Rich, vibrant Ganache Topped Cosmic Brownies are impossible to resist. These copycat Little Debbie Chocolate Brownies are swoon-worthy!

These Homemade Cosmic Brownies with their fudgy topping and rainbow of sprinkles entice kids of all ages. My husband included.

Cosmic Brownies on a narrow white tray.

Why You Must Make

  • They’re a copycat Little Debbie recipe that’s even better than the original!
  • If you love rich, dense brownies with a fudgy frosting, these are for you!
  • There’s cocoa powder in the brownies and semisweet chocolate in the frosting making them perfect for chocoholics.
  • Plus, they have the iconic sprinkles.

The History of Cosmic Brownies

I finally figured out why I didn’t have memories of this Little Debbie product. They were not introduced until December of 1999! I already had 3 children by this point and I made it a point to steer clear of the snack aisle if any of them accompanied me to the grocery store.

These Little Debbies Cosmic Brownies were developed because of the cosmic bowling trend which brought disco lights and music to the bowling alley. I do remember cosmic bowling.

Ingredient Notes

  • Kitchen Staples – Butter, Sugar, Brown Sugar
  • Eggs – Have at room temperature. Large eggs are standard.
  • Coffee – I’m not a coffee drinker, so I use instant coffee. Leftover coffee works well, too.
  • Vanilla Extract – Use real vanilla extract, never imitation.
  • Cocoa Powder – Not hot cocoa mix. Use regular cocoa, not Dutch processed unless it’s specifically called for.
  • Espresso Powder – Like coffee, espresso will enhance the chocolate’s flavor. I keep instant espresso on hand, too.
  • Cornstarch – Helps make for softer, more tender brownies.
  • Baking Powder – Different from baking soda; they are not interchangeable. Plus baking powder will often expire before you use it up. Check the date on your can and replace before using if it’s almost expired. You can test it by putting a spoonful in a bowl of hot water. If it bubbles vigorously, it’s good to go.
  • Chocolate Chips – I use Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate chips.
  • Cream – I used heavy cream; 36% butterfat.
  • Rainbow Chip Sprinkles – mini M&Ms, or other small colorful candies can be used, but the sprinkles look best.
A tray of cosmic brownies with a jar of rainbow chip sprinkles.

How to Make

First, I have to tell you how rich and delicious these Little Debbie brownies taste. When I told my husband there were more of these brownies in the refrigerator, he replied, “I know.” Then he confessed that when there was no bread in the kitchen for breakfast, he ate a Cosmic Brownie instead. What????! Not sure that’s a viable substitute, but apparently, they’re that impossible to resist.

Here’s how to make them:

  • Line a square baking pan with non-stick foil. This will ensure you can remove the brownies from the pan to cut them into squares.
  • Mix the brownie ingredients according to the recipe. For fudgy brownies, do not overmix or use a mixer on high. If you do, it will incorporate too much air and make a cakier rather than fudgy brownie.
  • Use room-temperature eggs for easier incorporation.
  • Scrape and Spread the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Use an offset spatula to help smooth and level the top.
  • Bake according to the recipe instructions. Bake a few minutes less if using a 9 x 9-inch pan.
  • Check for doneness with a toothpick. There should be no batter on the toothpick when it’s pulled out from the middle of the brownies. A few moist crumbs are OK.
  • Cool for at least 30 minutes before making the frosting.
  • Microwave the cream and chocolate chips, stir until smooth, then top the brownies.
  • Sprinkle with rainbow chips, mini M&Ms. or round chocolate-covered candies.

How to Cut

Cutting brownies that are covered with small candies can be daunting. It’s pretty near impossible to get perfect squares, but I’ve got some tips.

  1. First, after the brownies chill for about 30 minutes, and score the top of the brownies to mark where you’ll cut since the frosting is not completely set. You will be moving some of the sprinkles out of the way.
  2. Since this batch makes 16 brownies, first mark down the middle in one direction, then give the pan a quarter turn and repeat down the middle. You should have 4 equal squares.
  3. Next, divide each of those squares into 4 more squares. Return to the refrigerator to finish cooling.
  4. When ready to slice, use a sharp knife, and wipe off the knife after each cut is made.
Overhead view of a tray of homemade cosmic brownies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Use Cornstarch in the Brownies?

Adding cornstarch versus more flour cuts down on the amount of gluten in a brownie recipe. Less gluten = more tender. A couple of other bakers have claimed adding just a tablespoon of cornstarch to their brownies makes them chewier, too. Not a bad thing!

What are Rainbow Chip Sprinkles?

These are the bright, rainbow-colored candy-coated chocolate sprinkles that garnish the classic cosmic brownies. They are not symmetrical like typical sprinkles, but instead, look like they’re “chipped” off a larger block.
Wilton brand rainbow chip sprinkles can be found at retailers like JoAnn Fabrics and Michael’s. Betty Crocker also sells a version that may be found at some larger grocery stores.

How Do You Store Cosmic Brownies?

These keep well at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. If you stack them, place parchment paper between the layers. Any longer, keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. These should also freeze well for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

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Two cosmic brownies on a small square ceramic plate

Cosmic Brownies Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Yield 16 brownies

Fudgy Brownies topped with chocolate ganache and candy-coated chocolate candies



  • ¾ cup butter (1 ½ sticks), melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons coffee
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder mixed in 2 tablespoons of water
  • ¾ cup of flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder


  • 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup cream
  • ½ cup (I used less) Rainbow Chip Sprinkles, mini M&Ms, or other small colorful candies


  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with non-stick foil (or use regular foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray). Set aside.⅔¾½
  2. In a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter using 30-second increments
  3. Add the sugars and mix to combine. Then add the eggs, coffee, vanilla, and stir till well mixed.
  4. Add the cocoa powder, espresso mixture, and whisk until smooth.
  5. Add the flour, cornstarch, and baking powder and stir until it's just incorporated; don't overmix.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with an offset spatula. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes until the top looks set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs. Cool on a wire rack.
  7. While brownies have cooled for at least a half-hour, make the ganache. Add chocolate chips and cream to a medium, microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on high for one minute. Set aside.
  8. Let stand a few minutes before whisking to combine. If there are any small lumps, you may microwave for 15 seconds and whisk until smooth. Repeat if needed.
  9. Pour the ganache over the brownies and smooth with an offset spatula. Sprinkle with sprinkles or candies and chill for at least 2 hours before cutting.


If using a 9 x 9-inch baking pan, bake for 25-28 minutes. Your brownies will be slightly thinner.
Total time does not include cooling times.

Adapted from numerous recipes including Averie Cooks Homemade Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies/

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 brownie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 372Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 105mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 2gSugar: 38gProtein: 3g


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