Homemade Cosmic Brownies
When I was in elementary school I was always jealous of the kids who had store bought treats in their lunches. Especially Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies. I mean how can a kid resist thick and chewy brownies covered in fudge and topped with bright crunchy candies? They can’t. Sometimes I traded parts of my lunch just to get a half of one. Sad, but true. Shhh…don’t tell my mom ;) Anyway, since Stephen is always begging me to make brownies (and only brownies) I decided I’d do something different. He’s always going on about how I should make things and cover them in a fudgy ganache, so these brownies seemed perfect. To get things started, you’ll need to line a 9×13 inch pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray it with baking spray. The size of the pan will help create the perfect thickness and the sprayed foil will prevent the brownies from sticking- plus it makes getting them out of the pan so easy, just lift and remove, cut and serve! Once the pan is prepped it’s on to the brownie. Using a combination of both regular sugar and brown sugar will help keep these brownies extra moist. Beat the sugars along with the butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. This not only helps the sugar to dissolve but also helps create a soft and chewy texture. The addition of two eggs also keeps these brownies nice and dense. And if you’re like me, dense brownies are the best brownies!
Now on to the dry ingredients. I used all-purpose flour and natural unsweetened cocoa powder. I’ve actually made these brownies with a special dark cocoa and a Dutch cocoa, but they do not taste like Little Debbie Brownies. If rich and dark is your thing, go for it. If you’re looking for an exact copycat, stick with the natural! I played around with the recipe a bit and decided that a little bit of cornstarch helped give these brownies the perfect texture. It helped make them more fudge-like. In my opinion, it’s absolutely necessary so don’t be tempted to ditch it! Most of my brownie recipes don’t include baking powder but for this particular one it helps lift these ever so slightly. Add a pinch of salt to enhance the flavor of the chocolate, whisk everything together and incorporate it along with the milk. Spread these into the prepared pan, put them in the oven to bake and then let them cool. Whip up the ganache, pour over the top and sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle!
Let these babies cool until the ganache has set and dig in! You won’t believe how good they are! We ate one after another and still wanted more! It’s a good thing this recipe makes 24 brownies, because we were hooked! They got the stamp of approval from Stephen and from several other Little Debbie obsessed taste testers. I couldn’t be happier! Enjoy and happy baking!
- 1¼ c. all-purpose flour
- ¾ c. natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 c. sugar
- ⅔ c. brown sugar
- ¾ c. (1½ sticks) butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbsp. whole milk
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Fudge Ganache:
- 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ c. milk chocolate chips
- ½ c. heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking dish with foil and lightly spray with baking spray such as Pam, set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat melted butter, sugars and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated.
- In a medium size mixing bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cornstarch, and salt. With mixing speed on low, alternate adding dry ingredients and milk. Mix just until combined.
- Remove bowl from stand and pour batter into prepared pan. The batter will be thick, so using a rubber spatula, spread into an even layer. Place in oven and bake for 18-25 minutes (I live in high altitude so my bars tend to bake quicker). The brownies will be done, so do not over-bake or you will have dry brownies! Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan.
- Meanwhile to prepare the ganache, in a 2 c. glass measuring cup, combine chocolate chips and heavy cream. Microwave on half powder (mine is usually power 10, so I did 5) for one minute, stir, then repeat. Stir chocolate until all of the chips are melted and it becomes smooth. Beat for 1 minute and then pour over the top of the brownies. Spread evenly and sprinkle with desired toppings. Serve warm or cold.
Recipe Source: adapted from Elle's New England Kitchen, Cosmic Brownies