Fat Witch Brownies

Cover recipe- Fat Witch Brownies, Fat Witch Brownies: Copyright 2010

From the Fat Witch Brownies book flap… the original Fat Witch Brownie has been named one of Oprah’s Favorite Things, and New York’s Fat Witch Bakery has earned raves worldwide for its intensely fudgy brownies, luscious lemon bars, and classic blondies.In this book, baker/author Patricia Helding shares 50 recipes for brownies, blondies and bars.  The author made sure to include easy-to-make recipes that all contain 10 ingredients or less and can be made in a 9×9-inch pan.

How did the name, “Fat Witch” come about?  I was wondering that myself.  Helding shares that she has a friend nicknamed, “The Witch.”  Her witch friend visited the bakery often to sample brownies.  They joked that Helding was going to turn her into a “Fat Witch,” and the name stuck.

The photo on the cover is of the original Fat Witch Brownies.  The author writes that she spent many evenings perfecting her formula… resulting in a fudgy, deep, incredibly rich brownie with crumbly edges and gooey centers.  Read my notes below to see if my Fat Witch Brownies turned out to be as good as the original.

Print Print Recipe

Fat Witch Brownies

Yield: 12 to 16 brownies

Prep Time: 25 min + chill time

Cook Time: 33 min

Ingredients:

14 Tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. bittersweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. unbleached flour
pinch of salt

Directions:

1.  Grease 9x9-inch baking pan with butter.  Dust with flour and tap out the excess.
2.  Melt butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently.  Set aside to cool.
3.  Cream sugar, eggs and vanilla together.  Add cooled chocolate mixture and mix until well-blended.
4.  Measure flour and salt and then sift together directly into the chocolate mixture.  Mix batter gently until well combined and no trace of the dry ingredients remains.
5.  At this point, if desired, stir in any extras like walnuts.
6.  Spread batter evenly in the prepared baking pan and bake 33 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or with only crumbs, not batter, on it.
7.  Remove from oven and cool on rack for 1 hour.  Cut just before serving.

Tips:

*I used Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips, which is what the author says they use at the bakery.
*I also used Madagascar pure vanilla extract (what the author recommends).
*I baked this recipe exactly as indicated, except that I lined the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
*Walnuts were added in, since the photo on the cover appears to have walnuts.
*My brownies were done after about 28 minutes... any longer and they'd have been over-baked.

The results:

I’m confused about this recipe.  The way these brownies are described by the author is not the result I got with this recipe.  They were quite cakey, not incredibly rich and did not have gooey centers.  They were “okay,” but they certainly wouldn’t be bakery-worthy as the recipe is written.  Could it be possible that this recipe is not the exact recipe that they use for their famous brownies?  I can’t imagine that it isn’t, but I’m a pretty experienced brownie baker and these did not turn out to be the intensely fudgy brownie that the world raves about.  Please share if you have any idea why…  and if you’ve been to the Fat Witch Bakery and experienced the fudgy brownie! There’s another recipe for “Cakey Brownies” in the book- it would be interesting to put these side by side and see what the difference is!

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Well, the short answer is YES, since this is their signature brownie.  There are a lot of other recipes in the book that do look very worthy of trying… like No-Bake S’More Brownies, Gingerbread Bars and PB&J Bars.  I just wish I had gotten a better result out of the cover recipe.

Lori is the founder of RecipeGirl.com. She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at RecipeBoy.com.

31 Responses to “Fat Witch Brownies”

  1. 1

    Phoo-d — October 28, 2010 @ 6:28 am

    I visited the Fat Witch bakery this summer. Unfortunately I didn’t buy a brownie to try (too full of other goodies from the Chelsea Market!) but the person I was with bought one and it did look a lot denser than the ones you baked. I wonder if the type of butter would make a difference? Doesn’t European style butter have a higher butterfat content then U.S. style?

