Cakey or fudgy? Crunchy on the outside or gooey all over? Topped with pecans or doused with ice cream? No matter how you take your brownie, you'll be sure to find your perfect match (and maybe a new favourite!) in our roundup of the best brownie recipes.
If you're anything like us, your love for brownies goes back to your childhood and the hot, gooey homemade batch your mom would whip up. You couldn't wait for it to cool even a little before taking a forkful and would soon be begging for seconds. And then there were the sundae-topped brownies you'd order for dessert at your local restaurant. Complete with vanilla ice cream that melted down the sides of the brownie, whipped cream, chocolate fudge, and a cherry, this was dessert at its finest—or at least, child-approved finest. And so, it should come as no surprise that this classic comfort treat still remains one of our most beloved desserts today.
From the overload of chocolate to the gooey texture, there's plenty to love about brownies. But in case you need another reason, here it is: They're easy to make and easy to take to a decadent—or even more decadent—new level.
For those who favour fruit in their desserts, whip up a batch of brownies that boasts banana and coconut, chunks of cherry, or rhubarb and cream cheese. For the ones who like brownies extra sweet, load them up with chocolate chunks or toffee bits. Looking for an extra dose of flavour? Add plenty of peanuts, top them with caramel popcorn or add some Irish cream to the batter.
Flip through the slideshow for the top recipes, and get ready to discover a new beloved version of your favourite, classic treat.
Chopped banana chips and toasted coconut flakes make these dark, fudgy brownies extra special.
Get the recipe: Dark and Delicious Banana Coconut Brownies
For your go-to brownie recipe, look no further than this classic version. Deck your batch out in your favourite toppings, or simply serve it with a dollop of whipped cream.
Get the recipe: The Best Chocolate Brownies
These holiday-ready brownie bites are loaded with chocolate—including milk, dark and white. For a cakey texture, bake for an additional 7–10 minutes.
Get the recipe: Triple-Chocolate Reindeer Bites
The combination of rich dark chocolate and a sublte crunch from chopped toffee bars is what makes these the best brownies you'll ever make.
Get the recipe: The Best Chocolate Toffee Brownies
Sure to please every chocoholic, these brownies are so chocolaty that there's no need for icing.
Get the recipe: Super Chocolate Chunk Fudge Brownies
Crunchy peanuts, fudgy chocolate and a smooth ganache topping—what more could you ask for in a brownie?
Get the recipe: Peanut Explosion Brownies
Brown butter icing adds a rich nuttiness to these brownies and enhances the buttered popcorn flavour of the topping.
Get the recipe: Caramel Popcorn Brownie Bites
Sweet glacé cherries and vivid pink icing give these sumptuous brownies a nostalgic retro look.
Get the recipe: Cherry Chocolate Chunk Brownies
These enticing squares blend the flavours of moist banana bread and cakey brownies.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Banana Brownies
A sweetened cream cheese swirl ties the unexpectedly delicious combination of chocolate and rhubarb together in these soft, chewy brownies.
Get the recipe: Rhubarb Cream Cheese Brownies
A double dose of chocolate—creamy milk and decadent dark—makes these moist brownies unbelievably gooey and indulgent.
Get the recipe: Dark and Milk Chocolate Brownies
These little treats are topped with a rich Irish cream–flavoured ganache.
Get the recipe: Irish Cream Brownie Bites
Lemony Red Pepper and Asparagus Pasta Salad <br> Photography by Joe Kim Image by: Lemony Red Pepper and Asparagus Pasta Salad <br> Photography by Joe Kim
Planning a picnic or family barbecue anytime soon? Give yourself one less thing to worry about and go for one of our easy pasta salad recipes. It's sure to be a hit!
Pasta salads are great to make ahead, and are absolute tops for large groups. They also take the cake for being an extremely versatile dish – with a host of added ingredients, toppings and dressings, simple pasta salads can go from humble side to star entrée in no time.
We asked Test Kitchen food specialist Amanda Barnier to share some top tips for preparing pasta salads, and why they're a crowd favourite. Here's what she had to share:
Pasta salads: the perfect make-ahead dish
"Pasta salads can easily be prepped in advance and can feed a crowd with little effort," Amanda says. "It can be made in advance and cooled immediately after cooking."
One important tip to remember, she adds, is to "add dressing the day it's being served, because it will quickly absorb the dressing."
Pasta salad favourites
"I like using cheese filled tortellini for a hearty salad. Soba and rice noodles are great with Asian dressings, whole grain and coloured pastas," Amanda says.
How to store pasta salads
"Keep salads well wrapped and refrigerated," she says. "Salad has the same storage life as its ingredients. Seafood is best eaten within 2 days, and chicken (within) 2 to 3 days. If traveling, be sure to store pasta salads in coolers packed with lots of ice."
"Proteins should not be within 4 C and 60 C for longer than a four hour period," she adds.
