Small Batch Brownies (Loaf Pan Brownies)
When you’re craving chewy, fudgy brownies but only baking for two, Small Batch Brownies are the answer! They’re made with all cocoa powder and baked in a loaf pan with shiny, cracked tops.
I’ve been working on a list of how to reduce your favorite recipes into smaller serving sizes.
Desserts are a challenge to make small batch because baking is a science.
Anything with eggs is the hardest because how *do* you cut an egg in half? You either have to use part of the egg or increase some of the dry ingredients (usually flour) to balance out the extra liquid.
That’s why I’m here to help you out.
Today’s small batch recipe is Small Batch Brownies made in a loaf pan. AKA Loaf Pan Brownies.
I first published this recipe in October 2017 when I did a lot of experimenting to get the best fudgy brownie recipe for two.
This small batch brownie recipe needed to be chewy and fudgy with shiny, cracked tops.
Plus I didn’t want to take the extra time to frost them. I wanted them to be ready to serve straight from the loaf pan. Just bake and eat.
Ingredients For Small Batch Brownies
To make your small batch of brownies, you’ll need the following basic pantry ingredients:
- Butter: Make sure you’re using butter and not a substitute like margarine
- Cocoa powder: Use unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- Sugar: As tempting as it may be, do not reduce the amount or you won’t get shiny, cracked tops
- Salt: Makes sure your loaf pan brownies aren’t bland
- Egg: Use a standard large egg
- Vanilla: Makes chocolate taste even better
- Flour: Used to thicken the batter
In the mood for peanut butter? Check out my Small Batch Peanut Butter Brownies, also baked in a loaf pan.
How To Make Small Batch Brownies
To start your small brownie recipe, first preheat your oven to 350F then grease and line a 9×5 loaf pan with parchment paper.
In a large saucepan, melt your butter then whisk in your sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. At this point it’ll look thick and grainy, but don’t panic.
Next, whisk in your egg and vanilla, which will smooth and moisten your batter.
Switch to a rubber spatula (so the batter doesn’t get stuck in the whisk) and stir in your flour and any mix-ins you’re using such as walnuts or chocolate chips.
Transfer your brownie batter to the loaf pan, spread it into an even layer, then bake until the edges pull away from the sides and the center doesn’t look wet, about 18-20 minutes.
Be careful you don’t overbake your small batch brownies. Otherwise, they’ll be more cakey than fudgy.
Cool to room temperature then remove from the pan. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
If they’re sticking to the pan (especially if you used chocolate chips), chances are they’re too warm and/or underbaked. Refrigerate them until cold, bring to room temperature, then try again.
How To Get Crackly Top On Brownies
The answer to how to get shiny, cracked tops on your small brownie recipe? Sugar.
Probably not the answer you were expecting, right?
I accidentally discovered this when I tried reducing it. One cup seems like a lot, but when I used less sugar, the tops were dull, not cracked, and more bitter than sweet (because the balance of cocoa and sugar were off, so you were tasting more cocoa than sugar).
Here are the different ways I experimented:
- As you see written in this post with the exception of being really thin. I wanted them slightly thicker, so I made minor adjustments to the ingredients.
- Reduced the sugar to cut back on sweetness. I ended up with dull and bitter brownies.
- Back to what you see written in this post. Except they were too underbaked and stuck to the pan.
- Which meant I made another batch of the same brownies and made sure to bake them longer. They are still a little on the thin side, but they are rich, so less is more.
- I used melted unsweetened chocolate as a substitute for the cocoa powder. They work in a pinch, but the cocoa brownies were far superior in texture.
Five batches of fudgy brownies later and we have our winner. Go with all cocoa powder and don’t be scared of sugar.
How many servings does small batch brownies make?
I was struggling with how many serving sizes brownies in a loaf pan make.
If you cut them into large bakery-sized squares, you get 3, maybe 2 if you’re feeling generous.
If you cut them into triangles, you get 6.
If you cut them into small squares, you get 8.
If you’re having a bad day, you get 1.
You can serve them as dessert when making Super Bowl food for two. If you’re really creative, you can decorate them as footballs.
If you’re looking for literally two servings, check out my Brownies For Two baked in ramekins.
Can’t eat flour? Check out Gluten Free Brownies by Meaningful Eats.
More Loaf Pan Recipes
Enjoyed this small batch brownie recipe? Check out these other recipes made in a loaf pan:
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup granulated sugar (do not reduce or you won't have shiny, cracked tops)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (preferably kosher)
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9x5 loaf pan and line with parchment paper.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in sugar, cocoa powder, and salt (batter will be thick and somewhat grainy).
- Whisk in the egg and vanilla. Batter should be smooth and moistened.
- Switch to a rubber spatula and stir in the flour and walnuts/chocolate chips if using.
- Spread into the pan. Bake 18-20 minutes or until the edges pull away from the sides and the center doesn't look wet. Do not overbake or they won't be fudgy.
- Cool to room temperature then remove from the pan. If brownies stick, refrigerate until cold, bring back to room temperature, then try again.
Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
- In the mood for peanut butter brownies? Check out my recipe for Small Batch Peanut Butter Brownies.
- Want literally two servings? Check out my Brownies For Two in ramekins.
- To make Brownie Ice Cream, follow the directions for my German chocolate ice cream using 4 ounces semisweet chocolate. Instead of adding frosting, add about half a pan of chopped brownies.
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