Yield: 8″ square pan shortbread brownies // Total Time: 1 hr. 15 min. // Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links.
We’re taking delicious fudge brownies and sandwiching them between crispy shortbread and a whipped chocolate ganache.
Shortbread Brownies with Ganache
Hello hello, I’m so excitied to share this recipe with you today! My fudge brownies are a fan favorite on the blog (I can’t thank you guys enough for the love and support on them!), but today we’re taking those brownies to the next level and layering them. The first layer is a buttery, crispy shortbread that only requires four (4!) ingredients. It’s seriously so easy to put together and if you’re a person who needs multiple textures for the perfect dessert (like myself), you’re going to love this crunchy crust. The next layer is the star of the show – the fudge brownies. They’re dense, super fudgy, oh-so chocolatey, and super easy to throw together. And the third layer is of course the cherry on top, a whipped, smooth, and oh-so-chocolatey ganache!
Triple layered brownies
I wanted these brownies to be easy to throw together since they have three layers. Each layer only requires one bowl to make the cleanup super manageable (because let’s be honest, it’s the worst part about baking.) I highly recommend using a hand or stand mixer because it will make creaming the butter and sugar in the shortbread and whipping up the ganache, much easier. However, if you’re looking for a bit of an arm workout before your brownies, you could definitely go for it without a mixer!
Weigh your ingredients
Weighing your ingredients is important for getting the recipe perfect and getting consistent results. Not weighing your ingredients can lead to adding too much or too little of an ingredient which can turn your brownies from rich and fudgy to tough and chewy. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend purchasing a kitchen scale. This one is super cheap and worked well for me when I was starting out!
Mix the dough carefully
This applies when you’re adding in the flour to the shortbread and the brownies. When adding in the flour, only fold the mixture just until no flour streaks remain. Overmixing the dough leads to more gluten formation, which can make the brownies tough and chewy rather than fudgy, and can make the shortbread super dense and hard.
How to know when fudge brownies are done baking
Fudge brownies are a little hard to tell when they’re done baking because they are essentially meant to be a little “raw”. You won’t be able to use the toothpick test on these brownies, because if the toothpick is coming out clean, the brownies are definitely overbaked. The brownies are done when the edges have completely solidified and the middle of the brownies either don’t wobble or oh-so-slightly wobble. The brownies will continue to cook in the hot pan so it’s important to not slice into them until they’ve fully cooled to room temperature.
Use a metal pan, not a glass pan
You should almost always use a metal baking pan over glass when it comes to baking treats. Glass does not conduct heat as well as metal, which means your bake is going to take longer and you will probably not get any crispy edges. If you’re using a glass pan, please note that your brownies will take a bit longer to bake.
How to get clean cuts on brownies
Brownies and bars can be annoying to cut, especially when they start dragging the batter and it seems like half of the brownies have ended up on your knife! To get perfect brownie cuts, get a clean knife and a tall glass of hot water. Dip the knife in the hot water, then make a slice in the brownies. After each slice, scrape any brownie off the knife onto the glass. Continue dipping and slicing to be left with perfectly cut brownie slices!
How to make your chocolate even more chocolate-y
The secret to getting more flavor out of your cocoa powder? Bloom it! The process of blooming your cocoa is simple. Just mix hot espresso or water into your cocoa powder prior to adding it into your recipe. Doing so exposes cocoa solids in the cocoa powder and in turn brings out more of their flavor. We do this a little bit in this recipe by mixing the cocoa into the hot butter/chocolate mixture. If you’re looking to take it to the next level for this recipe, mix the cocoa with 40g hot espresso or water, then mix it into the butter/chocolate mixture.
Ingredients and substitutions
For the shortbread layer:
All purpose flour: for structure in the shortbread. If you’d like to make these gluten-free, you can use a 1:1 swap gluten free flour.
Granulated sugar: for sweetness, locking in moisture, and helps with aerating the butter.
Unsalted butter: for tenderness and that delicious buttery-shortbread flavor. You can sub in salted butter, just omit the extra salt from the shortbread.
Salt: for flavor, never skip on the salt!
For the brownie layer:
All purpose flour: lends some structure to the brownies and makes them slightly chewy. If you’d like to make these gluten-free, you can use a 1:1 swap gluten free flour.
Salt: helps balance and bring out the sweetness and flavor of the brownies.
Unsalted butter: makes the brownies tender and gives them that melt-in-your-mouth feel. You can use salted butter in place of the unsalted, just be sure to omit the extra salt from the brownies.
Semi-sweet chocolate: where the main flavor of these brownies comes from! I use chocolate chips as I have noticed that they are better for bringing out that crackled top when compared to using a baking bar. Make sure you use good quality chocolate chips here as this part makes up the entire flavor of the brownies!
Granulated sugar: sweetens the brownies, helps lock in moisture in the batter, and helps contribute to that perfect crackled top.
Dutch-processed cocoa powder: lends a deeper chocolate flavor to the brownies. I love using dutch process cocoa because it has a deeper and richer flavor than natural cocoa, but natural cocoa powder can easily be substituted in here. Just note that your brownies will be a little lighter in color.
Eggs: binds the brownie batter together, adds moisture to the brownies.
