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These homemade cosmic brownies are even better than store-bought! Rich, fudgy brownies are topped with a creamy chocolate ganache and candy coated chocolate chips. They’re easy to make from scratch and not just for lunchbox treats!
Most of us remember cosmic brownies as the lunchbox treat from our childhood. You know… that classic chocolate treat, covered in delicious fudge icing and rainbow-colored candy-coated chocolate chips.
They were a coveted item. One that definitely couldn’t be traded for. Just like Oatmeal Creme Pies.
WHAT IS A COSMIC BROWNIE?
Cosmic brownies are just one of the many bakery treats originally created by Little Debbie®.
They are simply a chewy brownie topped with fudge icing and colorful candy coated chocolate pieces that add a fun crunch to the chocolate lovers’ treat.
I will occasionally buy a pack of cosmic brownies for my own kids’ lunchboxes. But have you had one recently? Honestly, they aren’t as delicious as I remember them.
Maybe it’s just the nostalgia of this classic treat that I adore, or my tastebuds have matured.
The concept is still good and I knew they could be made better at home, so I’ve created my own copycat cosmic brownies.
I don’t think I will ever go back to the packs unless I’m in a pinch.
COSMIC BROWNIES RECIPE
There’s no skimping on quality ingredients in this cosmic brownies recipe.
For the brownies you will need:
- Granulated Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
- Cocoa Powder (I love Hershey’s Special Dark)
- All-Purpose Flour
- Baking Powder
The chocolate icing is made of a simple, two-ingredient ganache:
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
- Heavy Cream
Do NOT go with the cheap stuff! If you want a creamy ganache, quality chocolate chips are a must. Guittard or Ghirardelli, preferably.
Otherwise you will want to buy chocolate baking bars in the same weight, and chop them up before use.
PRO TIP: These brownies are best stored in the fridge, especially during the hot summer months. If you make the brownies on a hot day and leave them at room temperature, the frosting can get quite soft.
WHERE TO GET RAINBOW CHIPS
The final ingredient that makes these just like little debbie cosmic brownies is:
- Rainbow-Colored Candy-Coated Chocolate Chips
These can be found in the baking aisle near the sprinkles. Popular brands include Betty Crocker, Wilton, or Great Value. You can also get Rainbow Candy Coated Chips on Amazon.
Mini M&M’s will also work in a pinch, but DO NOT skip the candy coated morsels. Not only are they colorful and fun to look at, they add a delicious crunch to the cosmic brownies.
WHAT MAKES BROWNIES FUDGY VS CAKEY?
Fudgy brownies are moist, and quite dense, similar to fudge, but not quite as compact. Cakey brownies, like the name implies, are light, thick, and slightly fluffy.
Fudgy brownies, like these cosmic brownies, will have more fat, less flour, and little to no leavening (baking powder) than a cakey brownie.
Cakey brownies will typically cream the butter and sugar together, which creates a lighter, airy texture — compared to fudgy brownies that start with melted butter, or oil.
BAKING AND STORAGE:
- How can you tell if brownies are done? Use a toothpick to test the brownies in the center of the pan. When the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs, the brownies are done. If it’s still wet and gooey with batter, keep baking. If the toothpick comes out totally clean, you’ve over-baked the brownies.
- How long to cosmic brownies last? Due to the ganache icing, these cosmic brownies are best covered and stored in the refrigerator up to 5 days. You can enjoy them cold, or allow the brownies sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before consuming to take the chill off.
MORE GREAT LUNCHBOX TREATS
- Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies
- Baked Peanut Butter Bars
- Chewy Rice Krispie Treats Recipe
- Homemade Oreo Cookies
- M&M Cookie Recipe
- S’mores Rice Krispie Treats
- Raspberry Bars with fresh raspberries
- Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hershey's Special Dark)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (stir, spoon & level)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips; about 2 cups (use high quality brand)
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp candy coated chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
- In a large microwaveable bowl, melt butter. Stir in sugar and vanilla with a spoon. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add cocoa; mix completely. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; mix well. Pour batter into prepared baking dish and spread evenly.
- Bake at 350˚F for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean (with only a few moist crumbs) and the edges are pulling away from the sides of the pan. Cool completely.
- FOR THE GANACHE ICING: Place chocolate chips in a large heat safe bowl. Warm heavy cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat until simmering. Pour hot cream over chocolate chips and stir vigorously until smooth and blended. Immediately pour ganache over cooled brownies and spread evenly.
- Place brownies in the fridge for 15-20 minutes or until ganache is almost set. Then sprinkle with candy coated chocolate chips. Return to fridge to set ganache completely. Cut into squares and serve.
- Due to the ganache icing, these cosmic brownies are best covered and stored in the refrigerator up to 5 days. You can enjoy them cold, or allow the brownies sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before consuming to take the chill off.