Learn how to make amazing Crinkle Top Brownies from scratch. We conducted an experiment to find out what makes the ultimate fudgy, shiny top brownie. You won’t believe what we discovered! Hint: the smallest things can make the biggest difference.
The shiniest Crinkle Top Brownie I ever did see ❤️
If you’ve ever wanted to know how to make the perfect brownie with a fudgy, chocolate-laden middle and a crispy, flakey top – keep reading. Today, I’m sharing everything I know.
I know how to make a good fudgy brownie, but I also know that sometimes that signature crinkly top can be a bit hit and miss – even if you’re using the same recipe.
So I conducted an experiment to see what really makes a difference when trying to make a shiny top brownie. Not only did I learn how to make THE crinkliest brownie ever, but I’ll be sharing all my tips for the perfect 8-inch shiny top brownie below.
This week I was on a mission. I wanted to learn what really makes a Crinkle Top Brownie. You know the one, with a fudgy middle and a sparkling, shiny top.
So I took my favourite Small Batch Brownie recipe, which makes one 6-inch brownie and made it three times. The same ingredients, in the same pan, baked at the same temperature, for the same amount of time.
I wanted to test the theory that the crinkle top on a brownie is not just about the ingredients, but also about the technique. We know that the crinkly top is a little layer of meringue crafted from the sugar and eggs.
This is why caster sugar or granulated sugar works better in brownies than brown sugar. Because of its molasses content, brown sugar typically adds chewiness to baked goods, while caster sugar lends itself to crispness.
But this is what I wanted to know:
Does it make a difference if you whisk the eggs and sugar before adding them to the batter?
Does it make a difference if you add chocolate chips? (more sugar = more meringue)
Does it make a difference if you do both?
Let’s find out.
This basic brownie recipe is made using just a handful of ingredients. Real dark chocolate is melted together with butter and added to the batter, along with cocoa powder for an extra chocolate kick. And in the third experiment, I also added chocolate chips. Here’s what you will need for a classic brownie:
- Unsalted butter
- Dark chocolate: I used dark chocolate which was 45% cocoa. I recommend using good quality dark chocolate between 45-70% cocoa.
- Caster sugar: Or granulated sugar.
- Plain flour: Or all purpose flour.
- Cocoa powder: I recommend using unsweetened, 100% natural cocoa.
- Chocolate chips: I used milk chocolate chips for this experiment.
For test one, I followed my Small Batch Brownie recipe to make one 6-inch brownie. I used the traditional brownie method – first, melting the butter and dark chocolate together, then whisking in the sugar and eggs. Before finally adding the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
The brownie was baked for 30 minutes at 180 C (350 F) standard / 160 C (320 F) fan-forced.
RESULT: The brownie had a fudgy middle and a mildly flakey top. It wasn’t overly crinkly, so there was definitely room to improve. It tasted fab – of course.
This time, we followed the exact same recipe as test 1. The only thing we changed was whisking together the sugar and eggs briefly, before adding them to the melted butter and chocolate. All measurements were kept the same, including the baking temperature and time.
RESULT: Brownie 2 had considerably more wrinkles and crinkles. It was also slightly thicker, but still maintained a lovely fudgy middle.
VERDICT: Whisking the sugar and eggs together by hand (just for 20-30 seconds) before adding them to the butter and chocolate makes a BIG difference in creating a shiny top brownie.
For the last test, we followed the exact same recipe as test 2, whisking the eggs and sugar first, but we also added a handful of chocolate chips. The theory is that the higher the sugar content, the more crinkly the brownie – since the layer on top is technically a thin layer of meringue.
RESULT: This brownie was undoubtedly the SHINIEST brownie of all! It had a super flakey, wrinkly top and a fudgy middle. It was also the thickest brownie – and easily the best tasting too!
VERDICT: Chocolate chips absolutely help to make a crinkly top brownie.
so what makes a crinkly top brownie?
- A good brownie recipe: One that uses real melted chocolate in the batter is ideal for creating a fudgy, crinkly top brownie.
- Using caster sugar: Caster or granulated sugar dissolves easily and helps give baked goods crispy, crunchy texture, while brown sugar adds moisture and chewiness.
- Whisking the eggs and sugar first: Taking a few seconds to whisk the eggs and sugar by hand first helps to encourage an extra shiny top.
- Adding chocolate chips: A little extra sugar helps make a truly crinkly top brownie.
The best crinkly top brownie recipes
Here are my favourite brownie recipes that result in shiny tops and fudgy chocolate middles. I have a recipe for small batch and big batch brownies, and below I’m sharing my recipe for a classic medium-sized brownie.
- Small Batch Brownies: This recipe makes a 6-inch or 9 by 5-inch brownie that will serve 4-6 people.
- Big Batch Brownies: This recipe makes a large 9 by 13-inch brownie that makes roughly 20-24 brownies.
- Crinkle Top Brownie recipe (below): This recipe will make a classic 8-inch brownie that will serve 12 people. You can use an 8-inch square or round pan.
more brownie recipes
The BEST shiny, Crinkle Top Brownies.
- 200 grams (1 cup) caster sugar or granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 115 grams (1/2 cup or 1 stick) unsalted butter
- 200 grams (1 and 1/3 cup) dark chocolate (45-70% cocoa), broken into pieces
- 70 grams (1/2 cup) plain flour or all purpose flour
- 20 grams (1/4 cup) cocoa powder, sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 75 grams (1/2 cup) chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F) standard / 160 C (320 F) fan-forced. Grease and line an 8-inch square or round baking pan with baking or parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, add sugar and eggs. Whisk together by hand for 30 seconds or so, just until creamy and combined.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, add butter and dark chocolate. Heat in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted and smooth.
- Add melted chocolate and butter to egg mixture. Whisk by hand until smooth.
- Add flour, cocoa powder and salt. Stir gently using a spatula until a thick, smooth brownie batter forms. Gently stir through chocolate chips.
- Pour brownie batter into prepared pan and smooth out into one even layer. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until shiny on top. Brownie should no longer wobble in the middle and a toothpick inserted into the centre should come out almost clean.
- Leave brownie in pan to cool completely. Then cut into small squares to serve. You can store brownies at room temperature or in the fridge. They also freeze really well.
Dark chocolate: I recommend using a good quality chocolate (that’s nice enough to enjoy on its own) that’s somewhere between 45-70% cocoa. Note that these brownies aren’t overly sweet, so I usually use a 45% cocoa chocolate.
Cocoa powder: I recommend using unsweetened cocoa powder. Dutch processed cocoa will work as well.
Measurements: I highly recommend using a baking scale when making this recipe for best results. Because we are working with such a small quantity of batter, adding just a little extra flour and/or cocoa powder can really alter the results.