  2. 2

    Kelly @ EvilShenanigans — October 28, 2010 @ 10:27 am

    I tried the Fat Witch brownies in New York earlier this year and was, honestly, not impressed. They were a nice brownie, but not the best brownie I have ever had. Your attempt looks very much like the brownie I had there. They are advertised as rich, moist and fudgy, but I think they had a very cake-like texture.

  3. 3

    Ginny — October 28, 2010 @ 11:15 am

    You seem to be in agreement with most of the other reviews I’ve seen. I was going to make these, but I”m going to pass. Not a fan of cakey brownies and, if most people who make them seem to think they are that way, I’m not going to waste my ingredients. I don’t think you did anything wrong. My guess is the recipe isn’t the same.

  4. 4

    Katrina — October 28, 2010 @ 11:33 am

    I don’t remember them being fudgy or cakey. They WERE dense, but kinda seemed dry. I wasn’t sure if they were overbaked or not fresh. I know I only took a few bites of it (not cheap) and threw away the rest. And I’m not known for doing that. ;)
    If I recall, Anna at Cookie Madness tried them once, too, and also didn’t like them. You and her both being what I consider the brownies queens ;), I trust you both. To me that sure seems like a lot of butter and eggs for a 9×9 pan. Great, interesting post, Lori.

  5. 5

    Dana — October 28, 2010 @ 11:57 am

    I recently bought this book and have been tempted to make the brownies but now I won’t bother since I certainly trust you. We were just at Chelsea Market but too full for a brownie.

  6. 6

    megan @ whatmegansmaking — October 28, 2010 @ 12:15 pm

    hmm…your brownies do look very cakey. I’ve never even heard of fat witch brownies before, but I don’t think I’ll try them. Actually though, to me it seems like the ones on the cover look pretty cakey as well. Although it’s a little hard to tell. Great review – love this blog!

  7. 7

    richard — October 28, 2010 @ 12:29 pm

    I never thought that the Fat Witch brownies were really impressive. A Dunkin Hines brownie tastes better!

  8. 8

    Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle — October 28, 2010 @ 12:45 pm

    I’ve been making a brownie recipe for years that we even call Baked Fudge that is my favorite and I’ve always related its moist, fudgelike texture to the lack of leavening so that’s the first thing I looked for in this recipe to see if that’s what created the cakelike results.

    But there is none here either so I’m flummoxed. You can compare my recipe at http://vinolucistyle.com/2010/06/baked-fudge/ with this one and the ingredient list is almost identical except for this had different quantities that I would think would make these even more moist than the recipe I use.

    So…I’m thinking that it might help to adjust the baking time. If I want a really moist result, I start checking about 10 minutes before the suggested baking time…and it seems I always remove them much earlier than the recipe calls for. I’ve always attributed that to dealing with high altitude but maybe there’s more to it than that!

    • Lori Lange replied: — October 28th, 2010 @ 12:52 pm

      I took the brownies out at 28 minutes bc that’s when they tested done (recipe calls for 33 min). They weren’t dry in the least… they were just “cakey.” They even sank slightly in the middle- which is usually a good indicator that they’re not quite done baking. You should make these and see what you think!!

  9. 9

    Courtney — October 28, 2010 @ 3:36 pm

    I would use two or three eggs, as opposed to four. Four seems like a lot!

  10. 10

    Deliciously Organic — October 29, 2010 @ 2:34 pm

    I visited the store in NYC and wasn’t too impressed. It was a good brownie, but not a “blow-your-hair-back” kind of brownie. :)

  11. 11

    Jenny — October 29, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

    I purchased the book as well. I am known as the queen of brownies by family and friends – so I know a little too about brownie baking. I tried the recipe many different ways (her original recipe and playing with it). I agree four eggs seems excessive for a fudgey brownie. Nothing came out like their brownie. (I live in NY). If you look on the amazon.com review of the book – many people have the same problem. She has a successful business – she isn’t going to give her “exact” recipe no matter what she claims. My personal opinion. Haven’t tried her other recipes but will get to it. Your brownie looks great though.

