Brownies typically fall within a range of cake-like to fudgy and everyone has their preferences. These German Chocolate Brownies are my personal favorite — they’re incredibly moist and fudgy with all of the pecan and coconut frosting goodness.
Let it be known, though, that there is nothing related to German heritage that inspired these brownies (or their popular cousin, the OG chocolate cake that bears the same name). In fact, the cake itself — the inspiration for these brownies — was created in Texas in the 1950’s.
So why are chocolatey desserts like cakes and brownies, slathered with creamy coconut and pecan frosting, labeled German?
What is German Chocolate?
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The real reason that German chocolate brownies and cakes are called that is thanks to Samuel German. In 1852, he invented the specific sweet style of baking chocolate for now-well-known Baker’s chocolate company.
The company honored his sweet baking chocolate concoction by making it eponymous. Then, the Texan baker of the German chocolate cake made it famous, using that chocolate to make her cake.
While German chocolate is akin to semisweet chocolate, it has a higher sugar content. It may be somewhat lighter on the chocolate flavor, but in recipes like this one it works well with the thick frosting to make an amazingly decadent dessert.
Get Your Chocolate On
To amp up the chocolate flavor, I often drizzle some melted milk or dark chocolate over top. You can try semi-sweet or white chocolate, too.
Since a melted chocolate topping doesn’t entirely harden, it adds to more of that fudgy, gooey texture. Make sure to serve these brownies at least at room temperature, but they’re also amazing warmed slightly with ice cream on top.
These brownies are a show-stopper no matter where you serve them. So, the next time you need a dessert to serve at the end of a dinner party or to wow the ladies at your book or wine club, this German chocolate brownies recipe will win you all the accolades.
Regardless of whether you are taking these somewhere, or you are indulging at home, if you’re craving chocolate you can bet these are going to become your new favorite brownies.
Why You’ll Love Them
- Decadent – This is an ooey, gooey brownie with all of the goodness of a coconut frosting that brings sweetness and texture to the table.
- Convenient – Outside of the German chocolate, most bakers will have these ingredients already handy.
- Simple – While there are a few steps to the process, everything is easy and quick. You can even prep the frosting while the brownies are baking.
- Versatile – You can take these sweet treats to a baby shower, cookout, or bake sale. I’d even press a candle in one for a birthday!
German Chocolate Brownies Ingredients
For the Brownies
- Salted butter – Cut the butter into tablespoons to make it easier to mix. Having it softened will also help the mixing process.
- German chocolate baking bar – Make sure to make this an authentic recipe by using Baker’s German chocolate. If you can’t find it in your store, you can get it online.
- Sugar – Use regular white sugar. However, if you’re in a pinch you can experiment with brown sugar.
- Eggs – Use large eggs. Adding extra yolks can make a brownie fudgier, but this recipe is already fudgy enough.
- Vanilla extract – You likely have this in your cabinet already, but you can also substitute other flavors.
- Sea salt – Finely ground salt dissolves quickly when baking.
- All-purpose flour – Sift the all purpose flour so that it combines well.
For the Topping
- Sugar – Use white sugar for this so that it has the perfect color for the frosting.
- Evaporated milk – This will lend a smooth creaminess to the icing.
- Salted butter – Slice this into tablespoons so it incorporates more easily. Typically for baking unsalted butter is better, but salted works best in this recipe for both the batter and the topping.
- Egg yolks – Separate the yolk from the white. Use the whites for another recipe.
- Toasted coconut – Just grab this from the grocery store. If you can’t find it toasted, just use another variety that you prefer.
- Toasted pecans – Chop the pecans somewhat finely so that it’s easier to slice up the brownies — plus, they’ll combine more evenly. If you don’t care for them toasted, just use what you like instead.
- Vanilla extract – It’s best to use vanilla in this part of the recipe, but you can use other extracts as well.
- Melted chocolate – Use plain milk chocolate wafers for garnish or melt those or dark chocolate wafers to drizzle over top, if you choose.
