Brownies with Nutella Frosting

In today's episode of stress-baking with Julia, our host remembers how few ingredients are required to make a truly kick-ass pan of brownies!

I had some friends coming over tonight to watch a movie (we decided to watch the classic Spinal Tap, no regrets) and I wanted to make a treat for us all to enjoy. I shambled together the ingredients for some yummy brownies together, and whipped up a quick buttercream-based frosting—they were a huge hit! I definitely impressed my friends with how great these guys came out, and thankfully there are none left otherwise I'd have to eat them all my self. 

This recipe intimidated me at first because it started on the stove rather than in a bowl, but it was still fairly simple and had delicious results! I didn't even have a chance to snap a picture of these brownies as my friends munched them up as soon as they came out of the oven.

Julia's Quick Brownies with Nutella Frosting

Preheat oven to 350ºF

For brownies:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

For frosting:

  • 1/2 jar of Nutella (approx. 1/2 cup, you can always do more or less depending on how strong you want the Nutella flavor to be)
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/8 cup cocoa powder (you can add more or less depending on how sweet v. rich you want your buttercream to be)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • Measuring cups
  • Large saucepan
  • Whisk
  • 8x8 baking pan
  • Large bowl
  • Butter knife


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Grease and flour the 8x8 baking pan.
  3. In large saucepan, melt 1 stick of butter.
  4. Remove saucepan from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract until well combined (careful for clumps of sugar!).
  5. Whisk in cocoa powder, flour, and baking powder until well combined.
  6. Pour batter into greased and floured baking pan.
  7. Bake in 350ºF oven for 25 minutes, or until a butter knife can be inserted into the center and removed clean.

While the brownies are in the oven...

  1. Cream together the Nutella and butter in a large bowl.
  2. Add in vanilla extract.
  3. Gradually add in confectioners sugar and cocoa powder, tasting several times along the way to make sure you're getting the exact sweetness and richness that you want.

Once brownies are removed from the oven...

  1. Allow to cool in the pan.
  2. Remove from pan.
  3. Add frosting to the top of brownies.
  4. Enjoy!

I found myself enjoying the freedom of DIY-ing my own Nutella buttercream recipe, so feel free to adjust the butter/Nutella/sugar/cocoa ratios as you see fit! I also didn't have any unsweetened cocoa in the traditional baking cocoa form, so I used a superfood raw cocoa powder that my mom will typically add into her smoothies and still had great success.

Impress your friends with your own take on this fun recipe! For the Halloween season you could even use a white frosting to decorate the top like a spider web, or add some marshmallow ghosts for a more spooky feel! I initially intended on making some ghost decorations for these brownies, but my friends couldn't wait to dig in.