  12. 12

    mary — October 29, 2010 @ 5:06 pm

    I haven’t had them in a long time, but I have had fat witch brownies and found them mediocre enough to not return – and chelsea market is but a 10 minute ride away on the subway!

  13. 13

    Robyn — October 29, 2010 @ 7:33 pm

    I bought this book a few weeks ago and made the “signature” brownies. A major dissapointment. They were awful. I threw them away. I was very dissapointed after reading the introduction but I have to admit I was thinking why would someone who is making lots of money with their recipe give it away in a cook book. I bake often and make some very good brownies so I had something to compare them to and even boxed brownies are much better.

  14. 14

    Denise Michaels - Adventurous Foodie — October 29, 2010 @ 9:31 pm

    There is nothing better (well almost!) then a fudgy brownie. I’m going to try these but I just gotta say, I have a recipe for something called Sauce Pan Brownies that really are good and have that fudgy yumminess about them. It’s the next best thing to a bar of deep, dark chocolate.

  15. 15

    Honey — October 29, 2010 @ 10:21 pm

    These look fantastic… i love they are sort of cakelike and chewy looking. Looks sooooooooo good…
    thanks.

  16. 16

    Kelly the Happy texan — October 30, 2010 @ 9:42 am

    I am the one who wrote the review on amazon. Thanks for linking to your site! I have link to recipegirl.com on my blog. :) Small world.

    Anyway, I was not happy with these brownies. The ones on the cover looked so much better and I followed the directions to the “t.” I tried another recipe in the book because I wanted to give it another chance. Nope. Same results. I even called the bakery and they said the brownies should be fudgy. They weren’t.

    I prefer the brownies from Cook’s Illustrated. Always on the search for the “ultimate” brownie.

  17. 17

    Aggie — November 3, 2010 @ 6:31 pm

    I’ve never heard of Fat Witch! But the name totally drew me in. They look great….though I’m thinking I’m prob in the minority and like cakey brownies. Very interesting review on such a popular brownie! Seems like you are not alone in your observation!

  18. 18

    Alexis — November 9, 2010 @ 10:06 am

    I was so excited for this book! And then so let down. The butterscotch bars were good, but the brownies were AWFUL! Mine were also cakey, not fudgy at all, way too sweet and dry. I’m a chef, so no stranger to cooking or baking; I thought the recipe had too many eggs, but I figured that she’s the one with the bakery, so she should know! lol Ghiradelli box mix brownies are a thousand times better than this recipe.

  19. 19

    Jan — November 9, 2010 @ 12:39 pm

    These brownies do look cakey. I would expect a moister, fudgy brownied to have at least an egg more, and maybe some milk too…. Very interesting post! And, I actually love cakey brownies with chewy edges. Were the edges chewy? That’s my favorite part!

  20. 20

    Lori Lange — November 9, 2010 @ 2:48 pm

    Jan- Nope, they weren’t cakey w/ chewy edges. They were cakey and dry. Big let down.

  21. 21

    karen — November 22, 2010 @ 9:55 am

    For brownies to be more fudge like you should only use 1 large egg for the amount of flour that this recipe calls for. I would also add 1/2 cup more of the chocolate chips. This should do the trick!

  22. 22

    Ashley — December 1, 2010 @ 10:41 am

    Umm……. So I made these brownies and was distraught when they came out of the oven. My sadness quickly turned to anger when I finished reading your blog. Can you please post the note about this recipe being off sooner on the page? It will save many people four eggs, good swedish chocolate, and a beautiful morning. Thank you!

  23. 23

    Lori Lange — December 1, 2010 @ 10:57 am

    Ashley- not sure who you’re mad at… the author of the book- for printing a recipe that is obviously not very good, or me- for sharing my poor experience in making these.

