Brownies have always been one of my all time favorite desserts. I especially love chocolate-y, gooey, and chewy brownies with a lovely crinkly crust. But I hate brownies that are overly sweet, cakey, or artificial tasting. I’ve tested quite a few brownie recipes and for a while the Baked brownie was my favorite. But that recipe requires a little work and a lot of chocolate. Actually, most homemade brownie recipes require either expensive chocolate, or that your butter be a room temperature (who wants to wait for that?) or require you to use multiple bowls and tools before you’ve got your batter in the pan. Not these cocoa brownies. No expensive blocks of chocolate, just cocoa. And only one bowl. These brownies are so easy and cheap to bake which makes them a wonderful holiday gift.
Taste: Intensely chocolate and not too sweet.
Texture: Rich, chewy, and gooey. Does it get any better?
Ease: One of the easiest scratch-baked brownie recipes I’ve ever made.
Appearance: Brownies always look delicious, especially when they have that crinkly crust like these ones.
Pros: Convenient, cheap, delectable.
Would I make this again? Maybe tonight!
Yield: 16 or 25 brownie squares
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, cold
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
2. Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and microwave for 1:30 minutes. Remove and stir until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smoothes out once the eggs and flour are added.
3. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
4. Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 25 to 30 minutes. 5. Let cool completely on a rack. Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.