How To Make German Chocolate Brownies
- Cut the butter and place it into a large saucepan or dutch oven. Melt butter over medium-low heat, stirring slowly to avoid browning it.
- Add chunks of the chocolate bar to the pot, stirring occasionally. Completely combine butter with the melting chocolate until the mixture is smooth.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and whisk in the sugar until smooth.
- Add the eggs one at a time. Whisk each fully into the chocolate and butter before adding the next egg.
- Add the vanilla and salt and whisk again until completely combined.
- Slowly pour in the flour. Stir the flour into the mixture until it is fully combined with no dry patches, but be careful to avoid overmixing.
- Pour the brownie batter into the baking dish prepared with parchment paper.
- Brownies will be finished cooking when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
- Lift the brownies from the pan using the edges of the parchment paper. Place them on a wire rack to fully cool.
- Once the brownies are reaching room temperature, make the topping.
- Place the sugar, evaporated milk, butter, and egg yolks together into a medium-sized saucepot that allows plenty of room to stir.
- Place over medium-low or medium heat and stir together consistently, ensuring that the butter melts and all ingredients are combined.
- Slowly bring the mixture to a simmer while still stirring occasionally to avoid any ingredients sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Once the mixture hits a simmer and thickens slightly remove it from the heat.
- Next, add the coconut, pecans, and vanilla and stir it in to combine all ingredients evenly.
- Continue to stir the mixture until it becomes thick. It should have a spreadable consistency.
- Pour the frosting on top of the german chocolate brownies and, using a spatula, smooth it so that it is evenly spread.
- Allow the brownies to cool completely.
- Cut the brownies into bars. Then, drizzle melted chocolate over top if you choose.
- Switch out extracts – Try using a nutty or coffee-flavored extract instead of vanilla.
- Get saucy – Make or buy some caramel sauce, warm it up, and spoon it over the top of the German chocolate brownies to transform these into turtle brownies.
- Change up your nuts – Instead of pecans, try walnuts, pistachios, or any nut you prefer.
- Get caffeinated – Add espresso coffee to enhance the flavor and make it your own.
- Go with coconut milk – Substitute some of all of the evaporated milk with full fat coconut milk.
- Get nutty – Melt some peanut butter and either add it to the batter or drizzle it over top.
Storage & Freezing
Store these German chocolate brownies at room temperature for up to three days or refrigerate them for up to a week.
You can also freeze the brownies for up to three months, wrapped individually and stored in an airtight container between layers of wax paper to avoid them sticking together.
More Bar Recipes
German Chocolate Brownie Recipe
For the Brownies
- 1 cup salted butter , cut into tablespoons
- 4 ounce German chocolate baking bar*
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour sifted
For the Topping
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup salted butter cut into tablespoons
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups toasted coconut
- 1 cup toasted pecans , chopped
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Melted chocolate melting wafers for garnish optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray, set aside.
- Place the cut butter into a large pot or dutch oven, begin to melt the butter over medium-low heat.
- Break up the chocolate bar into squares and add them to the pot, stirring occasionally, melt the chocolate with the butter until smooth.
- Take off the heat and whisk in the sugar until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time and whisk them in fully before adding the next.
- Whisk in the vanilla and salt. Add the flour and stir it in until fully combined with no dry patches. Do not overmix.
- Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 35-38 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
- Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once the brownies are cool, make the topping. Place the sugar, evaporated milk, butter, and egg yolks into a medium-sized saucepot.
- Place over medium-low heat and stir together. Stir occasionally until the butter has melted.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer while still stirring occasionally so nothing sticks to the bottom. Once it hits a simmer and thickens slightly take it off the heat, for approximately 12 minutes.
- Add the coconut, pecans, and vanilla. Stir it in to combine. Continue to stir until it becomes thickened and spreadable, approximately 5 minutes.
- Pour the frosting on top of the brownies and smooth it out. Let it cool completely.
- Cut into bars and drizzle with melted chocolate if using.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.