I just realized recently that there are ZERO brownie recipes on this blog, which is upsetting in like, 13 different ways. Why would I never share a recipe for brownies? Why would I be holding out? If you had asked me a week ago, I would have sworn up and down that there were at least three. This is, in fact, the very first one.
Let’s just square up about this whole cocoa thing before I go any further. I don’t generally think that brownies made with just cocoa and not actual chocolate are very good–they tend to be dry, cakey, and sort of flavorless. However, I stand corrected (thanks to Deb of Smitten Kitchen) once again: these brownies have only cocoa and almost no other ingredients and they still kick ass.
That’s partly because of the fancy Dutch-processed cocoa powder that I used, but not entirely. I know, I know, I can hear you over there gagging and saying, “Ugh, what the H is dutch-processed cocoa powder and why do I care at all??!” so just calm down, I’ll explain. I just recently learned about regular cocoa vs. Dutch-processed, and it’s cool stuff to know, but you can use either for this recipe, so don’t rush out on a crazy-ingredient hunt or anything.
(Get ready–I’m gonna throw you some science. In a nutshell, Dutch-processed cocoa powder is treated to remove the acids that are naturally found in cocoa beans. Therefore, when you’re baking, you would probably want to use baking powder with Dutch-processed cocoa rather than baking soda. Regular cocoa powder still has acid in it, so baking soda is a better partner because it is a base rather than an acid! It’s all about balance.) Fun fact: this is all easy for me to remember because I KNOW that baking soda is a base and not an acid because my Dad always drinks baking soda and water to cure heartburn (AKA Arm & Hammer Slammers).
Fudge-y Cocoa Brownies
recipe from Smitten Kitchen
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 kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper. Butter the paper and any exposed sides of the pan.
In a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, add the cocoa, sugar, butter, and salt. Stir with a silicone spatula until everything is melted and smooth.
Remove the bowl from the heat and let it begin to cool. Then, add the two eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla, stirring between each new addition. Last, add the flour and stir until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, put in in the oven on a middle rack, and let the brownies bake for 25-30 minutes. They’re ready when a toothpick inserted in the middle of the pan comes out with just a couple of crumbs hanging on.
These puppies are rich, so I cut them into small squares (I got 25 out of the 8×8 pan). Dust with powdered sugar. They’ll keep in an airtight container for about a week!