It’s usually around this time of the year, right after the mad rush of Valentine’s and before Easter rabbits begin to hop around the kitchen that we seek reprieve and refuge in our library of cookbooks. Our collective brains are a little mushy so paging through our books is part relaxation, part jump start of our creative juices, but mostly having an excuse to bake or at least eat baked items. Although we don’t do much baking here, we have always had talented bakers in our midst (actually it is a prerequisite). Fresh brioche cinnamon buns at Christmas, a salty malty chocolate chip cookie during snow storms, and most recently, a remarkable over the moon freshly baked brownie.
Best Cocoa Brownies
Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet
- 10 tbs unsalted butter
- 1 ¼ cup sugar
- ¾ cup + 2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 cold large eggs
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional, but highly recommended! )
1. Preheat oven 325F, rack in the lower third of oven.
2. Butter and flour baking 9 inch square pan, or line with parchment.
3. Combine butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in microwaveable bowl. Heat and melt in microwave until butter is melted, mixture is smooth, and hot enough that you remove your finger quickly after dipping. Allow to cool briefly til warm.
4. Add vanilla, then eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When batter is thick, shiny and well blended, add flour and stir until you can’t see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes by hand. Stir in nuts.
5. Spread evenly in pan. Bake until tester emerges with slightly moist batter about 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely on rack.
Want another recipe? Try our Summer Citrus Salad with Candied Cocoa Nibs.