Homemade Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies

Growing up, I loved Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies and Cosmic Brownies so much.

Show me a box of either, and I could show you a pile of cellophane wrappers minutes later.

Homemade Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies - Recipe at averiecooks.com

Although it’s been years since I’ve had a storebought Cosmic Brownie, I had a craving for them and decided to try my hand at a homemade version.

This isn’t the first Little Debbie snack I’ve recreated. A few months ago I made Homemade Little Debbie Star Crunch and recently posted a collection of 25 Copycat Recipes. Apparently I like trying to re-invent the wheel.

MY OTHER RECIPES

Homemade Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies - Recipe at averiecooks.com

In terms of authenticity, I give them an 8 out of 10, with easy tweaks noted below to bring that score higher.

In terms of being a fabulous brownie overall, I give them a 10 out of 10. This brownie base is likely to become my new go-to. I loved everything about these brownies.

I created this brownie base by adapting my two favorite brownie bases, Fudgy Nutella Brownies and The Ultimate Fudgy Caramel Brownies. I’d like to make all 3 at once and do side-by-side comparisons, and I’ll get to that right after I budget in money for a new pants wardrobe.

Homemade Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies - Recipe at averiecooks.com

Both of my previous brownie bases use melted butter and a whisk, so they come together in minutes in own bowl, without needing a mixer. From there, I took my favorite things from each recipe – such as a 9×9 pan and using both brown and granulated sugars from Fudgy Nutella; and two eggs, cocoa powder, and espresso powder from The Ultimate.

The brownies are dark, dense, rich, the edges are just a bit chewy, with a moist and ultra-fudgy interior. There’s zero traces of cakiness and the fudge factor reigns supreme.

Homemade Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies - Recipe at averiecooks.com

I love the recipe and don’t want to change a thing but in order to make them more authentic, use natural unsweetened cocoa powder rather than Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder,  and increase the flour by about 1/4 cup. Cosmic Brownies aren’t as dark and are slightly more cakey, but I prefer darker and fudgier to lighter and cakier.

Baking them in a 9×9 pan was my preference, but if you want brownies closer to the real deal, use a 9×13 pan. I don’t like brownies that are on the thin side.

Homemade Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies - Recipe at averiecooks.com

The ganache layer is a bit thicker and when it comes to chocolate, thicker and more is better in my book, but use less if you wish.

I used more M&M minis than you’d find on Cosmic Brownies because skimpy isn’t an option. Note that when using M&Ms, they fade. The same thing happened when I made this Frozen Chocolate Pudding and Wafer Cake. The color starts leeching out as they sit on top of chocolate or post-refrigeration when coming back up to room temp. Not a huge deal, but something to mention.

Homemade Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies - Recipe at averiecooks.com

The benefit is that as they sit on the ganache, they soften a bit and become chewy rather than crunchy. The texture of chewy M&Ms is just fabulous and is like nothing I’ve ever had, which more than makes up for their slightly muted color.

As the ganache sets up, it remains soft and firms up just enough to not make a total mess when slicing the brownies. I hate it when the top layer of chocolate cracks, and this isn’t that kind of chocolate.

Homemade Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies - Recipe at averiecooks.com

Upon biting into a dense yet chewy brownie, soft ganache squishes and almost squirts between your teeth. And there’s chewy, ganache-softened M&M’s.

It’s the best texture party ever. Ever.

Homemade Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies - Recipe at averiecooks.com

I may be biased, but these are way better than Cosmic Brownies.

And quite possibly, they’re the best brownies I’ve ever had.

Homemade Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies - Recipe at averiecooks.com

Homemade Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies - If you've never had a Cosmic Brownie, change that asap! If you have, then you know how dangerously good it is to be able to make them at home!

Homemade Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies

I’ve always loved Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies and this homemade version is even better than the real thing. The brownies are dark, dense, and rich. The edges are just a bit chewy, with a moist and ultra-fudgy interior. There’s zero traces of cakiness and the fudge factor reigns supreme. They’re fast and easy to make, and come together in minutes in one bowl, without a mixer. The ganache is the perfect rich and luxurious compliment to the intensely chocolaty brownies. They’re quite possibly they’re the best brownies I’ve ever had.

