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Cosmic Brownies

Cosmic Brownies

Let’s head into the weekend with homemade fudgy, chewy brownies, ganache and Mini M&M’s on our brains, shall we? Really, what better way is there?

Well, ok…there may be a few more ways that might be better to kick start the weekend than those three things, but we’re off to tasty beginning!

My mom used to occasionally buy the kids those Cosmic Brownies that you see in the grocery stores. You know the ones, from Little Debbie. My oldest son absolutely loves them, but I don’t really want to buy them. I may be wrong about the ingredients, and I’m not going to make any claims about them, but I can’t find nutritional info on their site.

So. I’ve been thinking that it would be fun to make some and see if they lived up to my son’s expectations. The Cosmic Brownies are thin and chewy, with a chocolate icing and candy coated mini chocolate chips. Easy enough, yes?

Cosmic Brownies

I looked at a lot of brownie recipes before I settled on the one I ended up using. It’s very simple and I only changed it up a bit. It ended up having the exact texture I wanted, plus it made a 13 x 9 pan. With a family of six, an 8 x 8 pan won’t cut it, and I didn’t feel like messing around with doubling and all that. My gosh, how lazy is that?

There has to be a law against cakey brownies somewhere. Cake is cake. Brownies are…like dark, rich chocolate icing you can pick up. Ha! The icing is a simple ganache, and they’re topped off with some mini M & M’s.

These would be great for a bake sale or to put out for a party. Or just to keep in the fridge for snacking on. Definitely not a “sit out in the heat of the sun” brownie because of the ganache. But if it’s a cool day, or your party food is inside the house, you’re good.

So the important question--what do my kids think of these? They LOVE them! You’re welcome, kids. Now do your chores.

Cosmic Brownies

Slightly adapted from
Makes one 13 x9 pan

1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
2 tablespoons water
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 tsp espresso powder (Optional, but this adds so much depth to the chocolate flavor! You can also use instant coffee.)
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used the Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup heavy cream
7 oz bittersweet chocolate
pinch of salt

-Mimi M & M's, for sprinkling over the top (I bought a large bag of them--you'll eyeball the amount you add)

Heat oven to 350º.  Line a 13 x 9 pan with foil, then lightly grease. (The foil makes it easy to lift the cooled brownies from the pan, which makes cutting them much easier.) Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the sugars, butter and water with a whisk. Stir in the eggs, vanilla and espresso powder. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Stir the dry mix into the wet stuff and stir to combine. With a rubber spatula, spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 18 minutes. Don't over bake!

Set aside on a rack to cool.

While the brownies are baking, prepare the ganache:

Place the chocolate in a bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan, heat the cream just to a simmer. Don't boil it, just wait till you see little bubbles starting to form around the edges. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Sprinkle with the salt and let it all sit for a minute or so. Gently stir with a rubber spatula until all of the chocolate is melted. Whisking the heck out of it will just add air bubbles and we don't want those. Set that aside to cool a bit.

When the brownies are mostly cool, pour the ganache over and spread it evenly over the top. Sprinkle as many or as few of the M & M's over the top as you like. I cooled mine in the fridge until the ganache was set. When you're ready to cut them into squares, lift them out with the foil and cut into the size or shape you like.

I'm storing mine in the fridge because it's warm in the kitchen.

  • These are everything I could ever want in a brownie. Fudgy, deep chocolate flavor, a slight mocha thing going on with the espresso…and M & M’s!
  • These are a bit rich, so you can feel comfortable cutting them in small squares. Then again, sometimes a ginormous brownie is just what you need to stuff your face with. You decide. I won’t judge, you know…if you’re going to stuff your pie hole with a few of these. I may or may not have done that myself.
  • Oh! You could totally customize these with pretty holiday M & M’s or sprinkles.

Cosmic Brownies

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Reader Comments (35)

I have never had the Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies, but one of my most favorite guilty indulgences used to be the plain Little Debbie Brownies. I will have to try these. For sure.

May 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter*Just Fran*

These look like EXACTLY the kind of brownie recipe I've been after. Fudgey, not cakey. Can't wait to try them.

