Fudgy Nutella Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Mother’s Day!  The mothers in your life will kiss the ground you walk on if you make these brownies.

Recently I asked for favorite brownie recipes. I had a plan with that.  In addition to needing a great brownie recipe for the bake sale, I also wanted to make some sinfully delicious brownies, for myself.

I succeeded.  These are sinfully delicious.

They’re likely the richest, and one of the best, desserts I’ve ever made.

And they’re fat free.  Kidding.

They do have a short ingredient list, you can mix them by hand, and they’re just as easy as using a boxed-brownie mix.

But they taste way better!  As in, the best brownies I’ve ever eaten.  Not kidding.


Fudgy Nutella Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 18 to 24 thinner and smaller brownies in a 9-by-13-inch pan, or 12 generous brownies in a 9-by-9-inch pan

6 ounces unsweetened or semi-sweet baking chocolate  (I use this 73% chocolate)

3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

3 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons espresso or brewed coffee, optional

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 c to 2/3 c Nutella

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 9×13 inch pan with foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside. Alternately, use a 9-by-9-inch pan for thicker brownies, which is my preference.

Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl for 90 seconds or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Stir in sugars. Stir in eggs and vanilla.  If adding espresso or coffee, add it now; batter will be a bit granular and that’s okay. Stir in flour until just combined, do not overmix. Pour into prepared pan.

Add the Nutella to the top of the brownie mixture and either just leave it sit on top or marble it with a knife in a zig-zag pattern.

Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until edges pull away from the side of the pan and top and center have just set. Keep these gooey and don’t overbake; brownies will continue to firm up as they cool.

Allow to cool before frosting them or before slicing and serving.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened (I used whipped)

1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 to 4 1/2 cups confectioners’ (powdered)  sugar (I used 4+ cups because I like very thick frosting.  You could use as little as 2 cups depending on desired sweetness and thickness)

Mix cream cheese and butter together.  Use an electric mixer for optimal results and scape down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Once the mixture is very smooth, add in the vanilla extract and mix.  Add in the sugar slowly and keep adding until desired sweetness and thickness is reached.

Note: Frosting recipe makes more than what you may need for these brownies if you prefer a thin layer of frosting; either halve the recipe or store the frosting in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months and use it for another dessert.

I find these bars taste best chilled and store them in the refrigerator in an air-tight container. They freeze well for longer-term storage for up to 3 months.


A Visual Guide:

Get your butter and chocolate together and whip up the batter.

Pour it into a pan and drizzle with Nutella.

Before baking this is what they looked like with the Nutella swirled in.

After baking

The foil helps pop them right out of the pan.  Easy cleanup is a beautiful thing.

Time to make frosting.

Brownie purists may skip frosting, but I never skip frosting.

The brownies are phenomenally fudgy.  They are dense.  They are rich. 

A pound of butter, sugar, Nutella, and cream cheese has that effect.

They are not cakey.  Nor dry.  They are moist and fudgy.

They’re the kind of brownies that make you happy to be alive and with functioning tastebuds.

The kind of brownies you want to sink your teeth into them and make teeth marks first through the frosting layer, then through the brownie layer.

I store them in the fridge because something this rich is actually better chilled, in my opinion.  Plus, with the cream cheese frosting, I think the fridge is a safer bet.

The frosting just makes you want to oooh and ahh.

Some may describe these brownies as better than sex.  I may agree.

If frosting’s your name, this one’s your game.

The Nutella swirls just add to the overall better than sex effect.

Hope you’re hungry.  These are not a “light” dessert.


From my last post about Mother’s Day and Reflections, it was wonderful hearing your heartfelt stories and fond memories about your mom.  Thank you so much for sharing those.  Truly, I was crying (Hallmark tears) at some of the lovely things you all wrote about your moms.   So touching!

And thanks for the kind things many of you told me, too!  I was blushing and honored and thank you.


1. Do you like brownies?

This is such a silly question.  Duh, yes. I love brownies but I am picky.

As I explained here:

For me, a good brownie is rich, moist, not dry, more fudgy than cakey, has a gooey center with barely crisped edges.

