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Sunday, October 20, 2013

All-time Favorite Cocoa Brownie Recipe

Did you know that brownies made with cocoa have a richer, more chocolate-y taste than those made with melted chocolate?  This is one recipe where the easy method.. actually produces best results.  And when you see how easy, simple and successful this recipe is.. it's hard to go back to boxed.  Why would you want to?  Here, you know what is going into this treat.. minimally processed and whole ingredients.  

Basic Cocoa Brownies

10 T. unsalted butter 
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 t. kosher salt
1 t. instant espresso powder (optional)
1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 c. all-purpose flour

Pre-heat oven to 325°F. 

Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang (see pic).

In the top of a double boiler, (or heat-proof glass bowl set atop a saucepan of simmering water) Combine the butter, sugar, sifted cocoa, salt and espresso. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is mixed well. Remove from heat.  (Mixture may be grainy at this point, but don't worry.)
Stir in vanilla with a wooden spoon and add eggs one at a time, beat vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir til disappears. 
Now beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. If using nuts, add now. 
Spread evenly in the lined pan.
Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 35 min. 
Let cool completely on a rack.
Lift up the ends of the parchment liner and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into squares. 
I usually get 16 out of a batch.

Recipe Notes:  Coconut Oil can be substituted in part or whole for the butter.  I like to go half and half. 
Flour.. we use organic whole wheat white or organic all purpose. All purpose lends a silkier end result. We also have used kamut flour and it works well. 
Gluten-free Note:  Simply exchange the flour in the recipe for Bob's Red Mill gluten-free baking flour and 1/8t. xanthum gum. Works well and I think taste even better than with the flour. 

Melt butter in heatproof bowl over pot of simmering water.

Sugar, sugar.. 

sift cocoa in..

stirring it as it melts...

mixing it up.. 

Off the heat, add vanilla & then beat the eggs in..

 Beat it 40 times.. why? not sure, but it all works out
pretty good so I don't question it. 

Line your pyrex 8x8 pan with 2 sheets
of parchment, leaving an overlap...

Chocolatey goodness, simple and delicious!

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