Everybody loves a good brownie, right? Legend suggests that the first brownie was made in Chicago in 1893 by the chef at the Palmer House Hotel for the World's Columbian Exposition, also the event at which a British invention called the chocolate bar made its American debut. Houston has its fair share of delectable dessert places to choose from, so we decided to help narrow down the playing field for some of the best under-the-radar brownie fixes in town.
Pro tip: When looking to satisfy your brownie craving, it helps to decide in advance what your criteria is:
- What type of chocolate do you like (white, dark, semi-sweet)?
- Do you prefer more cake-like, solid brownies or gooey brownies?
- Do you like them plain or stuffed with mix-ins?
- Do you like them heavy on the chocolate or heavy on the cake (this ratio is important!)
First up on the list, Café Express. Yes, Café Express. While you might not typically think of this chain as a must-have dessert spot, their Chunky Chocolate Brownie is really good. It offers just the right blend of chocolate chips-to-cake ratio so as to not overwhelm your palate, while not being too gooey or overly sweet, and it's big enough to share.
Next up is Freebirds World Burrito. Obviously, their Pot Brownie is not new and comes with the misleading name, but it sure is good. Besides having a catchy name, this is a much richer brownie than Café Express', with a higher chocolate chip-to-cake ratio and a gooey center. This is a serious brownie for serious brownie lovers, so be prepared.
Dacapo's Pastry Café in the Heights is up next. If you have not been to Dacapo's, go now and go with your sweet tooth: This bakery is a confection lover’s dream and they have a great lunch menu. They offer two brownies—both have a great cake-like consistency made with semi-sweet chocolate so they are not overly sugary. The plain is made with walnuts and the Rocky Road is just what you'd expect, complete with marshmallows.
Sticking with the Heights, the Salted Caramel Brownie over at Red Dessert Dive is a must, especially if you love salted sweets. I became a salted caramel junkie thanks to Talenti and have never looked back since. This one makes the list because, much like Lay’s potato chips, it is literally impossible to stop eating this brownie. It must be a salt thing.
Finally, if you can make it past the cookie (we know, it's hard to resist) Whole Foods Market serves a great plain, old-fashioned brownie. It has just the right combination of cake-like texture and semi-sweet chocolate, without any extras. The best part? It comes in a box, so you can have one now and save one for later.