I have a confession to make.
I love brownies. Lots. And… and here’s the confession part… I love them more than cupcakes. *hangs head in shame* I know, I know. But they’re so amazing. I could eat an entire pan myself. A good brownie is like the closest thing to a heaven that there is, I believe. And by good brownie I mean: fudgy center, and the elusive crusty, flaky “candy-like” top. Not too mushy, yet not too cake-like. And NO nuts! Thats a personal choice of course, you may enjoy nuts. Haha. I said “enjoy nuts.” Anyway, the perfect brownie is cause to swoon… *sigh* They’re hard to come by though. They’re rarely perfect. However these are the closest thing to perfect I could find, so therefore they’re the closest thing to the closest thing to heaven I know of. Did you follow that? I didn’t.
According to the wonderful epicurious.com:
Cocoa brownies have the softest center and chewiest candylike top “crust” of all because all of the fat in the recipe (except for a small amount of cocoa butter in the cocoa) is butter, and all of the sugar is granulated sugar rather than the finely milled sugar used in chocolate. Use the best cocoa you know for these fabulous brownies.
Yep. These really are fabulous. Cocoa brownies FTW!
THE BEST COCOA BROWNIES
First ya gotta get:
- 10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cold large eggs
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
Then yer gonna:
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of the 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. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.
- 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. 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.
When it comes to making brownies, its a good idea to remove them from the oven when the toothpick comes out covered in some moist crumbs, not when it comes out clean. This is because they continue cooking for a few minutes after you take them out because of heat still left in them. Apparently also the main components of chocolate that give it its flavor are easily lost during baking and with heat, so its a good idea to remember that.
Yeah. I know.
Now as far as cocoa powder goes, there are people out there that will tell you to use the absolute BEST quality stuff you can find. I, on the other hand, am not going to do that. I guarantee you that the average person you serve these to is not going to tell whether you used Valrhona or Hershey’s. Especially not kids. Also, I used mini-chocolate chips instead of nuts and I have to say the brownies came out freakin’ awesome.
And to all you Brownie Mary‘s out there, just remember this: please notify the people eating the tainted brownie that they may not pass a drug test afterwards. And have plenty of straight jackets at the ready.