Cocoa Brownies

On Monday afternoons, we often wander up to the local farmer’s market to buy treats, fresh bread, or artisan sheep cheeses.  Robin commented that the brownie was the best he had ever had.  Wait…what?!  WHAT?!  Well, throw down the gauntlet – it’s time to find a brownie recipe that challenges the baker at the farmer’s market.


Cocoa Brownies

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 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 & preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom & sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, & 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 & the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.

(I did the previous melting/mixing step utilizing our microwave & was just fine.)

Stir in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring after each one. When the batter looks well blended, add the flour & stir until you cannot see it any longer. 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 (25 minutes for my oven). Let cool completely on a rack.

This is a start.  Brownies using cocoa are so much less labor-intensive but I might have to up the ante & melt some actual chocolate to achieve this dream holy grail brownie.

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