What type of brownie person are you? A fudgy fan, chewy supporter or cake-like brownie admirer. We tested three Mary Berry Chocolate Brownies, and she has a recipe for every preference. We'll help you to decide which one is best for you.
We are going heavy on chocolate in this post as we decided to try not just one but three Mary Berry brownies.
Chocolate brownies are among the most beloved desserts in the UK, side-by-side with sticky toffee pudding and Victoria sponge. Although brownies are an American invention, they surely deserve space in any English recipe collection for their popularity.
Mary Berry Chocolate Brownies - Which Recipe to Choose?
With the internet flooded with recipes, deciding which one to choose can be overwhelming. Turning to a renowned chef may be a reliable alternative in an attempt to find the best foolproof chocolate brownies.
But as it happens, even chefs like Mary Berry don't make it easy, as they often have multiple variations for the same recipe. From a quick look in Google, I can see at least three versions of the Mary Berry brownie recipe.
- Chocolate Brownies from thehappyfoodie.co.uk
- Best Ever Chocolate Brownies from independent.co.uk
- Ultimate Chocolate Brownies from maryberry.co.uk
It was an excellent opportunity to put all three recipes to the test. We looked closely at the ingredients, their ratios and the cost of each recipe. We followed the instructions to the very detail and (happily) taste-tested the brownies to the last crumb.
Spoiler: The recipes vary from each other, we liked all of them for different reasons, but there was one we 'ultimately' fell in love with.
Ingredients under the review
As with every recipe, our quest starts with the ingredient list. Checking the ingredients first gives valuable clues about what to expect.
There are generally two main types of brownies - those containing cocoa powder and those asking for melted chocolate. That's the case for Mary Berry recipes, also.
- The Chocolate Brownie recipe asks for more basic ingredients, likely staples in everyone's pantry - like cocoa powder (I'm a big fan of quick, easy recipes).
- The Best Ever Chocolate Brownies, on the other hand, look more decadent. They have the most extended list of ingredients, containing a good amount of melted chocolate, chocolate chips, margarine and sugar, with the addition of walnuts and coffee. Some may find the long list a bit off-putting.
- The Ultimate Chocolate Brownies asks for two fancy-looking ingredients. I think using Bournville chocolate and muscovado sugar makes it sound more deluxe.
We wanted to find out how expensive it is to make these recipes, as we understand that the cost can be a deciding factor for some.
Considering its long list of ingredients, I expected the Best Ever Brownies to be the most expensive, but it wasn't the case.
It's the Ultimate Chocolate Brownie recipe that came top in this category. After a closer look, it became clear that the higher price was due to the recipe asking for better-quality ingredients. Butter instead of baking margarine. Muscovado sugar instead of caster sugar. Bournville chocolate instead of plain cooking chocolate.
Nevertheless, there is only a £1.55 difference between the cheapest and the most expensive recipe, so I don't think the cost is crucial when deciding what Mary Berry's recipe to choose.
Yet, considering the cost, the Best Ever Brownie recipe gets you more (brownies) for your money. Based on the total weight of ingredients in each recipe, this brownie mixture is over 300g heavier (imagine the size of a large Tescos hummus) than the others. (See the table below.)
Interesting Numbers Facts
When working with the weights, I decided to pull out some details in percentages based on the total weight of the recipe.
- The Chocolate Brownie recipe contains the largest percentage of flour and the lowest percentage of fat. This produced a cakey brownie.
- The Best Ever Chocolate Brownie recipe has the highest percentage of fat (combining the butter, chocolate and eggs) as well as chocolate against the total weight. It also has the most fat-to-flour ratio and chocolate-to-flour ratio. Making it, without a doubt, the richest recipe of them all.
- The Ultimate Chocolate Brownies, on the other hand, gave us a sugar frenzy and has the least amount of flour.
How did the recipes perform
Chocolate Brownies (cocoa powder)
- I like the simplicity of the first recipe. There is no chocolate to melt. Instead, the recipe asks for cocoa powder. I even had all the required ingredients at home - how convenient!