Ingredients:

For the Brownies
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons coffee or water (coffee leftover from the morning brew is fine)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder or dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
1 teaspoon instant espresso granules (make sure it’s instant so it dissolves), optional but recommended
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

For the Ganache
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup half-and-half or cream (I used half-and-half)
1 cup M&M minis (they’re sold in small tubes and I used 1 1/2 tubes; regular size M&Ms may be substituted)

Directions:

  1. For the Brownies – Preaheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large, microwave safe bowl, melt the butter, about 90 seconds on high power.
  3. Add the eggs, sugars, coffee, vanilla, and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the cocoa powder, instant espresso, and whisk until incorporated, free from lumps, and smooth. It could take a few minutes if your cocoa powder is lumpy.
  5. Add the flour and stir until it’s just incorporated; don’t overmix.
  6. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula. Bake for 25 to 29 minutes, or until top has just set, isn’t jiggly in the center, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few fudgy moist crumbs, but no batter. I baked mine for 26 minutes. Allow brownies to cool completely in pan. While brownies cool, make the ganache.
  7. For the Ganache – Add chocolate chips to a medium, microwave-safe bowl and heat on high power for 1 minute to soften chips. They won’t be melted, this is okay. Don’t stir; set bowl aside.
  8. Heat cream in a glass measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl until it begins to bubble and show signs of just beginning to boiling, about 1 minute on high power.
  9. Pour cream over chocolate chips and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
  10. With a whisk, beat mixture until silky, smooth, and combined. If your mixture isn’t smoothing out, heat in 15-second bursts in the microwaves until it can be stirred smooth.
  11. Pour ganache over mostly cooled brownies (after about 30 minutes is fine; they don’t have to be completely cooled). Smooth ganache lightly with a spatula or offset knife.
  12. Evenly sprinkle with M&Ms. Cover pan with a sheet of foil to prevent fridge smells, and place pan in refrigerator until ganache sets up before slicing and serving, at least 2 hours. Do not slice into them until the ganache has set; feel free to make these in advance and store them in the fridge; they get better with time. Brownies will keep airtight for 1 week at room temperature, for 2 weeks in the refrigerator, and for up to 6 months in the freezer. I highly recommend storing them in the refrigerator because having a slight chill to brownies this rich and fudgy is almost imperative.

Recipe from Averie Cooks. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.

Only Eats

Related Recipes:

Homemade Little Debbie Star Crunch (no-bake)

25+ Copycat Recipes

Butterfinger Bars (No-Bake, with Vegan & GF options)

Ritz Cracker Stuffed Peanut Butter Cups (No-Bake, Vegan)

Fudgy Nutella Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting

The Ultimate Fudgy Caramel Brownies

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache – The best, fastest, and easiest chocolate cake

Soft and Chewy Brownie Cookies

Frozen Chocolate Pudding and Wafer Cake (No-Bake, 3 ingredients)

Cosmic Brownie Fan? Other favorite storebought treats you grew up eating?

I know there will be some people who say they’ve never tried a real Cosmic Brownie. Well, now you can just make these instead.

Thanks for the entries in the Peanut Butter Comfort Cookbook and KitchenAid Hand Blender Giveaway and in the Favorite Mini & Petite Treats and Cookbook Giveaway

191 comments on “Homemade Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies”

  1. I used to LOVE Cosmic Brownies!
    Next, please conquer Zebra Cakes. K?

  2. I am ashamed to admit, I have never had a cosmic brownie before. Cakey doesn’t do it for me. This recipe though looks as if it produces a rich and a fudgy brownie more up my ally.

  3. Oh wow, I can’t get over how dark and fudgey these look! I’ve never had cosmic brownies as we don’t get Little Debbie here, but looking at these, I’m feeling left out!

  4. These bring back memories of middle school. Well…memories of wishing my mom bought these for my sister and me! Now I can make them for myself! :)

  5. These look absolutely AMAZING! One question though, is there any coffee taste if you use the espresso? or does it bake away?

    • Every time I post to add coffee or espresso, I get asked this…and no, it does not in any way make the brownies taste like coffee. It intensifies that deep, dark cocoa taste and should not be missed. Enjoy!

  6. I’ve never had a Little Debbie product before so I wouldn’t have a point for comparison with these, but I’m sure that your recipe would kick the butt out of any packaged, produced brownie. Gah – these look amazing! I love adding coffee to chocolate recipes – it always intensifies that deep, dark cocoa taste.

    • it always intensifies that deep, dark cocoa taste = you got that right. And every time I post it, I always get questions about people wondering if the finished product tastes like coffee.

  7. Now that’s delicious, the more fudge the better! Also great is all goes in one bowl and no mixer, saves on clean up.
    I might eat one at a time, not triple as in the one picture :) I have regular M & M’s so that will do.