For the ganache layer:
Chocolate: use your favorite % cocoa baking bar, or chips!
Heavy whipping cream: thins out the ganache.
How to make shortbread layered brownies
make the easy shortbread layer
This layer is super easy to make since all you need is 4 ingredients. Beat together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, then beat in the flour and salt just until a cohesive dough forms. Press the shortbread into your prepared pan, poke some holes in it with a fork, and bake until the edges turn golden brown.
make the fudgy brownie layer
This layer has more ingredients, but all comes together in one bowl still. Melt the chocolate and butter together, then whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Whisk in the eggs vigorously until well combined, then add in the flour and salt. Fold the flour into the chocolate mixture just until no flour streaks remain. Once the shortbread has golden edges, remove it from the oven and pour the brownie batter over it. Bake the brownies until the edges have completely set and the middle no longer wobbles.
make the whipped ganache layer
Mix the chocolate with the hot heavy cream until it’s all melted and smooth. Place the ganache into the freezer and mix every 5-10 minutes, until it’s set. Whip up the ganache a little with a hand mixer or whisk until it’s lighter and fluffier. Don’t mix for too long or you risk the ganache getting too stiff to spread. Once the brownies have fully cooled, spread the whipped ganache over them and enjoy!
Shortbread brownies q&a
Can I double these layered brownies?
Of course! Simply double all of the ingredients and bake the brownies in a 9×13″ pan, or bake them in two 8″ square pans. Be sure to keep an eye on the brownies if baking in a different sized pan, as the bake times may vary.
Can I make these small batch?
I haven’t tried these small batch, but I recommend halving all of the ingredients and baking as directed but in a loaf tin (8×4″ or 9×5″). Please note that the baking times will decrease, so keep a close eye on your bake!
How to store layered brownies
These brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Why do you measure in grams?
My recipes are all written in grams because it is the most accurate way to bake. When you use a kitchen scale, you ensure that your baked goods turn out as close to the written recipe as possible. Plus, the cleanup is way easier when using a scale! I will provide standard cup measurements but please note that I have not tested the recipe using cup measurements and therefore can not guarantee your recipe will come out how mine did. Here is my favorite kitchen scale.
A note on oven temperature
Ovens vary and fluctuate in temperature. For example, I always have to set my oven to 330°F if I want it to bake at 350°F. If you love to bake like I do, I highly recommend getting an oven thermometer. They are super helpful for letting you know when your oven might be lying to you! I use this one.
Tools and ingredients
You can find all my favorite tools and ingredients that I use on my Amazon Storefront page, here!
Did you make these shortbread brownies?
If you made these layered shortbread brownies I would love to see them and know your thoughts! Please leave a comment and review down below, and tag me on Instagram @freshbeanbakery. If you have any questions about the recipe I will gladly do my best to answer them in the comments below!
- 113 g unsalted butter room temperature (½ c.)
- 65 g granulated sugar (⅓ c.)
- 120 g all purpose flour (1 c.)
- ¼ tsp. salt
Fudge Brownie Layer
- 113 g unsalted butter (½ c.)
- 180 g semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 c.)
- 24 g dutch process cocoa powder (¼ c.)
- 200 g granulated sugar (1 c.)
- 2 eggs
- 80 g all purpose flour (⅔ c.)
- ½ tsp. salt
Whipped Ganache Layer
- 170 g heavy whipping cream (¾ c.)
- 170 g semi-sweet chocolate chips, chunks, or bar (1 c.)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Grease and line a 8" square pan with butter and parchment paper.
- In a medium sized bowl, with a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy (3-4 min.)
- Beat in the flour and salt just until a cohesive dough forms.
- Press the shortbread into an even layer in your prepared square pan. Poke the dough a few times with a fork to allow air to escape as it bakes.
- Bake the shortbread for 15-20 minutes, until the edges start to turn golden brown. In the meantime, make the brownie batter.
Fudge Brownie Layer
- In a medium sized microwave safe bowl, melt together the butter and chocolate chips in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval until the mixture is smooth.
- Whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar.
- Add in both eggs and vigorously whisk together for 1 minute, until well combined.
- Add in the flour and salt. use a rubber spatula to lightly fold the flour into the ingredients. just until no flour streaks remain.
- Once the shortbread has golden edges, pull it out of the oven. Pour the brownie batter into an even layer over the shortbread.
- Bake the brownies for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are set and the middle no longer wobbles.
- Allow the brownies to fully cool to room temperature before frosting.
Whipped Ganache Layer
- Add your chocolate chips or chopped chocolate to a small mixing bowl.
- Heat the cream in the microwave until it's fairly hot, or on the stovetop until it's simmering.
- Immediately pour the hot cream over the chocolate, then cover the bowl with a lid or plate for 1 minute.
- Whisk the ingredients together until you have a smooth ganache.
- Transfer the ganache to the freezer, and stir every 5-10 minutes until it has significantly thickened up.
- Once the ganache has cooled and thickened, use a hand mixer to lightly whip up the mixture until it is fluffy and has lightened in color (~30 sec. – 1 min.) Don't mix for too long or you risk the ganache getting too stiff to spread.
- Once the brownies have cooled, spread the ganache over them. Slice, serve, and enjoy!