This copycat recipe for Cosmic Brownies is rich, fudgy, and covered with bright little sprinkles. The brownies taste just like the original.
Actually — dare I say it?! They taste even better than the original because baked goods always taste best when they’re pulled straight from the oven.
Homemade Cosmic Brownies
Remember eating Little Debbie treats as a kid? When I was growing up, they were one of my favorites.
My mom always baked treats at home, so whenever we got the chance for store-bought, it was truly a special occasion.
Of course, now I always enjoy baking at home far more than the store-bought brands. But as a kid, a fudgy brownie like Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies was a special treat.
And now you can recreate these intergalactic treats in your very own kitchen.
Even now, eating these sugary desserts fills me with so much nostalgia. But this recipe for a homemade version is so much better!
Maybe I just have better taste as an adult, but these chocolatey brownies are downright divine.
They’re so moist and chewy, and the creamy ganache frosting is to die for. Plus, the candy sprinkles make these brownies truly cosmic!
What Are Cosmic Brownies?
The original Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies were these super sweet, fudgy brownies topped with chocolate frosting and rainbow sprinkles.
Our version looks just the same as those plastic-wrapped store goodies. But the real chocolate tastes so much more rich and delightful!
With no artificial ingredients or preservatives, these decadent brownies definitely beat out the store version.
The recipe also makes for a great basic brownie recipe. Even if you don’t want to go all out with the thick ganache, you can still have super moist, dense, and scrumptious brownies.
Plus, you can make these fudgy treats in just 35 minutes. Just don’t expect them to last long. They’re beloved by kids and adults alike.
Don’t let the lengthy ingredient list scare you away. These are actually ridiculously easy to make. Let’s break down the ingredients for the brownies and the ganache topping separately. For the brownies:
- Butter. Use unsalted butter to better control the total amount of salt in the recipe. Heat it in the microwave before adding it to the batter.
- Granulated sugar. I prefer to use only granulated sugar in this recipe. Others often substitute brown sugar for 1/2 cup of the total sugar. They insist that doing so makes the brownies chewier. I think they’re wonderfully chewy already.
- Eggs. Use room-temperature eggs for best results.
- Vanilla extract. Don’t worry; these brownies will be super fudgy and chocolatey. The vanilla is a simple flavor enhancer that makes everything else taste richer.
- Flour. Stick to all-purpose flour for convenience.
- Cocoa powder. I like Dutch-process cocoa powder, but you can use whatever you prefer.
- Salt. Skip the salt if your butter is salted.
- Milk. Milk adds moisture and flavor and makes the brownies soft and melt-in-your-mouth fudgy. Stick to whole milk for the best taste.
- Cooking spray. For greasing the pan.
For the frosting:
- Semisweet chocolate. Some people use chocolate chips for the frosting. However, I find that chopping up high-quality chocolate bars works best. If you’d rather use chocolate chips, that’s okay, too.
- Milk chocolate. Again, you can use milk chocolate chips or your favorite milk chocolate bar. Just break it and melt it.
- Heavy cream. Accept no substitutes for heavy cream! It, along with the chocolate, makes the decadent ganache frosting. You won’t get the same taste or consistency with milk or half-and-half.
- Butter. This butter is fine cold. Cut it into slices before stirring it into the frosting mixture.
- Rainbow chip sprinkles. Although you can use regular candy sprinkles on the brownies, I never do. Instead, look specifically for rainbow CHIP sprinkles. They’re colorful chocolate chips – not sprinkles. And they’re the closest approximation to what’s on store-bought Cosmic Brownies. I like the Baker’s Choice brand (available on Amazon).
See, it doesn’t look so bad when broken down like that! Mostly standard baking ingredients and chocolate!
How to Make Cosmic Brownies
1. Get everything ready. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a 9×9-inch pan with parchment paper.
Set out the other ingredients, pre-measuring anything you can. Microwave the butter for the brownies in 30-second intervals until fully melted.
