Yesterday a reader notified me of a broken link to an old Bon Appetit recipe by Alice Medrich – Browned Butter Brownies with Walnuts. While fixing the link, it occurred to me that I hadn’t made those brownies in a while and that I should do so immediately. Then while fumbling around trying to find a square pan, I saw my 9 inch cast iron skillet and decided to use that instead. So here they are, Cast Iron Skillet Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts.
The recipe flows nicely because you brown your butter in the skillet, leave a little butter residue behind instead of greasing (though with a seasoned skillet, that shouldn’t be an issue), then you bake the brownies in the skillet for crispy edges and chewy centers. For Cast Iron Skillet Brownies, I would advise NOT leaving out the walnuts. There are plenty of recipes for brownies without nuts, but this recipe needs them. The question is, does it really need the skillet? Probably not. The brownies look awesome in the skillet and it does give them chewier edges, but feel free to just use an 8 inch pan as in the original.
6.5 Inch Cast Iron Skillet
I recently tested this recipe in a 6.5 inch cast iron skillet and it worked perfectly. All you have to do is halve all of the ingredients. I prefer using natural style cocoa because I just like the flavor better, but I made the 6.5 inch version with dark Dutch cocoa and they were pretty good too.
9 Inch Cast Iron Skillet Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces (140 grams)
- 1 1/4 cups sugar (250 grams)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, natural or Dutch (60 grams)
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large large eggs, cold
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour (54 grams)
- 1 cup toasted walnut pieces
- ½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- In a 9 inch cast iron skillet, melt the butter over medium heat, swirling or stirring gently. It will crackle, foam and eventually start to brown. Allow it to brown just until it is fragrant, then remove from heat and carefully (use your best oven mitt!) pour into a mixing bowl, leaving a thin coating of residual butter in skillet. Whisk or just stir in the sugar, cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla and ¼ teaspoon salt.
- Let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes. It will still be hot. Add eggs to hot mixture 1 at a time, beating well after each egg is added. Add flour and stir until blended. Beat or whisk 60 strokes. Stir in nuts. At this point batter should be just slightly warm, but not so warm it will melt the chocolate chips. Stir in ½ cup of chocolate chips and scrape batter into the cast iron skillet.
- Bake brownies for 25 minutes. They should appear shiny and set. Let cool completely, then cut into wedges and gently pry from the skillet.
Thank you so much for such a thoughtful and kind review. And thanks also for the tip about melting the chocolate chips at the last minute. Glad it worked! That’s interesting that you don’t like the texture or re-solidified chips in things. Now that is an interesting texture aversion!
Oh Sweetie, these are wonderful brownies!
I have a 9″ cast iron skillet. My family members and friends have asked me what I use it for. “It’s such an odd size.” I use it for everything! It’s just my husband and me here at the house on most nights now. The 9″ cast iron skillet is perfect for two. I use it make chicken and fish dishes for two, small casseroles, cornbread and desserts like pies and crostatas. Oh and I use it to make hot dips when guests drop by (pre-pandemic). Of course I have all the larger cookware pieces to cook for a larger crowd but this one works well for two for everything!
Back to your brownies recipe.
I made these yesterday. I followed the recipe to a t… except for one thing. I have made brownies before with chocolate chips and when the brownies cooled they were still chips. I didn’t like that. It’s a texture thing. (Although the nuts are fine!) So, I melted the chocolate chips and stirred it in to the batter before adding the flour. Other than cooking the brownies a few extra minutes they turned out beautiful and so delicious!
Thanks for sharing such a lovely recipe.
I made these this afternoon and they turned out really great! My husband was absolutely delighted to walk in from work and smell them as they cooled on the counter. It’s been way too long since I made brownies. Thanks for updating the post and posting the recipe.
Katrina, I’m happy to hear you made a batch and hope your family enjoys them. Sorry you can’t have a whole brownie, but these are pretty rich and satisfying so a tiny bite should make you happy for 2 seconds.
I made them! They are now in the oven baking. I’m excited. Even though I won’t eat one, I’ll still taste a little. I went the opposite. My cast iron isn’t in the greatest shape for baking a sweet treat, so I went with the 8×8 pan. Love the browned butter smell! I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it, but I sure miss my past life of baking and just having fun in the kitchen and sharing more things with people and you, Anna, I miss baking along with you. So here’s to brownies!
Mmm, I want a brownie! Don’t think I’ve tried one with browned butter. Now I’m intrigued.
Stehanie, I love Ina’s recipe! I don’t think I’ve ever made a full batch since the yield is so large, but her recipe can be halved and quartered. Compared to that recipe, these are a little fudgier and chewier with a totally different flavor.
I just made, for the first time, Ina’s “Outrageous Brownies”. I think I had become jaded with brownie recipes as it seems that I am equally pleased by all brownie recipes. I was really impressed with the outrageous brownies and I will try this one too. Thanks for this update to the recipe.
Meg, I was surprised at how pretty they were as well. I’m glad to hear you like the recipes, too. There are so many out there that sometimes the really good, simple ones like this (skillet or not) get overlooked.
That looks incredible in the skillet! That BA recipe for brownies is my standby- it is so simple and turned me into a cocoa powder brownie fan. I haven’t done the choc chips but hey, can’t go wrong there! Glad you had great results in the cast iron- looks spectacular!