Martin Sorge is a self-trained baker and recipe developer based in Chicago, Illinois who was recently named winner of the 2023 Great American Baking Show by judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith. Originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana, Martin takes his Midwestern roots and combines them with his technical baking knowledge and not-too serious personality to formulate recipes that are accessible and approachable.

In this recipe, zippy raspberries, caramelized praline and crunchy pistachios give new layers of flavor to a fudgy classic, and a whisper of almond extract enhances the whole vibe.

Makes one 9-inch square pan, about 16 brownies


  • 113 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 200 g (1 cup) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 56 g (2/3 cup) Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 90g (3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 85 g (1/2 cup) chocolate chips, or chopped dark chocolate
  • 1/2 recipe pistachio praline paste* (recipe follows)
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • 70 g (1/2 cup) shelled pistachios, chopped

Heat the oven to 350F with a rack in the center. Lightly butter a 9-inch square metal baking pan and line it with parchment paper. 

In a small saucepan, melt together the butter and sugar over medium heat, stirring until the butter is totally melted and the mixture looks shiny. Turn off the heat.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the eggs, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, almond extract, and vanilla extract. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until well combined and smooth. It will be thick. Add the melted butter mixture to the cocoa mixture and stir to combine. It will become glossy and runny. Add the flour and chocolate chips, and stir to combine. Scrape the batter into the baking pan, and smooth out the top. 

Take the piping bag or zip-top bag with the praline paste (if using a bag, snip a 1/4-inch hole in one corner), and pipe parallel lines of praline paste across the surface of the brownies, about 1/2 inch apart. Create a feather design by dragging a toothpick or butter knife through the batter perpendicular to the lines of praline. Start in the top-left corner, about 1/2 inch from the side of the pan. Stick the toothpick or knife all the way down into the batter and drag it straight towards you. Then move 1/2 inch to the right and drag it away from you towards the top. Repeat until you've feathered the whole pan. If you don't have time for that, take the toothpick and swirl it through the batter, but feathering creates a more even distribution of praline paste. Evenly distribute the raspberries over the surface of brownies and sprinkle with the chopped pistachios/

Bake at 350F for 28 to 30 minutes. OK, it's hard to tell when brownies are totally done. You can't go by color, and if a toothpick comes out clean, they're probably overdone. They should look puffed a bit and shiny, and they shouldn’t jiggle when baked. 

Let the brownies cool completely. For the cleanest and easiest cutting, put the room-temperature brownies, still in the pan, into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Run a butter knife or offset spatula around the edge of the pan. Using the parchment paper as a sling, carefully remove the brownies from the pan, place them on a cutting board, and slice with a large chef’s knife. These brownies are rich, so I like to cut them into small pieces. Let them come to room temperature before serving. These last, covered in the refrigerator, for 3 days after making. 

*If you absolutely must, you can use pistachio butter in place of praline paste, but it's much less exciting.

Pistachio Praline Paste

Makes about 1 ½ cups of praline paste. 

  • 260 g (2 cups) shelled pistachios
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
  • 30 g (1 Tablespoon) light corn syrup
  • 50 g (about 1/4 cup) water
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons neutral-flavored oil, like sunflower oil

Heat the oven to 350F with a rack in the middle. Put the pistachios on a large, rimmed baking sheet and roast for 6 to 8 minutes, until they smell toasty. Watch the nuts carefully so they don't burn. Once roasted, put the pistachios on a plate or into a bowl to cool completely. 

Before you make the caramel, have a parchment-lined baking sheet nearby, and set the roasted pistachios and the 1/4 teaspoon baking soda near the stove. In a 3-quart stainless steel saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water. Stir gently with a fork to mix. Turn to high heat and cover. Once it has boiled, keep the lid on for 1 minute, this helps wash any sugar crystals down the side of the pan. Remove the lid and boil until the sugar mixture starts to show a hint of golden color, then reduce heat to low and continue to cook until it has a medium amber color. Immediately add the pistachios and the baking soda and use a heatproof silicone spatula to combine. It will foam up! Quickly scrape the foamy caramel-nut mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread it into a one-nut thick layer and let cool completely.

Once the praline has cooled, break it into chunks and put in the bowl of a food processor. Add the 2 teaspoons oil and process the mixture for 5 to 6 minutes. The praline will go through stages: from dusty, to a big boulder, to a gritty stiff paste, to a smoother paste. The paste will not be perfectly smooth, but stop when it has the consistency of almond butter. If you process it too much the paste may split and become oily.

Put half of the praline paste into a piping bag or zip-top bag to make the brownies. Refrigerate the rest in a sealed container for up to a month. 

Recipe courtesy of Martin Sorge