownie
- Or add another kind of chocolate for a double chocolate treat
- Add peanut butter swirls for decadent peanut butter walnut brownies
- Or perhaps caramel for walnut caramel brownies
- Marshmallows are a fun addition too
- How about coconut for a more tropical flavour combo?
- Top your brownies with frosting or chocolate ganache
- Sprinkle with cocoa powder before serving
The possibilities are endless! Add your favourite things for the perfect bar every time.
Coffee makes the chocolate flavour stand out more but if you prefer to not have it in your brownies, you can substitute with the same amount of water.
There are several factors that result to cakey brownies:
– Too much flour. It’s best to measure your ingredients when baking (a kitchen scale is awesome and inexpensive). Accidentally adding too much flour will result to a more cakey brownie.
– Over-mixing the batter. Over-mixing can also result to a lighter, more cakey texture. You want to mix your brownie batter just until it’s incorporated. It’s also best to stir the batter by hand vs. using an electric mixer.
– Over-baking. You want to under-bake brownies a little, too, to get that gooey, fudgy centre. Baking it all the way through will make it more cakey than fudgy.
The main culprit of dry brownies is over-baking. You always want to under-bake than over-bake brownies because they will continue cooking in the pan as they cool.
Walnut brownies will keep for 3-5 days in a covered container on the counter. It will stay fresh for longer in the fridge.
Freezing is my favourite way to store them, though. Frozen brownies will keep up to 2 months.
Other quick and easy chocolate recipes
Looking for more chocolate treats? Try these:
- Double chocolate meringue cookies — crispy outside, chewy and chocolatey inside, light as a cloud.
- Chewy double chocolate chunk cookies — soft, decadent and chocolatey with huge chunks of dark chocolate.
- Chocolate brownie tart — soft, chewy filling and a delicious, brown butter crust.
- Grab and go breakfast that tastes like dessert? Yes, please! Chocolate peanut butter overnight oats is a great way to start the day.
- ¾ cup Dutch processed unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ⅔ cup unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled
- ½ cup espresso or strong coffee room temperature
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 2 pcs large eggs room temperature
- 1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- 5 oz dark chocolate chips
- 3.5 oz walnuts roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 325F. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper with slight overhang on each side. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk ¾ cup cocoa powder and ½ tsp baking soda. Whisk in ⅔ cup melted butter until smooth. Then whisk in ½ cup espresso until thick and incorporated.
- Add 1 ½ cups sugar, ½ cup brown sugar, 2 tsp vanilla, 2 eggs and a pinch of salt. Stir until shiny and smooth.
- Add 1 ⅓ cups flour, your chocolate chips and walnuts and gently stir until just combined. Don't overstir.
- Transfer the batter to your prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or just until the sides are starting to pull away from the pan and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with minimal crumbs.
- Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares.
Nutritional information are estimates only.
Did you make chocolate brownies with walnuts and chocolate chips? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.