As promised, here is the all-cocoa powder brownie recipe I used when judging the difference between natural and dutch-process cocoa powders. This is the closest homemade recipe to rival the boxed brownie mixes I’ve found – which means a lot in my family since Brian adores the boxed brownie variety. And I can’t bring myself to buy them. Which means these brownies are a very happy compromise, especially considering that this simple homemade recipe takes maybe two minutes longer than the boxed mix. Ok, three. The brownies are so delicious, they easily gain access to The Best Recipe list.
Fudgy, dense and downright decadent and addicting, the brownies’ chocolate flavor comes exclusively from cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate in the batter, which means using natural or dutch-process can vary the chocolate flavor (see this post for more details). Either way is delicious, but I have to admit that because I love my chocolate dark, the dutch-process cocoa in these brownies is heavenly to my dark chocolate loving palette. Test it out and see decide for yourself. It may take two or three batches, but seriously, what’s so wrong with extra brownies laying around, right? (Actually on second thought, I’d rather not let my postpartum thighs dwell on that question…)
Note: This recipe doubles wonderfully for a 9X13-inch pan. Just keep an eye on the baking time and adjust accordingly.
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks or 5 ounces) butter
- 1 1/4 cups (9 7/8 ounces) sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 7/8 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (2 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 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. Lightly grease with cooking spray and set aside.
- Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium microwave-wafe bowl. Microwave for one minute intervals, stirring in between, until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Set the mixture aside until it cools slightly (is warm to the touch not hot). It will look gritty but it will become smooth once the other ingredients are added.
- Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. 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. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack. After the brownies are cooled completely, I like to throw the pan in the refrigerator - cold brownies cut much easier and taste heavenly. Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into squares and serve.
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen originally from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet