There are fudgy brownies, then there are soft, chewy, and dense Frosted Brownies! The fudginess of the homemade brownies is boosted by the BEST rich, creamy chocolate brownie frosting that is made from scratch!
I may have something of a brownie obsession. There are almost a dozen different brownies recipes on this site now! Some of my other favorites are Gooey Swirled Nutella Brownies, The BEST Cream Cheese Brownies, and Easy Caramel Pecan Brownies!
In my family these were always known as "Ellen's Brownies" or "Dream Brownies". This is a family recipe from one of those compilation cookbooks that I have had since my childhood when my mom got it at our annual summer family reunion.
Don't you just love the quirky naming convention to call older recipes something like "dream" this or "marry me" that? You KNOW a recipe is going to be good when it's been given a name like that!
Now, I do not discriminate between frosted and unfrosted brownies. I love them both equally and for different reasons and cannot be forced to choose between one or the other.
But I have to say that these frosted dream brownies are irresistible! The recipe makes a big 9x13-inch pan worth of brownies, but trust me, they will all get devoured way faster than you can imagine.
I love them because the frosting gives them a sort of bake sale quality. They are unpretentious and perfect for birthdays, potlucks, cookouts, and basically any time you need a treat.
Unlike my better-than-box-mix brownies, these ones only use cocoa powder for the deep, intense chocolate flavor. Which makes them even easier to make whenever that brownie craving hits you!
They are fantastic all on their own, but straight up perfection with a tall glass of cold milk. Or serve them with a scoop of ice cream on top for a delicious brownie sundae!
And best of all, they are super fast and easy to make and easily customizable. I like mine with chopped walnuts baked into the brownie base, but you can leave them out or add chocolate or white chocolate chips (or any number of other mix-ins). Or add some colorful sprinkles on top to make them birthday brownies for someone special who prefers brownies to cake!
Frosted Brownie Ingredients
- Flour: Just the right amount of flour ensures the brownies turn out dense and fudgy rather than too cakey.
- Cocoa Powder: Regular unsweetened cocoa powder works great in these brownies. If you want a darker chocolate experience, you can sub in dutch processed cocoa powder instead.
- Butter: I always use salted butter in my baking, but if unsalted butter is all you have on hand, go ahead and add ½ teaspoon of salt to the brownies and ¼ teaspoon of salt to the frosting. Otherwise you won't need any additional salt for this recipe, which is a little unusual for most of my baking, but in this recipe, it works!
- Sugar: This brownie recipe just uses granulated sugar for the brownie base and powdered sugar for the frosting on top.
- Eggs: Room temperature eggs act as a binding agent in the brownies and keep them nice and moist.
- Vanilla Extract: This ingredient is key when baking because it compliments and boosts all of the other flavors. I love using my homemade vanilla extract.
- Walnuts: These are listed as optional and the brownies are delicious even without them, but the chopped walnuts add such a fantastic flavor and texture that I never, ever skip them unless I'm making these for someone who has a nut allergy.
- Heavy Cream: The original version of this recipe called for "canned milk", which I'm assuming is evaporated milk. But I find it easier to just use heavy cream instead.
How to Make Frosted Brownies
- Prep ahead: Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. It's important to preheat your oven so the brownies bake evenly and accurately. Spray a 9x13-inch pan with baking spray or line with a parchment paper sling.
- Beat butter and sugar until creamy and light: While some brownie recipes have you melt the butter before adding it to the other ingredients, in this one we beat it with the sugar first instead. I recommend using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. After beating the butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes, add the eggs and vanilla and beat again.
- Add flour, cocoa powder, and nuts: Stir in the flour and walnuts by hand, then pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and spread it into the corners.
- Bake and cool: Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with just a few crumbs. Let the brownies cool before frosting so the frosting doesn't melt down into them.
- Make the frosting: When the brownies are almost cool, make the frosting by beating softened butter with powdered sugar and cocoa powder. When they start to come together, add the heavy cream and vanilla extract, then beat until fluffy and light.
- Frost and slice: The chocolate brownie frosting makes just enough to cover the 9x13-inch pan. I like to slice these into 18 squares, which is a plenty generous portion.
Make-ahead and Storage Instructions
Storage: Keep the brownies covered in plastic wrap on in an airtight container on the counter for up to 5 days.
Freezing: These freeze well! I recommend transferring them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper so the individual brownies aren't touching. Freeze for 2-3 hours until firm, then you can transfer them to an airtight, freezer-safe container for longer term storage. Freeze for 2-3 months. Thaw on the counter for a few hours before serving.
What is the best cocoa powder for brownies?
I usually make these with regular unsweetened Hershey's cocoa powder because it's easily available to most home bakers and it honestly makes delicious brownies! But Ghiradelli and Rodelle are two of my other favorite brands for cocoa powder.
More Brownie Recipes
- How to Make German Chocolate Brownies
- The BEST Cream Cheese Brownies
- Slutty Brownies [Brownie Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars]
- Gooey Swirled Nutella Brownies
- Fudgy Frosted Chocolate Mint Brownies
- Easy Caramel Pecan Brownies
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Frosted Dream Brownies
- 1 cup salted butter softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 1 ½ cups walnuts optional
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup salted butter softened
- ⅓ cup heavy cream or evaporated milk
- 1 ⅔ cups powdered sugar
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch pan with baking spray or line with a parchment paper sling.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy and smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla, mixing well until combined.
- Stir in the flour, cocoa powder, and walnuts, if using. Pour into the prepared pan, then bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with just a few crumbs. Let cool.
- While the brownies cool, make the frosting by combining the softened butter with the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Beat with an electric mixer for 1 to 2 minutes until they start to combine, then add the heavy cream and vanilla extract and beat until creamy and light.
- Frost the cooled brownies with the chocolate frosting, then slice into 18 squares and serve.
- Storage: Keep the brownies covered in plastic wrap on in an airtight container on the counter for up to 5 days.
- Freezing: These freeze well! I recommend transferring them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper so the individual brownies aren't touching. Freeze for 2-3 hours until firm, then you can transfer them to an airtight, freezer-safe container for longer term storage. Freeze for 2-3 months. Thaw on the counter for a few hours before serving.
- Cocoa Powder: I usually make these with regular unsweetened Hershey's cocoa powder because it's easily available to most home bakers. But I also like Ghiradelli and Rodelle brands.