Fudgy Sea Salt Brownies

Sea Salt Brownies 

Since becoming a food blogger, I seem to analyze every dessert item I put into my mouth. At any given meal I think- “Could I recreate this?” “Is that dark chocolate?” “How is this cake so fluffy?”  Sometimes I come across something so delicious that I have to keep buying it out until I figure out how to recreate it.

What am I talking about you may ask? Well yes- the Sea Salt Brownie Bites from Trader Joes. I’m obsessed. I always throw a container into my cart and often times have made a serious dent in them before I even get to checkout. (Oops.) So you are probably not surprised that I had made it my mission to recreate something as similar as possible.

Sea Salt Brownies

I didn’t really think I could make a version of my favorite bite-sized treats that I loved more than the original, but boy was I wrong. These are in a whole other league from the store bought ones. Really they are just amazing, dark chocolate, fudgy brownies that are kicked up a notch with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt.

These dark chocolate brownies have perfectly crisp edges, a fudgy center, and just enough bits of flaky sea salt to make them truly out of this world. 

Ingredients needed for Sea Salt Brownies:

  • Unsalted Butter
  • White Sugar
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • Dark Chocolate Bar
  • Vanilla
  • Eggs
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Cornstarch
  • Flaky Salt

Supplies needed for Sea Salt Brownies:

  • Parchment Paper,
  • 8×8 square baking dish
  • Large bowl

The Process:

This recipe only uses one bowl but it also acts as a double boiler so make sure it’s heat resistant. (I prefer a glass bowl!) Place it on top of a pan of simmering water over medium heat to create a double boiler. The pot should only have about an inch of water in it and it shouldn’t touch the pot.

Add your butter and dark chocolate into the bowl and stir to melt. Once it begins to melt add the sugar and cocoa powder. Then remove from heat, cool slightly and add the eggs and dry ingredients. Spread the brownie batter into a prepared pan evenly. Bake in a preheated oven until a cake tester comes back with moist crumbs and cool to room temperature before cutting.

Reasons why this is my favorite brownie recipe:

The whole thing is made in one bowl and I’m a sucker for fewer dirty dishes

They have the perfect fudgy texture while also have a crisp chewiness on the edges.

The use of flakey salt adds the perfect balance & salty touch.

Sea Salt Brownies

What if I don’t have any dark chocolate? Can I use chocolate chips or unsweetened chocolate?

I love suggesting substitutes in recipes because I always need to use them myself, but in this case I suggest getting some dark chocolate. If you use chocolate with more or less sugar you risk the brownies being too sweet or not sweet enough. Dark chocolate is perfect in this recipe.

Tip for making these Sea Salt Brownies lift easily and effortlessly from the pan:

Line a square baking pan with alternating pieced of parchment paper with a 2-inch overhang on each side. They lift out perfectly!

Sea Salt Brownies

Where to find sea salt flakes? What if I don’t have any?

My favorite is Maldon Sea Salt which you can find in many grocery stores or on Amazon. It adds an amazing touch but if you can’t find it you can use kosher salt which is usually a bit more coarse.

 This recipe doesn’t contain baking powder or soda. Is that a mistake?

Nope! The lack of keeps these brownies extra chewy and fudgy.

What type of cocoa powder should I use?

I used a mix of regular and black cocoa powder in this recipe. I love the deep color and flavor derived from dutch process or black cocoa, but didn’t want them pitch black so mixed in regular cocoa powder too. Any type will work for this recipe.

