Brownies are one of those desserts that will unfailingly bring a smile to (almost) everyone’s face. Serve them warm with ice cream, stick one in your kids’ lunch boxes … or settle in for the night with the entire pan because sometimes life is tough and you deserve a little indulgence now and then.
These brownies from Smitten Kitchen are made with only cocoa powder, which may seem controversial until you try them. After the first bite, you’ll never want to eat another brownie ever again.
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (or a heaping 1/4 teaspoon flaky salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, cold
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup roughly chopped 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.
- Set the bowl 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 inserted into the center comes out slightly moist with batter, 20-30 minutes depending on your oven.
Cool completely in the pan on a rack.
Once completely cool, remove the brownie from the pan by lifting the ends of the parchment or foil liner and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares. (Chill for an hour for sharp edges.) Dust with cocoa powder for a finishing touch.