Last night’s company needed to air work-related grievances, and I needed to prepare myself for the second half of a challenging semester. A baking session was in order. These cocoa brownies are a great go-to recipe when in need of fuss-free, intensely chocolaty treats. No need for a trip to the grocery store, mixers or bowls. This simple recipe calls for pantry staples bakers rely on. You’ll only need one saucepan to whip up this batch of cocoa brownies by hand. Considered by many to be the best brownies floating around the web, chocolate expert Alice Medrich’s recipe first appeared in her award-winning cookbook Bittersweet back in 2003. This is an updated version that was published in Bon appétit magazine a few years back. The browned butter adds depth to the batter. And when you add the cocoa powder to it, oohh divine. These dark, fudgy brownies smell so incredibly rich and chocolaty!
Yields 16 portions
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, chilled
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup walnut pieces (I did not use any.)
1) Position the rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325F.
2) Butter a 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan and line it with parchment paper.
3) Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
4) Add the sugar, cocoa, water, vanilla, and salt. Stirring until blended. Let cool for 5 minutes.
5) Add the eggs to the still-hot mixture one at a time, beating vigorously to incorporate after each addition. The mixture will look thick and shiny.
6) Fold in the flour, beating vigorously 60 strokes.
7) Stir in nuts if using.
8) Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
9) Bake brownies for 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into centre comes out almost clean with a few moist crumbs attached.
10) Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing the brownies.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.