June 8, 2013

Cocoa Brownies

I have plenty of brownie recipes already on this site, but I wanted one that used cocoa instead of chocolate. Even though I buy chocolate very frequently, it still seems like a precious commodity. So a brownie made with cocoa sounded like a good idea. These brownies were very rich and fudgey, but in a different way than, say, these fudgy brownies. I'm not even sure how to describe it. At first I thought they were cakey, but then they seemed fudgy, so maybe the longer they sat out (which wasn't very long), they turned more fudgy. Not sure, but I guess I'll have to make them again to find out!

Cocoa Brownies
from Bittersweet by Alice Medrich

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cold, large eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 325℉. Line the bottom and sides of a 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

2. 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 in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.

3. 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.

4. Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely on a cooling rack.

5. 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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