May 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterInjera

I'll trade you some junior mints for a slice! Pretty please? :)

Hubby calls these vending machine brownies and they are his absolute favorite! Thanks for the recipe!

May 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

espresso, brownie, ganache and candy.
pure friggin heaven.

May 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commentervanillasugarblog

Sinful! Love these Elle!

May 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJessica @ How Sweet

You are an awesome mom and an evil woman all rolled up into one. These look scrumptious!

May 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterApril in CT

Oh my Elle, collecting new recipes for brownies to add to my existing ones. Just to change things around this looks like a keeper. Looks so rich and beautiful!

May 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfoodwanderings

You're probably right. Cake is cake and brownies should be fudgey. You hit it on the head!

I did brownies this week too Elle, totally different but we have these things in common...brownies are not cake and adding espresso is good!

These look perfect for a summer barbecue when I have friends over with kids; I have a strong feeling they would prefer M&M's to salted chocolate. Thanks!

Elle, I love how you think! I second the "cakey brownie" law and LOVE your definition of a brownie ~ that's it exactly!

Was just going to turn in with a good book, but now you have me seriously considering making these...must have nuts though!

May 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen B.

yum! Those brownies look amazing!!

May 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpaula hennig

I'm obsessed with this recipe. I'm an English teacher by career, and while I love being a teacher, my true calling is cooking, baking, and entertaining. And let me tell you, my fellow teachers do not mind my hobby! These are a hit in the Teacher's Lounge!

May 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatieFake

I agree, brownies should not be little pieces of cake they should be fudgie!

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkat

You are my favorite person right now! I am so making these!!

Oh my, so decadent! Love how they are dark and super chocolatey, yum.

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterthatshowiroll

That was a mean thing to do to my hips but very thoughtful to my mouth

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer (Savor)

Mmmm.... Brownies with frosting.... just how I remember them as a kid. Why doesn't anyone make brownies with frosting anymore? Love these, and if I get an indoor spot for SOS bake sale next year, these are going to the top of the list!

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRJ Flamingo

WOW! They look amazing, really need to work out what weights are equivalent to US cups.

How awesome is this, I used to love these brownies as a kid. Much better than the ones with nuts on top (oh how unrefined I was). I can't wait to make these.

And RJ Flamingo, I agree, you never see brownies with frosting. What's up with that? Frosting and can't lose!

May 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercarrie

OMGosh! Fantastic. My kids love those LD nasty little things and I just told them this week that I bet I could make them. LOL!! Yours look fabulous. Those browies look perfectly fudgey and delicious. Bookmarked!!!!

May 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBethieofVA

We didn't have Little Debbie items in Canada when I was growing up, so I've never seen Cosmic Brownies...but your version looks amazing!

May 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn

I am craving brownies now, thanks:)

May 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

Wow I could use 1 of those brownies right about now! I love to bake but my husband can't eat sweets. So all it does is make me CHUBBY! Your pictures of these brownies are making my mouth water!

May 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJane M

oh my! Fabulous!

Ooh, I love that you add a little espresso to these!

May 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFeast on the Cheap

These brownies look great. Nice to know what the kids are eating too and not out of some store box. Thanks for the recipe to try this week.

May 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMedifast Coupons

I'm a huge brownie lover! I want those right now! I don't have a brownie recipe! Thanx for the tip! I'll be making these for sure!

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Oh my - these just look fabulous!!! Very dangerous too. . .

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDelishhh

ooh cosmic brownies are the one pre-packaged dessert I actually like, even though I haven't eaten any in a long time, so this makes me so so happy!! :)

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda V

I love a good chewy brownie recipe! and these really seem to fit the bill. also, ganache and brownies = heaven :D saving this recipe for sure. thank you!

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLian

My kids love Cosmic Brownies too. I'm sure they'd love homemade ones even more. They look fabulous.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Bakes

Awesome, I love brownies, but these add that little hint of coffee..that totally brings out the chocolate falvor! thanks for sharing


May 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersweetlife

Oh my Gawd, I think I have to make these. These look like pure sinful pleasure! ;)

June 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermegan

These brownies are Beyond amazing! Thank you for sharing the recipe. :)

April 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterValerie

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