Over-the-Top Brownies

Brownies are often plenty rich, but it's easy to turn them into an even more extravagant treat simply by adding a topping.

When they really want to up the chocolate factor, hounds love to top baked brownies with ganache, which is "so silky and luscious—it just melts in your mouth!" biondanonima says. It's best to pour still-warm ganache over the brownies and let it set to frosting consistency, danna says.

pine time adds a cream cheese layer beneath the ganache, and flavors both toppings with amaretto liqueur (which you can make yourself with CHOW's Homemade Amaretto recipe). To make this treat, which pine time calls "insanely rich," beat cream cheese with powdered sugar, amaretto, and chocolate chips. Spread this mixture on a cooled pan of brownies and chill for an hour. Then, top with ganache spiked with amaretto, and garnish with toasted almonds.

As an alternative to icing brownies with ganache, chowser dollops balls of cooled ganache over the brownie batter before putting it in the oven, to create delicious pockets of chocolate as the brownies bake. "If you eat it warm, you get the oozy goodness. When it cools, you get a bite of truffle brownie," chowser says.

Peanut butter, a classic complement to chocolate, is also a popular addition. "Last time I made brownies that I thought were kind of average I added a layer of peanut butter cream (peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar, a little milk) and they became delicious," says cookie monster. And HillJ melts peanut butter and Nutella separately in the microwave, drizzles each over a pan of brownies, and swirls the topping together with a fork.

Discuss: How Do I Make My Brownies More Over the Top?