When I want my favorite German chocolate cake without the effort, I make these German chocolate brownies! The brownies are rich and fudgy, and they’re topped with a luscious coconut pecan frosting and chocolate ganache drizzle. These are even better than the cake version and they’re so easy to make!

Stack of German chocolate brownies

It’s my birthday today, so I’m celebrating with these rich, fudgy German Chocolate Brownies! Typically I celebrate with cake like hummingbird cupcakes or black bottom cupcakes, but last year I bucked tradition and turned my all time favorite cake flavor into brownies.

This recipe was inspired by brownies at one of my favorite bakeries. They sell out quickly so I’m not able to get them very often, which meant that it was time to take matters into my own hands.

I honestly love these brownies even more than the cake version. In years past I’ve celebrated with this German chocolate roll cake, and while it’s absolutely delicious, it requires a lot more effort.

These brownies deliver big flavor and they’re made in a fraction of the time. They’re one of my favorite birthday treats!

If you want a healthier way to get your German chocolate fix, be sure to try my overnight oats and granola. They truly satisfy the biggest cravings.

German Chocolate Brownies recipe cut into squares

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • German chocolate brownies have a rich, fudgy brownie base that comes together quickly in just one bowl! They’re topped with a luscious classic coconut pecan frosting that couldn’t be easier to make.
  • This is an easier (and even more delicious!) way to experience the flavors of German chocolate cake.
  • Brownies may be made up to 1 day in advance, so they’re the perfect make ahead dessert.
  • With a few simple swaps, this recipe may be made dairy free as outlined in the Ingredient Notes section.

Recipe ingredients

There are just 9 ingredients in this German chocolate brownie recipe, and you can make a few simple swaps as outlined below in the ingredient notes to make it dairy free.

German chocolate brownie recipe ingredients

Ingredient notes

  • Bittersweet chocolate. The chocolate is used in the brownie base as well as the chocolate ganache. I prefer bittersweet chocolate for it’s intense flavor and mild sweetness, but you can substitute it with semi-sweet chocolate or a combination of both if you prefer. Be sure to use good quality chocolate such a baking wafers (no chopping involved!) or baker’s chocolate bars. If you’d like to use chocolate chips, I recommend Guittard or Ghirardelli as they are higher quality and melt better. Enjoy Life Foods chocolate is a great dairy free option.
  • Butter. Use coconut oil in place of the butter to make the brownies and frosting dairy free.
  • Eggs. You’ll need (2) eggs for the brownies, and (2) egg yolks for the frosting. Reserve the egg whites for an omelet or meringues!
  • Heavy cream. The cream is used in both coconut pecan frosting and the chocolate ganache. Coconut milk would be a great substitute if you’re following a dairy free diet.
  • Coconut flakes. I love using unsweetened coconut flakes in this recipe, but you can certainly substitute them with shredded or sweetened flaked coconut.
  • Pecans. The pecans are toasted for maximum flavor in the frosting, but you may use raw pecans or purchase pre-toasted pecans from Trader Joe’s to save a step!
German chocolate brownies cut into squares with pecan halves on top

How to make this recipe

There are three separate components involved in this German chocolate brownie recipe, but they’re all incredibly easy to prepare.

The brownies are made with real chocolate, so be sure to make it the best. I like using baking wafers as they melt smoothly and there’s no chopping involved. This brownie recipe comes together in one bowl and it’s it’s beyond easy to make!

The coconut pecan frosting is cooked in a sauce pan and takes about 10 minutes to prepare. Pro tip: I’ve toasted the pecans for maximum flavor, but you can use raw or purchase pre-toasted pecans from Trader Joe’s to save a step.

Chocolate ganache is really an optional component, but I highly recommend it as it adds flavor and it’s a nice contrast to the frosting. It only takes about 5 minutes to make with two ingredients that are already included in the recipe, so you just can’t lose. Pro tip: Make the ganache ahead and heat for about 10 seconds in the microwave until it reaches drizzling consistency.

How to make German chocolate brownies collage
How to make coconut pecan frosting and chocolate ganache collage
  1. Prepare the brownies. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 8×8″ square baking pan with foil. Place the butter and 6 ounces of chocolate in a large bowl.
  2. Microwave at 50% power for 3-4 minutes, stirring well after each minute until melted.
  3. Whisk in the sugar and salt until well combined, followed by the vanilla. Vigorously whisk in the eggs one at a time until incorporated.
  4. Stir in the flour just until incorporated, about 30-35 strokes. The batter will be thick and glossy.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until set and puffed in the middle, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. Prepare the frosting. Place the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees until toasted and fragrant, about 8-10 minutes. Chop and set aside.
  9. Place the 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup cream, egg yolks, 4 tablespoons butter and salt in a large saucepan. Cook over medium low heat until the butter and sugar have melted, then increase to medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring often, about 5-6 minutes. Cook 1 additional minute, stirring continuously until thickened and the mixture coats a wooden spoon.
  10. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, followed by the coconut flakes and chopped pecans. Let stand until cool, then spread over the cooled brownies.
  11. Prepare the chocolate ganache. Place the 1/3 cup baking wafers or chocolate chips and 5 tablespoons heavy cream in a small heat proof bowl.
  12. Add a few inches of water in a large sauté pan and cook over medium low heat until the water is simmering. Place the bowl with the chocolate cream mixture into the water, and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture has emulsified. Remove the ganache from heat and drizzle over the frosting. Let stand until set or refrigerate to speed up the process. Enjoy!
Frosted German chocolate brownies

FAQs

What is the best kind of chocolate for brownies?

It’s best to use good quality chocolate for brownies such as bittersweet or semi-sweet baking wafers or baking bars as they melt better and are typically lower in sugar. If you must use chocolate chips, I recommend using high quality brands such as Guittard or Ghirardelli.