Other brownie recipes I love: Coconut Cream Cheese Brownies, Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies, Fudgy Date Brownies

Fudgy Sea Salt Brownies

Fudgy Sea Salt Brownies

Yield: 16 brownies

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chopped into cubes
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 ounces 70% cocoa dark chocolate bar, chopped, or dark chocolate chips
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, cold
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • flaky sea salt for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 325°F with a rack in the bottom third of the oven.
  2. Place the butter in a large heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water (makeshift double boiler). When it begins to melt, add the sugar, cocoa powder and chocolate bar. Stir occasionally until the butter and chocolate have completely melted and mixture is homogenous and glossy–it may still appear a bit grainy.
  3. Remove the bowl from the pot let it cool slightly.
  4. Add the vanilla and stir. Then add each egg, one at a time, mixing well with a whisk after each to completely incorporate it.
  5. Sprinkle the flour, cornstarch and salt over the batter, and mix until they are completely combined. Continue to mix for another minute to ensure the mixture is smooth, but don't over mix. The batter will be very thick but glossy & smooth.
  6. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle generously with sea salt. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out covered with a few moist crumbs. Mine took about 35 minutes.
  7. Allow the brownies to cool slightly then lift the sides of parchment to remove the brownies from the pan. Slice and serve warm, room temperature or cold- they are amazing every way!

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

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53 Comments

  1. Nicola Quinn says:

    These brownie bites look so dense and fudgy – love it!

  2. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    Yum!! These look so fabulous!

  3. Looks like I have to go get some flaky sea salt. I’ve seen these at my Trader Joe’s and never picked them up, but holy smokes these look fantastic.

  4. carolyn bradford says:

    WOW!! These look amazing! I can’t wait to try them! I’ve missed reading all of your great posts! So glad I saw this one!
    Carolyn Bradford

  5. Um, I can’t even handle that picture – the center looks so FUDGY OOEY GOOEY! Must make.

  6. Ooo, now I want to go to TJ’s and try these brownie bites. Haven’t had them yet but your version looks amazing!

  7. fabulous looking bites and I love any of those little “bites” that TJs sell..those little plastic cartons are dangerous :)

  8. I’ve never been to Trader Joe’s but I keep reading about it. It kind of makes me jealous, haha. But because I’ve never been there, I’ve never heard of these brownies. But just looking at your pictures makes me want to eat several. I love fudgy insides! :D

  9. I love mini brownies! Brownies are my all time favorite dessert, and if they are mini, I can eat more!

  10. No Trader Joe’s here in the UK but I keep hearing about it too. These look so fantastic. The photos look amazing, loving the sea salt popping out. Can’t wait to try these so I know in some ways what you’re talking about.

  11. I love salty and sweet combinations plus mini-sized desserts (I don’t feel as guilty). I can’t wait to try these out!

  12. Bite-sized foods are always more fun to eat! Although I’m sure it’s just as dangerous. I could eat a million of these and not feel full.

  13. Haha! I so know what you mean about the analyzing of baked goods, but since I cook so often I do the same thing with EVERYTHING I eat. It’s bittersweet. But, I’m going to Spain and France soon so it will be doubly hard to control with all the amazing food options! Thanks for sharing these brownie bites – Love the sweet saltiness of them!

  14. GENIUS! This one’s a keeper! Bookmarking these delicious brownie bites now..,hallelujah!

  15. Stelly Jalai says:

    hey Audra, it’s Stella!!!!!! Love what you make, and miss you!!!!!

  16. I made these yesterday to bring to a cookout. Wow!! They are delish, and easy. Glad for the warning that things will look a little grainy. I got concerned when I started adding the eggs since the batter looked “broken”, but I pushed through. Things smoothed out as soon as I added the flour. They were a big hit, and I love the fact that every single one has crispy chewy edges. I don’t think I’ll ever make a pan of brownies again. This is my new go-to brownie recipe! Thanks for all your wonderful ideas!

