My Recipe Box

Bittersweet Cocoa Brownies

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Yields 16 brownies.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 61

Brownies made with cocoa powder are softer on the inside than those made with bar chocolate. I like the tart and lively flavor of natural cocoa powder here; Dutch-processed gives a mellower flavor. Try both types to see which you like best.

  • 2-1/4 oz. (3/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 5 oz. (10 Tbs.) hot melted unsalted butter
  • 2 cold large eggs
  • 1-1/2 oz. (1/3 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup broken walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

Heat the oven to 325°F. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan (preferably metal) with foil across the bottom and up two opposite sides of the pan.

In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix the cocoa, sugar, vanilla, salt, and hot melted butter with a hand mixer or with vigorous strokes of a whisk. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until the batter is thick and lightened in color, 1 to 2 min. Add the flour and stir with a rubber spatula just until blended. Fold in the nuts, if using. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake until the top is puffed and slightly crusted and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a little fudge batter clinging to it, 28 to 30 min.

Let the brownies cool completely in the pan on a rack. Lift the ends of the foil to remove them. Invert the brownies on a tray and peel off the foil.  Turn the brownies right side up on a cutting board and cut into squares (wipe the knife between each cut, as the brownies will be soft and sticky).

Photo: Scott Phillips

I usually substitute olive oil or sometimes coconut oil for the butter, mostly because I'm sure to have the oil on hand and it's one less step without melting. I also love the nutty flavor of olive oil. Don't get me wrong, butter is amazing, but I'd rather eat it straight on great bread or in a croissant, where I can really appreciate the flavor. The texture of these brownies is fantastic whichever fat you use, especially cold, and between the oil, walnuts and cocoa I almost feel like it's a health food.

Best brownie recipe you can make, and I agree they are better the next day.

It needs to be noted that these brownies are better the next day. The day I made them, they were ok but not great. The next day, fabulous! So good. I think next time I make them, I might tweak them a little, with a touch more flour (maybe 1/2c instead of 1/3) and maybe sugar (I like things sweet). But very good, very fudgy.

These were really good! The only issue is that they fell apart when I tried to cut them (after letting them cool to room temperature). Next time I'll try chilling them in the fridge so they harden and hopefully stay together better.

I had the "special dark" cocoa on hand, and it was too much. The brownie came out almost black. next time I'll use regular cocoa and cut the sugar just a hair. Very chewy and moist, though. It took the whole 30 minutes to bake (I'm at 1 mile high in altitude). Be careful when removing the foil from the pan, because I held the opposite corners and it broke in half.

yup, the perfect chewy brownie! I had to cook mine 5 mins longer than suggested for some reason.

Delicious-- a soft, chocolatey, moist brownie-- the perfect foil for nuts!

I substituted 1 cup milk or bittersweet chocolate chips for the nuts as my family doesn't like nuts. The BEST brownie recipe I've ever made. Always gets rave reviews.

Very tasty and moist! And I really like how I usually have the ingredients on hand. Also, I folded in a handful of chocolate chips after I added the flour.

The search for the perfect brownie recipe is over. This is it. Absolute perfection.

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