Double Decker Chocolate Strawberry Brownies Recipe

Dense, fudgy brownies meet a burst of fresh strawberry flavor in these double decker chocolate strawberry brownies. These perfectly indulgent brownies are made with butter and 60% bittersweet chocolate chips for the richest texture, unsweetened cocoa powder, and vanilla extract to enhance the chocolatey flavor. Add in white chocolate chips and a topping of fresh strawberries, and they're over-the-top delicious. Recipe developer Katie Rosenhouse tells us, "Dense, fudgy brownies are just about a perfect dessert all on their own, but pairing them with a fruity shortbread base and sliced strawberries adds a buttery texture and pop of acidity that balances the richness of the chocolate center. It's a struggle to eat just one!"

To hone in on the strawberry aspect of these brownies, freeze-dried strawberries double up the fruity flavor and red color for a layered result that's sure to impress. Make these brownies for a holiday gathering, a weekend baking project, or even just for the school bake sale — they're a treat for adults and kids alike. Don't let those layers fool you — with only about 30 minutes of active time, they're surprisingly quick and easy to pull together.

Gather the ingredients for double decker chocolate strawberry brownies

To make these brownies, you'll need mostly pantry staples, with a few special additions. For the strawberry shortbread base, freeze-dried strawberries are ground to flavor and color a classic shortbread base of unsalted butter, granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, and kosher salt. You can amp up the color, if desired, by adding a few drops of red food coloring along the way. The brownies themselves call for a double dose of chocolate: 60% bittersweet chocolate chips, and unsweetened cocoa powder for a deep, chocolatey flavor. You can swap the chips for an equal quantity of dark chocolate in bar form, if preferred. 

Unsalted butter gives the brownies a fudgy, chewy texture, granulated sugar sweetens the batter, and eggs bind it all together. All-purpose flour gives the brownies structure, kosher salt enhances the overall flavor, baking powder provides just enough lift, and vanilla adds depth of flavor. You can also add espresso powder in the place of (or in addition to) the vanilla to enhance the chocolate flavor even more. 

White chocolate chips are folded into the brownie batter for a contrasting pop of color and creamy pockets in each bite. Fresh sliced strawberries add a bright berry flavor that intensifies as the brownies bake and the berries lose some of their moisture. Flaky sea salt adds a salty crunch for texture and balance, and a final drizzle of white chocolate pulls it all together.

Step 1: Prepare the baking dish

Coat an 8- or 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on either side. Set aside.

Step 2: Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Step 3: Process freeze-dried strawberries

Prepare the shortbread: In a spice grinder or small food processor, process freeze-dried strawberries to a powder (a few larger pieces are okay).

Step 4: Beat butter and sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat to combine butter and sugar until smooth.

Step 5: Beat shortbread dough

Add food coloring (if desired), strawberry powder, 1 cup of flour, and salt. Beat until a crumbly dough forms.

Step 6: Press dough into baking dish

Transfer shortbread to the prepared dish and press evenly to cover the bottom, then set aside.

Step 7: Mix dry ingredients

Prepare the brownies: In a small bowl, whisk to combine remaining flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder.

Step 9: Melt butter

In a small pot, melt the butter.

Step 10: Add chocolate

Remove butter from heat, add chocolate, and stir until smooth.

Step 11: Whisk eggs and sugar

In a medium bowl, whisk to combine eggs and sugar for 2 to 3 minutes until lightened and frothy.

Step 12: Whisk brownie batter

Whisk in vanilla and chocolate mixture.

Step 13: Fold in dry ingredients

Fold in dry ingredients until smooth.

Step 14: Fold in white chocolate

Fold in ½ cup white chocolate chips.

Step 15: Pour batter into baking dish

Pour batter evenly over shortbread base.

Step 16: Add strawberries

Lay sliced strawberries evenly over the top of the brownie batter in a single layer. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt if desired.

Step 17: Bake brownies

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with a few fudgy bits. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If you have time, chill for at least 1 hour or until firm before cutting.

Step 18: Transfer to cutting board

Lift brownies out of pan using parchment paper and transfer to a cutting board, removing parchment.

Step 19: Drizzle white chocolate

Melt remaining ¼ cup white chocolate and drizzle it over the top of the brownies.