  17. I made these about a week ago and they were really good. I ended up only making 1/3 of the recipe because I didn’t need 36 brownie bites, but 12 was the perfect number. The only thing is I don’t think I have your affinity for salty/sweet combos. I took a bite and it was much to salty for my prefrence, but the brownie itself was really nice! :)

  18. Yummmm! Made these yesterday. Got rave reviews and had three people ask for the recipe!
    Thank you!

  19. Have you ever tried to add caramel to them?

  20. I just came upon this recipe and it looks delicious. How much salt do you add to the batter?

  21. okay, these look AMAZING! we must have the same taste, because i love those at traders and now i can make them!! can’t wait to try them. thanks!
    xo
    http:www.chaseandem.blogspot.com

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  23. I just wanna say, I came across this recipe awhile ago and have made it many, many times (never in bite-size form, though), and they’re the BEST brownies EVER. I haven’t even tried any other recipes since I found this one because it is perfection. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

  24. Vickie S. says:

    I’m kind of new to your fantastic blog, so this is the first time I’ve seen this recipe and I will definitely make it. But I have a question – why should the eggs be cold? All my life I’ve made sure all the ingredients are at room temp. I know there must be a good reason for the cold eggs, just can’t figure it out!

    1. I am not exactly sure why they need to be cold, but I’m guessing it is because the chocolate mixture is still warm at that point, and mixing the eggs in cold helps neutralize the batter.

      It was a selling point in the original recipe I adapted from and I never changed it because these were so perfect :)

      1. Vickie S. says:

        Ok then! Thanks so much and I appreciate your quick reply! Happy baking!

  25. Audra, which cocoa and chocolate do you like to use in these? Thanks!

    1. Hi! I used 70% dark chocolate and Dutch process cocoa powder :)

      1. Thanks! Droste is my go-to Dutch-processed so will use that. But as for the chocolate, do you use a baking bar like ghirardelli or eating chocolate? Do you mind saying which brand of 70% you like for this?

        1. I used Green & Black 70% dark choc for these but usually use whatever I can find ;)

  26. Kayla sanders says:

    Hey where do you buy your flaky sea salt?

    1. Kayla I got this stuff from Trader Joes! In the past though- I’ve used Maldon brand a lot! :)

  27. Audra – Quick question: how could I substitute 60% bittersweet chocolate for the 70% listed in the recipe?

  28. Although they are a bit harder to “pry” out of the mini muffin pans, I have always thought that idea was ingenious. I will probably continue to make them that way because I pop them out, throw them in a freezer bag, and always have a stash ready to defrost. We take them to the lake all the time.

  29. I made these the other day. I found them to have too much butter in them, which is something I’ve never said about a baked good, ha! My batter had an oily texture, and once the brownies were cool, they were tongue-coatingly buttery. If I made these again I might just use 1.5 sticks of butter, or maybe even 1.

  30. I made these today and they are incredible! Sooooo chocolatey and luscious. My only issue was mine came out a bit too crumbly and fell apart more than I would like. Any idea why that might have happened?

    Thank you for the recipe – it is sure to become a favorite!

    1. Hmm- maybe you over-baked a bit? Or over mixed the batter?

  31. I had brownies pregnancy craving!! Made them on saturday! omg!!! they get better everyday! loved them!!

  32. This is by far the best brownies recipe I’ve ever made! Thank you so much for the recipe!

  33. These sound amazing!

    I was wondering a couple of things, 1) is these away I can melt the chocolate another way with out the double boiler or make shift double boiler? Can I just melt the chocolate in a pot or even in the microwave? 2) Die you use regular or dark coco powder?

  34. Do you think it’s possible to sub most of the cocoa powder with the baking chocolate since I don’t have powder on hand? Thanks!

  35. These are the best brownies I’ve ever had including from a bakery! I found them when I was searching for a recipe to recreate the TJ’s sea salt brownies you referenced. The recipe wasn’t too salty as one person mentioned. I think the key is using big salt crystals for the top and that Dutch processed cocoa powder you recommended made such a difference!! Thank
    You so much for taking the time to create this recipe!! Incredible!!!

  36. Christine says:

    Oh, thank you for this recipe! I just went to Trader Joe’s and got these sea salt brownie bites and KNEW I had to make them at home!

    I don’t have all the ingredients, but I will be making YOUR recipe as soon as I can!!!

    Thank you!

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