What is the difference between chocolate and German chocolate?

German chocolate contains more sugar and less cacao, so it provides a sweeter, mild chocolate flavor as compared to regular chocolate. This recipe includes bittersweet chocolate, which provides a rich chocolate flavor.

What makes brownies fudgy vs. cakey?

Fudgy brownies have a higher fat to flour ratio, which give them a rich, fudgy texture. Cakey brownies include more flour and leavening, resulting in a drier, more cake-like texture.

What is German chocolate frosting made of?

German chocolate frosting, also known as coconut pecan frosting, includes sugar, egg yolks, heavy cream, butter, vanilla, coconut flakes and chopped pecans. This classic frosting typically includes evaporated milk, but I’ve used heavy cream for added richness.

How do you thicken coconut pecan frosting?

Coconut pecan frosting is cooked on the stove top, which cooks the egg yolks and also thickens the frosting. Cook the frosting until it coats a wooden spoon, then remove from heat and cool completely. The frosting will thicken more as it cools.

Does coconut pecan frosting need to be refrigerated?

There is no need to refrigerate coconut pecan frosting as it is safe to leave out at room temperature for up to 3-5 days, but it’s much easier to slice cleanly when it’s cold. I recommend chilling the German chocolate brownies until set before slicing for best results.

Recipe notes

  • Pro tip:  These German chocolate brownies are the easiest to cut when the coconut pecan frosting and ganache have set.  This typically takes about 1 hour, or you can speed up the process by chilling them in the refrigerator.
  • Pro tip:  For best results, use good quality chocolate in this recipe.  I love using Guittard bittersweet baking wafers as there’s no chopping involved, but you can certainly use a bar of baker’s chocolate.  If you’d rather use chocolate chips, I recommend Guittard or Ghirardelli as they are higher quality and will melt better.
  • Make the ganache ahead and heat for about 10 seconds in the microwave until it reaches drizzling consistency. You may not need all of the ganache! Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  • Store leftover brownies in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.  Take the chill off by allowing them to come to room temperature before serving if desired.
German chocolate brownie with pecan on top

More brownie recipes you’ll love:

If you make this recipe I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment and rating below, or snap a photo and tag me @flavorthemoments on Instagram!

Stack of German chocolate brownies

German Chocolate Brownies

German Chocolate Brownies are rich and fudgy with a luscious coconut pecan frosting and chocolate ganache drizzle. They satisfy the biggest German chocolate cake cravings and are so much easier to make!
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Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter cut into cubes
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate baking wafers or bar no need to chop if using baking wafers; chop if using baking bars
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour

For the coconut pecan frosting:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream may substitute with evaporated milk
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 3/4 cup pecans

Chocolate ganache drizzle:

  • 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate baking wafters or chocolate chips
  • 5 tablespoons heavy cream

Instructions 

  • Prepare the brownies. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 8×8" square baking pan with foil. Place the stick of butter and 6 ounces of chocolate in a large bowl.
  • Microwave at 50% power for 3-4 minutes, stirring well after each minute until melted.
    chocolate and butter in bowl before and after melting
  • Whisk in the 3/4 cup sugar and salt until well combined, followed by the vanilla. Vigorously whisk in the eggs one at a time until incorporated.
  • Stir in the flour just until incorporated, about 30-35 strokes. The batter will be thick and glossy.
    German chocolate brownie batter collage
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until set and puffed in the middle, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
    German chocolate brownies before and after baking
  • Prepare the frosting. Place the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Bake at 350 degrees until toasted and fragrant, about 8-10 minutes. Chop and set aside.
    Pecans before and after toasting
  • Place the 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup cream, egg yolks, 4 tablespoons butter and salt in a large saucepan. Cook over medium low heat until the butter and sugar have melted, then increase to medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring often, about 5-6 minutes. Cook 1 additional minute, stirring continuously until thickened and the mixture coats a wooden spoon.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, followed by the coconut flakes and chopped pecans. Let stand until cool, then spread over the cooled brownies.
    How to make coconut pecan frosting collage
  • Prepare the chocolate ganache. Place the 1/3 cup baking wafers or chocolate chips and 5 tablespoons heavy cream in a small heat proof bowl.
  • Add a few inches of water in a large sauté pan and cook over medium low heat until the water is simmering. Place the bowl with the chocolate cream mixture into the water, and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture has emulsified. Remove the ganache from heat and drizzle over the frosting (you may have some left). Let stand until set or refrigerate to speed up the process. Enjoy!
    How to make chocolate ganache collage

Notes

  • Pro tip:  These German chocolate brownies are the easiest to cut when the coconut pecan frosting and ganache have set.  This typically takes about 1 hour, or you can speed up the process by chilling them in the refrigerator.
  • Pro tip:  For best results, use good quality chocolate in this recipe.  I love using Guittard bittersweet baking wafers as there’s no chopping involved, but you can certainly use a bar of baker’s chocolate.  If you’d rather use chocolate chips, I recommend Guittard or Ghirardelli as they are higher quality and will melt better.
  • Make the ganache ahead and heat for about 10 seconds in the microwave until it reaches drizzling consistency. You may not need all of the ganache! Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  • Store leftover brownies in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.  Take the chill off by allowing them to come to room temperature before serving if desired.
  • See Ingredient Notes section for dairy free alternatives.

Nutrition

Serving: 1brownie, Calories: 622kcal, Carbohydrates: 50g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 45g, Saturated Fat: 26g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 153mg, Sodium: 169mg, Potassium: 271mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 38g, Vitamin A: 915IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 71mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Tried this recipe?Mention @flavorthemoments or tag #flavorthemoments!

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