Frosting is optional.  Buttercream or cream cheese frosting is preferred over chocolate frosting.

And no nuts in the brownies.  Nuts in the brownies is a 100% deal breaker.  I hate nuts in baked goods!

2. Any favorite brownie recipes?  Or even storebought mixes you like?

Many of you chimed in here in the comments with your fave brownie recipes but I am all ears for more recipes.

However, not to toot my own horn too much, but these are gonna be tough to beat!

3. Any Mother’s Day plans, celebrations, or nice stories you want to share about your mom?

Feel free to gush and put a smile on my face and everyone else’s who reads your comment!  And read these comments from my Mother’s Day & Reflections post.

P.S. If you’re just catching up on posts from the weekend, here are mine since Friday:

Happy Mother’s Day!


  1. Oh my, those brownies look SENSATIONAL!

  2. I love you. It’s official. I just bought a jar of nutella, and now instead of eating it straight out of the jar with a spoon I think I’ll have to make these. Of course…yesterday I made a batch of peanut butter caramel brownies, but I’m just going to eat through them as quickly as possible so I can get to the good stuff – nutella + cream cheese…ooooohhhh yes.

  3. Happy Mother’s Day Averie! Those brownies look amazing–I love how thick the icing is! I’m picky about my brownies too: no nuts, gooey, gluten free, vegan…
    Enjoy your day!

  4. if you made these on your special day (mothers day), then you deserve a gold medal! I love all those flavors and combos.
    Here’s to you on your day averie! HUGS!

  5. mmmmm moist and fudgy. These look delicious :)

  6. I’m not home for mother’s day, but it’s ironic because my mom would LOVE these. Nutella is like a religion in my house.

    I love brownies, but like you said, I’m specific about them. Most brownies are sub-par. I like them gooey, but with chocolate chunks throughout. So good. You would have loved my cupcake last night…really soft, gooey chocolate cake with buttercream filling and chocolate cream cheese frosting. SO GOOD.

  7. These look insanely decadent! YUM.

  8. Oh my gosh, those look INSANELY fudgy!!

  9. Happy Mothers day!!! And I am with you, I hate nuts in baked goods.

  10. Happy Mothers Day and um, WOW! I have to say that I think I could taste them through the screen, GORGEOUS photos! And, they look super good. I might have to make these one day…when I need to solicit favors from my household…

  11. This line alone made me want to stick my face in a pan of these brownies:

    “They’re the kind of brownies that make you happy to be alive and with functioning tastebuds.”

    Happy Mother’s Day!

  12. Happy Mother’s Day! Those brownies look incredible. I love how the frosting is almost as thick as the brownie…that’s doing it right!

  13. Happy Mother’s Day! I’m spending the day with my mommy and family!

  14. Happy Mother’s Day, Averie! Those brownies look absolutely incredible!! My favorite recipe of all time are these coconut milk brownies:


    I double the recipe in one pan (and bake for 28-30 mins) so they’re thicker and even more fudgy and delicious. :)

  15. Those brownies look absolutely divine! I use Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Duncan Hines, etc when I’m in a hurry to make brownies for school or something, but my favorite boxed is definitely Ghirardelli. However, NOTHING compares to homemade brownies!

  16. Oh my lawd these look SO good!! I have a question — are you always 100% vegan or no?? I am just curious because you are in such great shape!! :)

    • no I am not vegan anymore. i am vegetarian but i think my being in great shape has more to do with a moderation attitude, i.e. food choices, exercise than it does with the vegan/vegetarian issue b/c i know some chubby vegans and some rockin’ in shape meat eaters….so many other variables to it all :)

    • sooo true!

