How to Make “French” Brownies

This photograph is but a peek into the irretrievable past. How so? Because I’ve eaten all these already. Don’t judge me. I might even make them again this weekend. I’ll start by preheating my oven to 300 and preparing a baking pan as in the previous brownie recipe. Then I’ll combine my dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together to combine:

Next I’ll turn my attention to the raisins. I’ll put them in a small sauté pan over high heat and add the water.

Once they’re softened like so, I’ll flame them in the rum (not shown since I’d set my camera on fire).

Then I’ll melt the chocolate. I’ll break it up into pieces and microwave it for 20 second, stir it, and give it another ten seconds. I’ll stir for another 30 seconds or so, then zap it again for ten and so on, until it’s all melted.

The I’ll add the butter…

…and stir until it’s roughly smooth.

After that, it’ll be batter time. I’ll put the eggs and sugar together in the bowl of a mixer and beat on medium-high until they’re pale and frothy, about two minutes.

With the mixer on low I’ll add the chocolate mixture…

…and stir until a thick batter forms, about 30 seconds.

I’ll do the same with the dry ingredients…

…and I won’t worry that all the flour isn’t incorporated after 30 seconds.

Lastly I’ll fold in the raisins by hand, and in the process, incorporate the last of the flour.

Then I’ll scrape the batter into a pan.

I’ll bake it for 50 minutes to an hour, cool it on a rack, and lift the whole thing out by the foil. Lastly I’ll cut the brownies into two inch squares and eat them greedily. Yeah…that’s exactly what I’ll do. And I’ll have absolutely no regrets.

14 thoughts on “How to Make “French” Brownies”

  1. Joe, it just isn’t fair.

    I look up “Brownies” and I find all these gorgeous pictures, but no ingredient list or proportions. Sometimes I find your site kind of difficult.

    How am I supposed to make these gorgeous French Brownies?



    1. Ha! No worries. If you come by a post via google, you won’t get a recipe because I generally publish the recipes and the instructions at different times. Go to “Miscellaneous Desserts and Cookies” on the menu there on the left, click on “Brownies” and you’ll get two different recipes. Let me know if I can help in any other way! – Joe

  2. I hope you don’t mind but I used this reciepe for a chocolate contest.
    However, one thing did not happen as I suspected: the rum did not flame up, but instead the rum sat around the raisins, chillin’ like a villain.

    Also, I broke the cardinal rule of baking: I guesstimated. I do not have a scale so when you call for 6 ounces of chocolate, I just knew it was less than a cup. The results were….strange. I did not get that rich color but more of a light mocha color and it was very light and fluffy. It also crumbled when cut. However, it tasted delicious!

    So this 2nd place ribbon for the brownies is actually for you. Thanks for this great recipe.

    1. The credit all goes to you and Dorie Greenspan. Obviously you made fewer mistakes than you think — you won second place! Congratulations and keep up the outstanding work! – Joe

  3. These brownies were delicious, though the top was more crusty than yours looked, and it cracked when the brownies were cut. I’m not sure why that happened, but I know this is my new go-to recipe. Thank you!

    1. My pleasure, Charissa! Sounds like you’re getting some sugar rising up to the top (that’s what cracking crusts are…caramel essentially). You can cut back the sugar and/or turn down the oven a bit a bit if you prefer…that should help.

  4. Hi Joe,
    Last week, I tasted a brownie that I loved. The texture wasn’t too fudge-y, but a little bit airy although not cake-y, moist. If you saw it from the side, you would have thought it was a cake because it was thick and looked fluffy. It wasn’t too sweet; the top was almost caramelized- it tasted like burnt sugar.
    When I saw the directions here I thought they would be the best to recreate that brownie. Since I haven’t tried this recipe yet, can you tell me if this description fits these French brownies?
    Thanks a lot!

    1. French recipes are definitely more cake-like than other brownies. Definitely give them a try and let me know what you think. If they’re not cake-like enough let me know and I’ll help you adjust the recipe!

      – Joe

  5. I tried these and love them! However, I have a question. When I make them according to your recipe, the batter comes out much thinner than what your picture suggests. The batter levels itself out and spreads out, instead of being thick and needing to be spread as the photo suggests. And after an hour in the oven, though seemingly done (ie toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs on it) the center sinks down quite a bit. Still lovely texture and flavor, but I would prefer if the center did not settle so much, and wonder if I should be using more flour. I am weighing the flour, by the way.



    1. Hi Greg!

      Depending on the type of chocolate, the butter, or the amount of air whipped into the batter, the texture can change. Just so long as the end product is OK. 😉

      However if they really are sinking in the middle a little more flour is probably in order, to give them a bit more structural integrity. Let me know of that helps next time. Thanks for the note!

      – Joe

  6. Okay, a bit off the timeline here. I actually took a survey before making a desert pitting rice pudding against these brownies. Chocolate always wins in this house. I should really stop asking and just reward myself with a good batch of rice pudding and be done.

    You commented about the amount of air in the batter. What is the risk of over mixing this recipe?

    Last time I made these there was no flambé as prescribed. Is it out of bounds to re-hydrate the raisins by soaking in dark rum for a few weeks?

    1. It’s certainly not our of bounds to soak raisins in rum. Not around here, anyway. As for the over mixing, it’s not air so much as gluten which makes the brownies tougher. So go easy there if you can.

      I’m planning a little rice pudding myself today. I’ll post it if I can!

      – Joe

      1. Nice. You may surmise from my post that the raisins have already been soaking for some weeks. I will still plump them up in a skilled as that does seem to do a nice trick with making the skin texture non-existent once cooked inside the brownies. Sweet little landmines hiding in the chocolate. There are worse surprises in life.

        1. Sweet and with a punch! I’ll have to try that sometime!

          Thanks for the tip!

          – Joe

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