Cocoa Brownies

I love chocolate.  Some people might consider it a problem but I consider it a blessing.  Chocolate is wonderful.  I love all types of chocolate – even white chocolate, the ugly step sister in the chocolate family.  It was 4 pm on Friday and I had a hankering for some chocolate, but there was none in the office.  So when I got home, I decided to take matters into my own hands.  Cocoa brownies.  These are the fast track to getting you chocolate fix.

These are fudge-y brownies.  If you are more of a cake brownie type of person, you’ll want to go else where.  They are super dense and very moist.  Just a bit of a warning – these are really rich.  But that is a good thing too – you can cut them into smaller squares and get the same chocolate intake as a “normal” brownie.

I think I have found a new favorite brownie!

Cocoa Brownies

from Smitten Kitchen

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 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

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.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test.  This takes some time to really heat up.  Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t worry — it smooths out once the eggs and flour are added.

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. 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. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes is Medrich’s suggestion but it took me at least 10 minutes longer to get them set. Let cool completely on a rack.

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

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