- Even better, the recipe uses the all-in-one method (everything is mixed in the same bowl). It's pretty effortless.
- These chocolate brownies are ideal when the time is tight, and they are an excellent recipe to make with small children. Helen from Cooking with My Kids can tell you all about it in her "Mary Berry's chocolate brownies" post.
- The brownie texture is more cake-like. They feel lighter and aren't as dark as the others.
- Unfortunately, they were slightly less appealing as they didn't have that nice shiny top.
Best Ever Chocolate Brownies (walnuts and coffee)
- The Best Ever Brownie recipe is more elaborate, requiring the melting of chocolate and dissolving the coffee in hot water. Working with ingredients in various temperatures can make the mixing stage a bit precarious (there's a chance that the batter can curdle); luckily, everything worked out just fine.
- The baked brownies were very dark in colour, and they were best fresh as they became dense and heavy once they cooled down and the chocolate set.
- I found this recipe somewhat overly decadent. On the contrary, my friend thought they were devilishly good.
Ultimate Chocolate Brownies (Bournville plain chocolate)
- There were no surprises during the preparation and baking. The recipe difficulty is somewhere in between the other two. The most elaborate part is melting the chocolate.
- The mix had almost a gluey, wobbly texture, and once baked, the brownies came from the oven with a nice shiny, crispy layer on the top.
- The recipe collected the most favourable feedback from those involved in our taste test - including my family, friends and neighbours. According to the judges of all ages, these brownies had the right amount of richness, with a lovely fudgy and moist texture.
People have different ideas about how the best brownies should look and taste. Some like caky brownies, while others prefer a fuggy or chewy texture.
The Chocolate Brownies from My Kitchen Table: 100 Cakes and Bakes are the best choice for anyone who loves light cake-like brownies. This easy brownie recipe with cocoa powder is a cakewalk to make 😉
If you prefer brownies with a bite and more chewiness, try the Best Ever Brownie recipe from Mary Berry's Complete Cookbook. This recipe is the richest in fat and chocolate-to-flour ratio, making it the heaviest of the three, so prepare for superb deep, dark chocolate flavours.
While no brownie recipe can please everyone, the Ultimate Chocolate Brownies from the book Mary Berry Cook and Share collected the most positive reviews in our test. They satisfied the majority of my appointed food critics.
These brownies are beautifully moist with a delicate, thin crust that adds an ever-slight crunch before they melt in your mouth. This recipe strikes the perfect balance - fudgy and intensely rich without being overly heavy or decadent. It's a versatile recipe that can please just about anyone.
I hope we've helped you decide what version of Mary Berry Brownies is best for you. Now, off you go and bake, and let us know your thoughts.
Here is our favourite Mary Berry's Ultimate Chocolate Brownie Recipe. It is a re-written version of the original recipe from Mary Berry's website.
Mary Berry Ultimate Chocolate Brownies
- 360 g Bournville plain chocolate
- 225 g butter
- 225 g light muscovado sugar
- 4 eggs
- 75 g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 75 g chocolate chips
- baking dish, or tray 30 x 23 cm or 26 x 26 cm
- baking paper
- water bath (a pot and a bowl) to melt the chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan. Line the baking dish with baking paper.
- Break the chocolate into pieces and place it with the butter into a glass or metal heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a pot with simmering water. Let the ingredients slowly melt, stirring to combine them.
- Let the chocolate cool for a few minutes, and mix in the eggs, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Mix in the flour and stir in the chocolate chips.
- Transfer the brownie mixture to the lined baking dish and bake for 40 to 45 minutes in the oven preheated to 180°C/160°C fan.Note: Don't overbake the brownies. They should be ready once the edges look set and the top has a nice thin crust. Everyone's oven is different. My brownies take only 35 minutes to bake.
- Let the brownies cool down before cutting them into 24 small squares.