    • One at a time is plenty :) They’re wonderfully rich. And cleanup is a breeze. One bowl! LMK how they turn out for you!

      • I actually made 2 batches Averie :) both batches I clarified the butter. one batch was same as your recipe, and was very fudgey, so delicious my Son loved them. The second batch I doubled the espresso and added a little extra vanilla extract, a little less sugar and added some honey. Truth be told the original recipe was better, but I like to experiment. Thanks for the recipe, my Son also thanks you :)

      • I love that within 12 hours of the post going live, you had already made TWO batches of brownies! Glad you found that my original recipe was the winner :) I think that if you want to play around with them, I would increase the ratio brown sugar, using more brown than granulated, rather than add honey; just because I know honey can be tricky to bake with to get the results you want. But I loved them as written so for once, I’m done tweaking! If you fiddle around, LMK what becomes of it! Or if you try my other 2 fave brownie recipes that I linked, LMK!

  8. I made cosmic brownies a year or so ago – yours look much, much better! Darker and fudgier, yes! :D

  9. Haven’t tasted debbie cosmic brownies before, but these little fudgey deliciousness is something I need in my life. Now!

  10. Oh wow – I used to eat Cosmic Brownies a lot as a kid, but these…these look SO much better! I’m definitely bookmarking these to try sometime.

  11. Oh my goodness. I can’t believe you recreated Cosmic brownies. I love love LOVE cosmic brownies. I could eat an entire box in one sitting. Seriously, this recipe is a dream come true. And those are the fudgiest brownies I have ever seen in my entire life! You have really outdone yourself Averie!

  12. Can you believe I’ve never had Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies and Cosmic Brownies?! This is what happens when you grow up in a VERY traditional Korean household.

    Anyway, that just means that I MUST make the homemade version. And dude, your brownies look like absolute perfection!

  13. Averie, these look killer! I am a total brownie junkie and you have me craving one in a bad way right now! Yum!

  14. Hey Averie! I have been so busy with Seraphim’s high school graduation that it has been a while since I have been able to catch up on your blog! These Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies look so delicious! Oooh! I never had a Little Debbie product growing up and apparently I have missed out. I like how fudgy these look. Amazing as always, Averie! :-)

    • Congrats to you and to him for this huge milestone! I can only imagine how busy you must have been the past few weeks. I was thinking about you, wondering what was up…ahhh, now I know! Major congrats xoxo

  15. I’m a secret Little Debbie addict – I’m always afraid to buy them in the store, because what if I’m spotted by a blog reader buying a processed food? Horrors! I send my husband for them instead ;) These look even better than LD’s own Averie!

    • It’s like going to the store for tampons. We all need them. I say own it :) But I know what you mean. It never fails when I go on a butter, 3 kinds of sugar, and processed snack food trip to the groc store and my cart is stacked to the max with fat, sugar, and grease, that’s when I bump into someone I know! Never on the kale runs :)

  16. I absolutely adore texture parties–although I have to admit that I’ve never tried a Little Debbie snack before. This looks absolutely delectable–next on my to-make list for sure! Thanks, Averie!

  17. Ahhh!! Nostalgia at its best. Zebra cakes were my ultimate fav Little Debbie treat growing up, but cosmic brownies were right up there near the top as well. These look amazingly dense and fudgy – I’ve been meaning to make a good brownie and will need to mark your recipe because it looks and sounds perfect.

  18. I used to eat these ALL the time in high school (oops). I also really loved the zebra cakes, but they always made me feel sick after. Either way, these look amazing. PINNING. Def one of my favs from you!

  19. Wow Averie, those brownies look so divine!!

  20. These look super awesome and fudgy! And they must be with all the butter. Not sure I’ve seen a recipe for a 9 inch pan with that much butter.

    • That’s actually pretty standard with brownies! My fudgy nutella uses the same, and it’s a 9-inch pan; and the Ultimate (which is from Alice Medrich and has literally 1000+ comments on the smittenkitchen post about it, 6000 comments on allrecipes, etc.) it uses 1 1/4 sticks for an 8-inch pan, so the ratios are the same. You could of course bake them as 9×13 but I don’t like thin little wimpy brownies :)

  21. Every time I eat Little Debbies I feel 5 years old again. What a fun and colorful recipe!

  22. Oh my! Your pictures are gorgeous! Makes me want to make these right now. :)

  23. Cosmic brownies were the best :) this recipe is amazing!

  24. i was an oatmeal creme pie girl all the way! these look amazing!

  25. I don’t think I’ve ever had a little debbie brownie, but one look at these and I know I’m going to be hooked.

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