The long and short of it: best pasta shapes
"Short shapes are best with vinaigrettes and creamy dressings, and chunky ingredients such as chopped vegetables and beans," Amanda says.
"Long pasta shapes are better used with thinly sliced vegetables, proteins, herbs, spices and vinaigrettes."
Tips for making pasta salad
"If making a pasta salad in advance, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and drain well," she advises. "Add dressing just prior to serving. Pasta quickly absorbs liquids; if the dressing is added too soon, the pasta will absorb it."
So whether you prefer chunky pasta salads with a cool, creamy dressing perfect for summer picnics, or entrée-worthy pasta salads with long rice noodles and a tangy vinaigrette, you're sure to find a new favourite with from our collection.
Easy pasta salad recipes:
Lemony Red Pepper and Asparagus Pasta Salad
A bright vinaigrette makes this pasta salad the ultimate dish to serve at any summer party.
Photography by Joe Kim
Mediterranean Orzo Salad
This salad highlights many fresh flavours of the Mediterranean and is at its best when made with good-quality olive oil.
Photography by Jeff Coulson
The Best Macaroni Salad
This is a great keeper salad and perfect for a picnic or BBQ. Just make sure you pack it with plenty of ice packs to keep it nice and cold, both during transportation and at the table.
Photography by Annabelle Waugh
Chicken, Broccoli and Bocconcini Pasta Salad
Make this pasta salad for the whole family—the kids will love the mild dressing and round bocconcini cheese, while the adults will appreciate it as a light alternative to a sandwich.
Photography by Jeff Coulson
More great pasta salad recipes:
Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad
This salad is simple to assemble for a quick family meal.
Warm Spinach and Ham Pasta Salad
Dressed with Dijon mustard and white wine vinegar, this penne pasta salad is a winner topped with goat cheese and cherry tomatoes.
Winter Vegetable Pasta Salad
Cook everything together in one pot for this easy warm salad.
Pea, Pepper and Pasta Salad
This make-ahead salad is perfect for toting to a potluck barbecue or picnic. Toss the salad with the dressing right before serving so the peas stay bright green.
Summer Pasta Salad
Serve this light summery salad with crispy, homemade Parmesan Breadsticks.
Mediterranean Fusilli Salad
Fresh basil, hearty beans, piquant sun-dried tomatoes and al dente pasta make the perfect summer salad.
Warm Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Salad
The dressing lends a taste of summer any time of year. The red peppers provide vitamins A and C and potassium. Quick and easy to make, this salad is perfect to take to a last-minute potluck or picnic.
Grilled Sausage, Pepper and Bocconcini Pasta Salad
This delicious pasta salad is made with tasty Italian sausage and lots of colourful peppers.
Bow-Tie Pasta Salad
This easy, colourful salad has the sunny fresh tastes of Greece.
Tuna Pasta Salad
Using tuna packed in both oil and broth means you'll need less oil in the dressing.
Salmon Pasta Salad
Start with melon wedges to whet your appetite for this quick and light dinner.
Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad
Grilled market-fresh veggies meet marinated olives and artichokes in this healthy dish made with whole wheat rotini. So chock full with taste and texture, carnivores won't complain about this vegetarian dish.
Party Parmesan Pasta Salad
Try this hearty salad studded with salami, olives, tiny tomatoes, roasted pepper and fresh basil.
Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad
This easy tasty pasta salad is loaded with calcium. Omit the banana peppers if your child is not a fan of hot food.
Deli Pasta Salad
Add 1-1/4 cups (300 mL) extra pasta to the pot at dinner the night before to have enough for this lunchtime salad the next day.
Sirloin Steak with Green Bean Pasta Salad
Sirloin steaks paired with green beans and tomatoes make this salad a hearty entrée.
Looking for more great recipes? Try our best potato salad recipes.
Cherry Icebox Cookies
Any of these traditional cookies are sure to be a hit at your cookie exchange.
These red and green-speckled cookies are the perfect way to spread the festive spirit.
Get the recipe: Cherry Icebox Cookies
Everyone loves chewy toffee and melted chocolate. Mixing the two into a net little shortbread cup is a brilliant way to unite these two decadent treats.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Toffee Shortbread Cups
Canada, meet your new favourite cookie.
Get the recipe: Maple Shortbread
Eggnog is a rich indulgence, and these cookies live up to the name.
Get the recipe: Iced Eggnog Cookies
The holidays wouldn't be complete without sweet, buttery shortbread, so we've perfected a classic.
Get the recipe: The Ultimate Shortbread Cookies
Buttery shortbread gets a warm hug from spiced gingerbread dough in this mash-up of two favourite holiday cookies.
Get the recipe: Two-Tone gingerbread and shortbread cookies
Tested Till Perfect.
Get the recipe: Gingerbread Cookies
Rich dark chocolate and fragrant orange zest make these cookies ultra-sophisticated.