  17. These look amazing, more specifically the brownie to frosting ratio. I love frosting :)

    & Nutella :)

  18. Averie! That Nutella swirl is seriously the most droolworthy thing I’ve seen on the foodie blogs in a while! My god woman! I can practically taste them… and I love cold brownies so I’m totally on board with the chilled factor! MmmmmmmmMMMMmmmmmm!!! Happy mother’s day, dear friend! xo

  19. Those do look amazing! Anything is good with Nutella in it. Mmm. My current favorite brownie is Geradelli’s (I can never spell that!) double fudge box mix. I love box brownies because they just seem to be gooier, and brownies have to be gooey!
    Can I just say that my mom is awesome? Last year for my birthday, she made me chocolate peanut butter cookie dough cheesecake. Yes. It used to be my favorite thing at the Cheesecake Factory until they discontinued it and broke my heart, so she came up with a recipe and made it for me! It was even better than the original!
    I won’t get to see her today, but I made her some artwork that I’ll give to her later and today I wrote her a Thank You post. I hope that’ll suffice till she gets her real present.

    • I picked up a box of Ghiradelli b/c it was on sale for 1.79 and almost made them! good to know that they are the best of the storeboughts. = another commenter just wrote to me about ghiradelli and i wrote that back to her.

  20. Gorgeous photos!! These look amazing.

    Happy Mother’s Day! xo

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  22. Yum! Those look so good :-) Happy Mother’s Day to you Averie! <3

  23. I love brownies — and Averie these look so damn delicious. Wow.

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  25. You’ve got discipline girl! All that yummy food and your ribs still show! You rock. Your photos are looking great!

  26. Hi! How are you? Sorry I’ve been a bit MIA- busy weekend away. The brownies look ridiculous good- so fudgy! I’m not usually a brownie person, but every once in a while I enjoy a good brownie chunk. I also love storing any/all bars/brownies in the fridge – Josh likes bars this way too. I hope you are having a WONDERFUL Mother’s day!!

  27. Happy Mother’s Day!! I hope you and Skylar have fun together. :)

  28. what a recipe!!! i, too, am very picky for brownies: no nuts; chilled in the fridge; thick buttercream frosting, desne (not light) texture.
    hope you’re having a great mother’s day, averie! i’m off to meet my mom!…

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  30. Haha, I’m a fellow picky brownie eater. It cannot in any way resemble chocolate cake! Ok, maybe some of those dense flourless chocolate cakes that will destroy your stomach if you eat more than a slice. White over dark frosting any day. Except I did have a friend who made a badass nutella frosting. For Christmas she added peppermints. They were officially the crackiest of so-called crack brownies I’d ever tasted. And chilled is -always- best for brownies. Mine dwell in my freezer like little elves, ready to deliver chocolate goodness.

    Your brownies look smexy! So if they’re better than sex, I guess the best procedure is to have sex then eat one afterward? That would just be taking things to the next level? Teehee!

    I noticed you have eggs in your recipe. Was that one of the foods you used to have problems with? Just curious — I don’t mean to pry :-)

    Oh, and I did a pantry clean-out and made your Mango & Balsamic dish, with quinoa and lentils. My mango chutney had pickled rhubarb in it, so it was deliciously sweet and sour. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    • “My mango chutney had pickled rhubarb in it, so it was deliciously sweet and sour. ”
      Oh wow, sounds amazing!!

      Brownies.Sex.Bottle of champagne. Something like that. And you’ll hit all the bases that way :)

  31. Happy mother’s day! :]

  32. What gorgeous photographs! I want to eat my screen.
    I am in LOVE with this brownie recipe : http://www.figswithbri.com/?p=68 — They use minimal flour, COCONUT oil, and are moist fudgey and awesome with or without frosting. Plus, quick and easy to make. I haven’t tried them with raw cacao nibs yet as the post suggests, but I bet cream cheese frosting would be over the top :)

  33. My favourite brownie recipe – easily has to be Mary Berry’s from her self titles cook book. It’s a no fail recipe … honest

  34. MMM!! these look delicious… coincidently, April made my mom black-bean brownies yesterday.. too bad I didn’t see this sooner, I could’ve beat her to it!! JK. There’s always Fathers Day!

    Happy mothers day!! Hope you and Skylar have fun :)

  35. oMG, these look sooooo good! And the pictures are perfect. I might have to bake something today; I am crazy about cream cheese frosting!!! Yummmm

  36. i love brownies! but they must be fudgy in the center and sort of flakey on the outside. i cannot stand a brownie that’s dry in the middle :( no plans for today, i took a raincheck since my mom was too busy.