2. Make the brownie batter. Mix the melted butter and sugar. Then, beat the mixture with an electric or stand mixer for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating them in gently. Then, mix in the vanilla extract. After beating for 2 to 3 minutes, the batter should be thick and light yellow.
At this point, you’ll add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Mix well, then slowly pour in the milk. Mix until everything is combined.
3. Bake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile…
4. Make the frosting. Microwave the heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl for about 20 seconds. Continue in 20-second intervals until the cream is extremely hot. (Don’t let it boil, though.)
Once the cream is hot, add the chopped chocolate. Let it melt, then stir until combined. Finally, add the butter and salt, stirring until combined.
The frosting is ready once it’s uniformly smooth and chocolate-colored.
5. Finish the brownies. Remove the brownies from the oven and let them cool. After they’ve cooled, pour the chocolate frosting over them.
Use a spatula to spread the frosting evenly across the brownies. Then, sprinkle the colored chocolate chips over the top.
6. Chill. Place the brownies (still in their pan) in the refrigerator. Let them chill for 1 to 2 hours.
7. Cut, serve, and enjoy! After the brownies have set, use the parchment paper to remove them from the pan.
Slice them into evenly sized squares, and enjoy!
Tips & Tricks for the Best Cosmic Brownies
- Use candy-coated chocolate chips, not sprinkles. You can find the same candy-coated sprinkles that Little Debbie uses online, at your local grocery, or at a craft store. Most recipes use Wilton’s Rainbow Chip Crunch. If you can’t find them or prefer something different, try mini chocolate chips or even M&Ms! Use sprinkles only as a last resort. They look great but won’t taste the same.
- Avoid chocolate chips for the frosting. Remember to use chopped bars of chocolate for the frosting rather than chocolate chips. Chocolate chips don’t melt as smoothly, so your ganache won’t have that lovely, creamy texture.
- Use high-quality chocolate. Using quality chocolate will get you the best results. Ghirardelli is a great option for super rich brownies. Using Dutch-process cocoa is also going to result in the best flavor and texture. Hershey’s Dark Cocoa Powder is a good example of Dutch process cocoa.
- Watch the brownies closely as they bake. Furthermore, you should slightly under-bake them. Pull them out as soon as your toothpick test is clear, or they might turn out more cake-like and less flavorful.
- Don’t over-mix. Again, this will make your brownies more like cake and less fudgy and delicious.
- Accommodate for high elevations. If you live at a high elevation, or where the air is super dry, like me, then add an extra egg to the recipe. (Or use extra-large eggs.) Eggs add more moisture and help give your Cosmic Brownies that extra thickness and smooth texture.
- Preheat a cookie sheet while preheating the oven. This is actually a really neat trick for any brownie recipe. Preheat a cookie sheet while the oven heats up, and then place your brownie pan on the cookie sheet. This will prevent the bottoms of the brownies from baking faster than the rest and burning.
- Use a light, shiny pan. These kinds of pans conduct heat the most evenly. Using them will produce the best results for any baking. If you only have darker pans or glass baking dishes, reduce the temperature by a few degrees to prevent the edges overbaking.
How to Store Your Brownies
Store your Cosmic Brownies in the refrigerator to help the frosting stay set and make the brownies last as long as possible.
In an airtight container, they’ll keep for about a week out on the counter, and about 2 weeks in the fridge.
I usually prefer to eat my fudgy brownie chilled. If you don’t like the cold, you can always let them sit for 10 or 15 minutes at room temperature before you serve them.
Can You Freeze Brownies?
Brownies are one of the easiest treats to freeze, and they stay tasting great even after defrosting.
Cosmic Brownies will last for up to two months in the freezer as long as you store them correctly.
I suggest cutting the brownies into individual slices and wrapping each one with plastic wrap. Then you can store them all together in the freezer in a resealable bag.
This makes defrosting and snacking on your new favorite brownies so simple! When you’re ready to eat them, just thaw at room temperature.
More Brownie Recipes
Here are a few other brownie recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth:
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