Step 20: Cut the brownies

Trim the edges of the brownies, if desired, and cut into 16 squares.

Step 21: Serve

Serve the chocolate strawberry brownies. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

What types of chocolate work best for these brownies?

When making brownies, choosing the right chocolate is key. The higher the quality of chocolate, the more delicious the brownies will be. But it isn't just about quality — the percentage of chocolate dictates whether it's a darker, or sweeter variety, which plays a big role in the final flavor and color of the bars. "When I'm baking at home and looking for affordable options, I tend to always go back to the same 60% chocolate chips I can find at the grocery store," Rosenhouse says. "While chocolate bars usually melt more easily into batters (they usually contain more cocoa butter and less stabilizers), for brownies I always revert to using chips and have great results every time."

Love a bitter chocolate variety? Feel free to choose any type you prefer, from a 70% dark chocolate, all the way up to 85% or higher. But note that the darker the chocolate, the less sugar and fat. While your brownies may end up with a deeper, darker chocolate flavor, they may also end up a little less fudgy in the process. If you head in the other direction, with milk chocolate chips or bars, the brownies may become overly sweet or gummy, with a lighter color overall.

How do I cut brownies without making a crumbly mess?

While it's tempting to cut brownies right when they come out of the oven (no judgements — we know it's nearly impossible to wait till they cool), these bars are best cut after chilling to showcase each distinct layer. At a minimum, cool the bars to room temperature. If you have time, at least 1 hour in the refrigerator will help them set up considerably, and make it easier to lift them out of the pan without damage. 

To cleanly cut the brownies, fill a large drinking glass with hot water. Dip a sharp chef's knife into the water for a few seconds, then wipe off with a clean kitchen towel. Slice the bars, dipping the knife into the hot water and wiping off with each cut. This will keep your slices as clean as possible, without the usual chocolatey mess that can be created when cutting warm brownies in a pan. Serve the brownies chilled or bring back to room temperature before serving, if preferred.

Double Decker Chocolate Strawberry Brownies Recipe
5 from 29 ratings
This recipe combines classic chocolate brownies with strawberry-infused goodness for a double-decker creation that's every bit as decadent as it sounds.
Prep Time
1.5
hours
Cook Time
50
minutes
Servings
16
Servings
Double decker chocolate strawberry brownies
Total time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Ingredients
  • ::For the shortbread:::
  • ½ cup freeze-dried strawberries
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ::For the brownies:::
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 ⅓ cups 60% bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup white chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 cup fresh sliced strawberries
Optional Ingredients
  • Red food coloring
  • Flaky sea salt
Directions
  1. Coat an 8- or 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on either side. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  3. Prepare the shortbread: In a spice grinder or small food processor, process freeze-dried strawberries to a powder (a few larger pieces are okay).
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat to combine butter and sugar until smooth.
  5. Add food coloring (if desired), strawberry powder, 1 cup of flour, and salt. Beat until a crumbly dough forms.
  6. Transfer shortbread to the prepared dish and press evenly to cover the bottom, then set aside.
  7. Prepare the brownies: In a small bowl, whisk to combine remaining flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder.
  8. In a small pot, melt the butter.
  9. Remove butter from heat, add chocolate, and stir until smooth.
  10. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine eggs and sugar for 2 to 3 minutes until lightened and frothy.
  11. Whisk in vanilla and chocolate mixture.
  12. Fold in dry ingredients until smooth.
  13. Fold in ½ cup white chocolate chips.
  14. Pour batter evenly over shortbread base.
  15. Lay sliced strawberries evenly over the top of the brownie batter in a single layer. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt if desired.
  16. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with a few fudgy bits. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If you have time, chill for at least 1 hour or until firm before cutting.
  17. Lift brownies out of pan using parchment paper and transfer to a cutting board, removing parchment.
  18. Melt remaining ¼ cup white chocolate and drizzle it over the top of the brownies.
  19. Trim the edges of the brownies and cut into 16 squares.
  20. Serve the chocolate strawberry brownies. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 391
Total Fat 22.4 g
Saturated Fat 13.4 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 74.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 47.4 g
Dietary Fiber 1.7 g
Total Sugars 36.2 g
Sodium 183.3 mg
Protein 3.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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