  37. Dear Averie,
    I must say that as a vegan and as someone with serious dairy, egg, and wheat allergies – I used to adore your blog. However, I’m quite disappointed by your recent shift away from veganism (and occasionally gluten-free) recipes. I understand that whether or not to be vegan is a personal choice – I’m not here to condemn you for your actions, to each their own I suppose. But, while I used to look forward to reading your posts and discovering whatever new recipes you dreamed up – I can no longer do so. While these brownies may be delicious, I would never make them and reading about a recipe such as this does not appeal to me. Hopefully we will see a resurgence of vegan (and gluten-free!) recipes in the future?

    • My dietary choices have ebbed and flowed over the course of my life and in the past two weeks I have shown chocolate kale chips, avocado smoothie, cheater’s guacamole, chocolate coconut cashew butter. All vegan and GF.

      So yes, I still make tons of vegan and GF food.

      I also make some desserts that are not. Not everyone has food restrictions and some people enjoy these recipes.

      I hope you don’t write off my blog entirely b/c as I just mentioned, there’s still plenty of vegan/GF food featured.

    • Instead of criticizing her content, why not try to make a vegan or GF version of this recipe (or others)? Recipes like this are a starting point – get creative.

  38. I am a brownie purist. It needs to be rich, fudgy and sweet. I am not a nuts girl or chips or anything. And as much as I love frosting, I don’t like it on my brownies.

    That said – the brownies look phenomenal. And hell, if you are going to frost them, do it up. And you did; brownie layer as thick as frosting layer? That’s the way.

    Also, your measurements might be off – 3/4 cup is 1 1 /2 sticks of butter, right?

    • i know you’re a purist but yes the frosting that’s almost as thick as the brownie, it just works.

      thanks for that catch. 3/4 c IS 1.5 sticks. you’re the scientist and the one good with numbers. I need more sleep, clearly :) haha!

  39. This might be a really stupid question… but is that your work surface the butter’s on?!
    I can’t believe I looked past the amazing beauty of those brownies to notice it but it looks lovely; really different :-)
    The brownies though *drool* I completely agree with your good brownie checklist; I tried a gluten-free one today that was just this side of mousselike in texture and it was amazing….
    How have I never topped brownies with cream cheese icing though – I need to do something about that!

  40. Ooh, and happy Mother’s Day!

  41. Oh my! Those looks just too good! I wish you where my mom ;)

  42. Okay, first that piece of art Skylar made you for mother’s day is SO sweet!! I loved the photo on it too. And for the record, my mom is the strongest person I know. I’ve watched her go through SO much shit, and still come out sane and strong. She’s a rock. And always full of wise advice.

    But the real reason why I’m commenting on this post is because those brownies are out of this word. Chocolate fudge + nutella + cream cheese = I’ve just died and gone to heaven.

  43. Awesome brownie recipe, these look great! And happy Mother’s Day to you!

    1. Sure, I actually like raw ones more now.
    2. Chocolate mint or chocolate and nut butter.
    3. Took my mom to brunch, then shopped – not a bad day. :-)

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  45. Question: What made you decide to switch from vegan to vegetarian? I’m seriously struggling because, while part of me thinks being vegan will be healthier, I enjoy eating yogurt/some cheese/eggs. I don’t know if I should do what I think is better for my health, or eat things that I enjoy eating.

    • I enjoy cooking with real butter and eggs from time to time and therefore, veggie not vegan. I really don’t overthink labels too much. I just cook and eat with what I am wanting and lately, that’s been with some eggs or butter. But I mean, if I use 3 eggs in an entire month, that’s a big month :)

      Just do what you feel you’ll be happy with. Lift the self imposed rules (and chains) and just be free to make choices that make you happy is my advice :)

  46. Happy Mother’s Day Averie!! Omg those nutella brownies look amazing, how delish! :D

  47. I have the bowls that match your plates from Target! I just can’t resist those cute and cheerful little things :D And also, I love brownies! Especially undercooked and super moist and fudgy. I use yogurt as the fat substitute in them and its absolutely delicious.

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