    The format of how these posts are written is always the same… an introduction to the recipe, then the recipe, then my experience with making it. Next time, you’ll know! So sorry you wasted good ingredients on this recipe :(

  24. 24

    Nya — January 9, 2011 @ 9:16 pm

    I have to agree that cakey brownies are not delicious. I was over at mele cotte and the guy who writes that blog tried the blondie recipe two ways. The “messed up” version looked way more delicious because it looked fudgey and gooey. The correct version looked waaaaay too cakey for me. In any case, if you want to have your mind blown by a brownie, I would highly recommend that you try Ultimate Brownies @www.ultimatebrownies.com. These brownies are unbelievably delicious. The texture is somewhere between a slab of chocolate and chocolate mousse. I have never had anything like it! They’re almost like a flourless chocolate cake, maybe? I don’t know. All I know is that they are magnificent and I cannot eat them enough! Sadly, since I have moved away from Cleveland, I rarely have them, but you can order them online and it is worth the shipping. I hope you try them and fall in love with them the way I have!

  25. 25

    John Main — February 24, 2011 @ 6:21 pm

    The brownies at the “Fat Witch” were the moist and dense and just incredible. I was almost 100% sure I felt a slight caramel flavour within the mix…
    I think that if you increase the butter & chocolate amount in the recipe by 15% each and add a small amount of raw caramel to the mix they should come out as fudge-y and gooey as they do at “Fat Witch”

  26. 26

    Andy — March 11, 2011 @ 11:55 am

    I thought it was just me when I made these, after reading about them on Bake or Break, but I too ended up with cake brownies. Not terrible, but they mostly just taste sweet and hardly taste of chocolate. Way too much butter and eggs and not enough actual chocolate.

  27. 27

    Shirley — May 15, 2011 @ 6:33 pm

    I just had to see for myself, because I loved Fat Witch’s brownies. I’m sorely disappointed, and so glad I didn’t buy the book! The brownies weren’t terrible. In fact, while Sis and I expressed our disappointment that the recipe was nothing like the shop’s in Chelsea Market, we ate the whole pan in 2 days. We even threw in extra chocolate chunks and decreased the flour, but it still came out cakey. And my wonderful Callebaut chocolate’s taste came out muted.

  28. 28

    Si — June 1, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

    This is very interesting to me…I know I’m a little late to enter the conversation, but here’s my two cents. I heard about Fat Witch. Went out of my way to find Chelsea market. Funny how many New Yorkers in the vicinity had no idea what I was talking about when I asked for directions?? Anyway, finally found it after about an hour of searching. Tried a brownie. It was good, but not amazing. Certainly not worth going out of your way to find. Even brought a couple home. Good, but not outstanding. I’ve baked a lot of brownies, and just by looking at the recipe, I can tell you there are too many eggs for the size of the recipe. Two would do it. The eggs account for the cakey texture in this recipe. After reading a good portion of your reviews, I think I’ll pass on this recipe and book. Thanks for the info! Love your site.
    PS if you want a dense fudgy brownie, try williams sonoma’s recipe or bf Contessa Outrageous Brownie. Both excellent.

  29. 29

    Carolyn — April 20, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

    My experiences are the same as everyone else. I have tried 2 recipes from the book and a friend tried 2. The Fat Witch Brownie seemed dry and cakey and really nothing special. The Caramel Witches were the same. The caramel hardened so much that I couldn’t cut through that layer (perhaps it was overcooked but I don’t think so) and each brownie became a mess trying to cut through. My friend tried the breakfast brownie and one other (can’t seem to remember which) and she was not impressed as well. Both of us are avid bakers and neither of us had much luck with the 4 recipes that we tried. The pictures look great but our results didn’t produce anything brownies to our standards. We will both be going back to our favorite recipes.

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    Kt — May 7, 2012 @ 9:30 pm

    Chiming in a bit late here, but I totally agree with your assessment of these brownies. I made them last night and was unimpressed. I knew going in that there should be more chocolate, but I followed the recipe (rare for me!) and they were just ok. They were moist and dense–but needed a whole lot more chocolate flavor, IMO.

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