The ingredients in a basic brownie recipe are butter, sugar, flour, eggs, salt and cocoa powder. Vegetable oil is sometimes used in place of butter, and leaveners such as baking powder or baking soda can help add lightness. In some basic brownie recipes, melted chocolate is used instead of cocoa. It is typically blended with melted butter for easy incorporation. Other basic ingredients can include flavorings such as vanilla extract and mix-ins such as nuts or chocolate chips.
Different combinations of ingredients result in different textures of the finished brownies. For example, incorporating extra egg yolks and using melted chocolate instead of cocoa powder results in a dense, truffle-like brownie. Whole eggs and cake flour yield a lighter, spongier, cake-like brownie.
Typically, basic brownie ingredients are mixed together by hand in a single bowl, and the batter gets poured into a pan for baking. However, mixing techniques can be modified to achieve a specific texture. Cake-like brownies, for example, are sometimes mixed using the creaming method to lighten them. A basic brownie recipe can also include the use of non-ingredient items such as cooking spray to lubricate the pan and make the brownies easy to remove. Parchment paper and foil serve the same purpose.