Cocoa Brownies

  • Serves: Makes one 8 x 8-inch baking pan
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 325
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  • Comments: 17

photo by sugarpie © 2006 Sarah Phillips
Alice Medrich, who I dub as one of the queen's of chocolate, has come up with a brownie recipe, that I have adapted, that has the "softest center and chewiest candylike top "crust" of all". She explains that it is because "all of the fat in the recipe (except for a small amount of cocoa butter in the cocoa) is butter, and all of the sugar is granulated sugar rather than the finely milled sugar used in chocolate."

Alice Medrich Says: "Any unsweetened natural or Dutch-process cocoa powder works well here. Natural cocoa produces brownies with more flavor complexity and lots of tart, fruity notes. I think it's more exciting. Dutch-process cocoa results in a darker brownie with a mellower, old-fashioned chocolate pudding flavor, pleasantly reminiscent of childhood."

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) 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 cold large eggs
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

2. In the top of a double boiler, combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt. Keep stirring until the butter melts, and the mixture is smooth. Do not let the mixture become too hot. Immediately remove from the heat, and let cool until the mixture is tepid or slightly warm.

3. Stir in the vanilla. With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula (not a whisk so you don't beat too much air into the mixture), add the eggs one at a time and stir vigorously after each one. Mix until the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended. Then, sift the measured flour over the mixture, and stir until combined. At the end, beat vigorously for 40 strokes. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

4. Bake until a toothpick, inserted in the center and then removed, is slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let brownies cool completely in their pan on a wire cake rack.

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner with the brownies and transfer to a cutting board. Remove the parchment paper and cut brownies into 16 or 25 squares.

Adapted from BitterSweet by Alice Medrich

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