These brownies were developed in my kitchen over time but made their way into my official Holiday baking list in 2016 when I had brought them to several holiday events that year and they were the first baked good completely gone from my platter at each event. I am so excited to finally share this recipe! You may be wondering why they’re called Christmas Brownies since they’re not sparkling in red and green sprinkles, nor do they look all that festive but once you see the ingredient list, you’ll know exactly why. These brownies are rich! They are loaded with the good stuff, are indulgent and that’s why they only come around once a year-on Christmas, of course.
Christmas brownies have a lot going on but they’re relatively easy to make. They begin in a bowl over boiling water with melted butter and a dark, rich chocolate. Add some sugar, more chocolate, and if you choose, some nuts of your choice (I prefer walnuts) and you have an incredible, universally liked dessert for your next holiday party. They also make the perfect homemade gift and who doesn’t love a great brownie!? They are crispy on top with a cake-like bottom and have the most perfect ooey-gooey center. The texture of these brownies is not like any other brownie I’ve ever baked or eaten and they are sure to impress.
Here are some helpful pointers to make these the best brownies:
The quality of your ingredients will make all the difference here and I prefer to use a semisweet, darker chocolate that is at least 63% cacao or higher. Lindt, Ghirardelli, and Guittard are great choices that can easily be found at the grocery store. I used a mix of Lindt and Guittard for these this year.
Choose a good, high quality pure vanilla extract for these. This recipe calls for one and a half tablespoons of vanilla and that’s a good amount. Vanilla bean paste works well too. Some vanilla brands I enjoy are Nielsen Massey, Rodelle, and Taylor & Colledge.
A Dutch processed cocoa works best for this recipe and I recommend Rodelle’s Baker’s Cocoa. Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa is a great, affordable option as well.
There’s no denying these brownies have a fairly good amount of butter, sugar, eggs, and chocolate but I believe in balance and moderation and the Holiday season is the perfect time to enjoy something sweet. I bake these in a 9 x 13 pan and after they cool, I trim the edges and cut them into 1-inch by 1-inch pieces which are perfect for feeding a crowd. If you decide to cut them into this size, expect to have 45 to 48 brownies.
To store, place brownies in an airtight container for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. They also freeze really well.
Let’s get to baking!
3 sticks unsalted butter
8 ounces semisweet chocolate (60-70%), chopped or broken into pieces
6 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
1 ½ tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1 11.5-ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper and set aside. The parchment paper will help lift brownies from the pan so they can be cut evenly and not break apart.
Boil water in small to medium pot. Remove from heat. Place a heat safe bowl over pot and melt butter and chocolate, whisking occasionally until smooth. Allow to cool. In a small bowl, whisk eggs until they are lemon colored and a thicker consistency. Whisk eggs into chocolate and butter mixture. Slowly add sugar and whisk until fully incorporated, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in vanilla extract. Whisk in flour and cocoa. Using a spatula, gently fold in chocolate chips and nuts.
Bake brownies for 40 to 45 minutes. Make sure not to overbake. The top of brownies will look slightly crispy and may crackle to the touch but have the appearance of looking slightly under-baked. This is okay! Remove brownies from oven and allow to cool completely. When cooled, lift parchment paper on either end of baking pan to remove brownies. Place on a cutting board. Trim edges (save for munching!) and cut in 1-inch rows across and length-wise.