James Beard Award-winning Cookbook Author

Recipe and Tips: Fourth of July Chocolate Chunk Brownies

Brownies are as American as apple pie and if I had my way they’d be our national cookie.  I always bake a batch for the Fourth of July.  The first published brownie recipe using melted chocolate in the batter appeared in 1906, so the cookie is over 100 years old.

Brownies are one of the easiest cookies to make because the batter, in most recipes, is put together in a saucepan.

The recipe here calls for unsweetened chocolate in the batter and semi- or bittersweet chocolate chunks added at the end.  The chunks stay intact and make a delicious contrast with the moist and fudgy batter.

This recipe, unlike most for brownies, has baking powder.  Why, you may ask, when eggs do the leavening?  The baking powder helps expand the air bubbles created during the whisking of the batter.  During baking the brownies rise a bit more than with the eggs alone and after cooling and settling, their texture takes on an especially chewy quality.

For best results, bake these a day ahead of time.  When completely cool, cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and let it stand at room temperature.  Serve them on Independence Day, or whenever the next day happens to be!

Fourth of July Chocolate Chunk Brownies

These crowd-pleasing brownies are chocolaty, fudgy, and packed with chocolate chunks.  If you can’t find chunk chocolate, use morsels instead.  I don’t add nuts to these brownies because I want nothing to distract from the chocolate flavor and texture.  The tops of the brownies have a thin sugary crust which add another dimension to their texture.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24 brownies


  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, spooned into the cup and leveled 4 ½ ounces
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter 2 sticks
  • 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chunks


Baking Setup

  • Adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Butter a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan or coat with vegetable cooking spray.

Brownie Dough

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Put the butter into a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat.
  • When the butter is partially melted, add the chocolate.
  • Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and the liquid is smooth.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the sugar.  The batter will look granular.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each.
  • Whisk in the vanilla.  The batter will be smooth and shiny.
  • Add the dry ingredients and stir them in with a large rubber spatula.  When not quite incorporated, add the chocolate chunks and stir only until the dry ingredients and chocolate are thoroughly mixed in.
  • Spread the batter in the prepared pan and place the pan in the oven.
  • Bake 25 minutes.
  • A toothpick inserted about 2 inches into the edge of the brownie “cake” should come out clean, but a toothpick thrust into the center of the brownie should come out with moist chocolate sticking to it.  Bake another 5 minutes or so if necessary, but do not overbake.  Note the sugary crust.
  • Cool completely on a wire rack. 
  • Cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Cover tightly with foil and let stand overnight.
  • To serve, cut into squares with a sharp knife.