Why It Works
- Muscovado sugar adds extra moisture and a complex flavor with notes of molasses and toffee.
- Thickly whipped eggs lighten the batter for brownies that are fudgy and not overly dense.
- Cocoa powder reduces the need for flour, making the brownies especially flavorful and tender.
These brownies are fudgy and rich and covered with sparkling strands of crystallized ginger, which provide a contrasting textural chew. But what makes them particularly exceptional is a delicate blend of fragrant spices that evoke the flavors of wintertime. Infused with ginger, cardamom, coriander, allspice, nutmeg, and clove, this sumptuous chocolate treat is warm and woody, spicy and sweet.
First things first—chocolate. I recommend using chocolate with a cacao content of about 70% (see some of our favorite supermarket brands under the “dark chocolate” section here). This delivers a deep chocolatey flavor that isn’t overly sweet. While it might be tempting to reach for a bag of chips, it’s worth it to splurge on a quality bar. Unlike chocolate bars, chips tend to have added stabilizers which can impede their ability to melt properly and leave a gritty texture once cooled.
Chocolate is naturally acidic which is why I opt for Dutch process cocoa powder. Sometimes called “European style” cocoa powder, this unsweetened type has been processed with an alkalizing agent which scales down its natural acidity, making it less bitter. Dutched cocoa creates a cleaner chocolate flavor, fudgier texture, and adds that characteristic rich dark brown coloring highly admired in chocolate desserts.
A substantial and effective dose of spices is necessary in order to stand out against chocolate’s strong and encompassing flavor. Ginger, bright and peppery, is the lead flavor and utilized in powdered, fresh, and crystallized forms. It adds a gentle zesty heat to every bite. Coriander contributes a citrusy flavor, cardamom adds a crisp piney essence, and woody notes are supplied by a trio of allspice, nutmeg, and clove. This complex blend of spices complements the rich chocolate and adds a warmth that’s redolent of frosty months.
As Stella explains in her Glossy Fudge Brownies recipe, the most vital step for achieving fudgy brownies is whipping the eggs until thick, fluffy, and pale. Certain elements, such as temperature and mixer horsepower, can affect the amount of time it takes to whip the eggs, so keep an eye out on the visual cues rather than a strict timeline.
I know it’s not easy, but give the brownies at least 30 minutes to cool after they come out of the oven. This resting period amplifies the fudginess and gives the brownies, which will appear puffed at first, time to settle and level out.
This winter-worthy treat is guaranteed to enchant your senses and satisfy any chocolate craving.
- 6 ounces (about 1 1/2 sticks; 170g) unsalted butter
- 3 ounces (about 1/2 cup; 85g) finely chopped dark chocolate, about 70%
- 7 ounces (about 1 cup; 200g) granulated sugar
- 1 ounce (2 tablespoons; 30g) dark muscovado sugar (see note)
- 3 large eggs, straight from the fridge
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder, such as Medaglia d’Oro (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
- 2 1/4 ounces (1/2 cup; 65g) all-purpose flour
- 2 ounces (about 3/4 cup; 60g) Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 3/4 ounces (1/2 cup; 50g) crystallized ginger, thinly sliced
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350°F (180°C). Line an 8-inch square anodized aluminum baking pan with foil to cover the bottom and two sides, leaving overhang on the sides. If you like, grease lightly with pan spray.
In a small stainless steel saucier, melt butter over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally with a heat-resistant spatula. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and stir in chocolate; the mixture will seem quite thin. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine granulated sugar, muscovado sugar, eggs, vanilla, grated ginger, ground ginger, salt, coriander, allspice, nutmeg, instant espresso (if using), cardamom, and clove. Whip on medium-high until extremely thick and fluffy, about 8 minutes. (The whipping time can vary significantly depending on bowl size, batter temperature, and mixer wattage, so use the visual cues as your primary guide.)
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, sift together flour and cocoa powder. When the egg mixture is fluffy and thick, reduce speed to low and pour in the warm chocolate-butter mixture. Once it is incorporated, add flour-cocoa mixture all at once and continue mixing until roughly combined. Finish with a flexible spatula, scraping and folding to ensure batter is well mixed from the bottom up.
Pour into prepared pan and tap firmly on the counter to even out the batter. Top with an even layer of crystallized ginger. Bake until brownies are glossy and just barely firm, about 35 minutes, or to an internal temperature of 205°F (96°C). (Take care that the probe is inserted at a sharp angle to avoid touching the bottom of the pan.) The timing of this recipe is based on anodized aluminum and will vary significantly with glass, ceramic, or nonstick pans, materials that will also affect the brownies' consistency.
Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool so that the crumb of the brownies can set, about 30 minutes. Slide a butter knife between the brownies and the sides of the pan that aren’t lined with foil; gently tug on the foil, then lift to remove the brownies from the pan. Cut into sixteen 2-inch squares. Serve or transfer to an airtight container with a sheet of wax paper between layers, and store for up to 1 week at room temperature.
8-inch square anodized aluminum pan, stand mixer
Make-Ahead and Storage
Stored in an airtight container, with a sheet of wax paper between the layers, the brownies will keep about 1 week at room temperature.
Muscovado sugar is sold in many grocery stores; we prefer it for its rich molasses flavor and moisture content. If you cannot find muscovado sugar, dark brown sugar is a great substitute.