Get the recipe: Dark Chocolate, Orange and Cardamon Icebox cookies
Sweet chocolate chips and crunchy toffee bits give these buttery cookies a festive touch.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Toffee Icebox Cookies
Easy to make and undeniably popular, thumbprint cookies are the perfect no-fuss holiday sweet.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
These cookies may look intricate, but they couldn't be simpler to make.
Get the recipe: Mint Chocolate Chip Icebox Cookies
Cinnamon and sugar make these cookies smell like everyone's favourite holiday breakfast.
Get the recipe: Cinnamon Roll Cookies
Use this classic ginger cookie dough to create four deliciously different ginger cookies.
Get the recipe: Basic Ginger Cookie Dough
Coarse sugar coats these delightful cookies, giving them an icy glow.
Get the recipe: Chewy Ginger Sparkles
Similar to French shortbread cookies called sables, these treats have a slightly sandy texture and rich flavour.
Get the recipe: Double Chocolate Icebox Cookies
Think about some of your warmest memories—drinking wine and reminiscing with girlfriends, chatting with your mom while she whips up a batch of your favourite muffins, having a dinner date that leads to cocktails that leads to stargazing by the water because neither of you want the night to end—that’s hygge. It’s finding happiness in the every day, and all you need to be able to attain it is to know about it.
Some say the Danish word is pronounced “hooga” but according to Marie Tourell Søderberg, author of Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness, it’s like this: The “y” is similar to the French “y” sound—think “huge,” and the “gge” sounds like the first syllable in “girl.” But, it doesn’t really matter how you say "hygge"—you just need to get it. And to get it, you need to know where it comes from.
Hygge originates from a Norwegian word that means “well-being,” and in English, it means “coziness,” but it’s much more than that. Hygge is appreciating the little things in life. It’s “all the small things that make us feel safe, loved and satisfied,” says Søderberg. Hygge is doing things with warmth and joy, being present in the moment, and having a feeling of home—in other words, the Danish way of life.
Denmark is ranked as one of the happiest nations in the world, and hygge is likely an “ingredient in the Danish recipe for happiness,” says author Meik Wiking in his book, The Little Book of Hygge. Compared to other Europeans, Danes “meet most often with their friends and family and feel the calmest and most peaceful.” And that’s why there’s a growing interest in hygge.
Books on the subject are quickly filling up store shelves—a simple Indigo search will pull up more than five books on hygge, all of which have come out in the later half of 2016 (including Søderberg’s and Wiking’s) or will be coming out in the early months of 2017—just in time for winter, which is pretty much the reason why hygge exists.
In her book, Søderberg says, “It originated due to the need to create joy, warmth and togetherness in a country that boasts long, cold winters”—something Canadians can relate to. Hygge encourages you to embrace the cold months instead of waiting for the sun to shine again. But, anyone, anywhere, can enjoy the benefits of hygge any time of year, as it’s all about sharing moments with those you love, indulging in comfort foods, and taking in the sights and sounds around you.
Understanding hygge and having a name for it helps you recognize it and look for it in your day-to-day life. “Including it in our daily narratives and language makes us aware of the qualities of the word. Saying, ‘let’s hygge tonight,’ states a clear intention of what qualities we want our evening to have—presence, lovingness, relaxed, informal—all these qualities in one word,” says Søderberg.
Intimate candlelit dinner parties, mulled wine by a fire and ice skating under twinkling lights are classic hygge moments, but it can also be found when you're not expecting it. Hygge can happen in the least hyggelig (the adjective form of “hygge”) locations or in those in-between moments throughout your day—like when you're hiding from the rain under an awning with a friend, listening to a sax player as you wait for the next subway to arrive, or laughing with your sister over the phone.
Although hygge can happen anywhere, the most common place for it is at home, so it helps to make your living quarters feel warm, safe and welcoming—think candles, warm textiles and plenty of personal touches. In Søderberg’s book, she shares decorating advice from Nordic interior design expert Christina B. Kjeldsen: “The hygge comes when you feel that the person behind the surroundings is completely comfortable with his or her choices, but at the same time isn’t afraid of decorating intuitively and trying out new things and ideas…When you put thoughtfulness into how and why you have chosen to surround yourself with particular furniture, objects, art, flowers, knick-knacks, curtains—whatever—then you relax and your guests will see and know you for who you are.”
But, it’s important not to feel pressure to create a perfect space or occasion and force hygge. Decorate your space for you and not how you think it should be, and let moments unfold naturally—something that can be all too rare in this social media age. Søderberg warns, “The most hyggelig evening can look like a disaster in a picture, and opposite—the least hyggelig can look like a perfect evening.” But, if you have a true hyggling moment, it’ll be a “piece of art to capture the exact sense of an atmosphere in a photo.”
So, keep hygge on your mind. Make plans to hygge, be present in every moment, and soak up life's glories. And if you do, you’ll be gifted with the ability to, as Søderberg says, “[find] the magic in the ordinary.”