Cocoa Brownies

February 1, 2011

I’m so excited for February! This particular month seems like it always comes just in time…just when spring is WAY too far away. The snowdrifts are huge…and only getting bigger…and the thermometer is just not budging, at least not in the right direction (unless, of course, someone has a fever). Enter February. The month of romance, and chocolate, and my birthday. Lots of fun stuff in February! I’m also looking forward to getting an ultrasound this month. On my birthday actually. I can’t think of a better present than catching a glimpse of this new little one, and maybe even finding out whether I should celebrate by buying something in pink or blue!

On that note, let’s usher February in with some chocolate, in heart shape no less. By the way, please prepare yourself for lots of chocolate this month. I am a big chocolate fan and this is the one month where chocolate in excess is allowed, well, expected really. You do expect chocolate this month right? Someone please let me know if I’m mistaken here. On second thought…please don’t.

These brownies are great. They turned out so rich and fudgy which is not always what one expects from a cocoa brownie. The ganache on top…heavenly. I’m a sucker for ganache. Just for fun I cut them into heart shapes and added some pink sprinkles. You will end up with some leftover brownie scraps when you cut them out. I saw that more as an opportunity than a problem.  If you don’t want the scraps, or just want the brownies to stretch further, they would be equally delicious cut into squares.

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
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cold large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8 inch 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. 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. Spread with ganache and cut as desired. I used a cookie cutter to make mine into heart shapes.

For Ganache:

Combine 1 tbsp. corn syrup and 3 ounces of heavy cream in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Add 6 ounces of chopped chocolate (I used 60% but semi-sweet would be good too). Let sit for 1 minute and then stir together until smooth. Use immediately.

Source: Best Cocoa Brownies – Epicurious

 

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Tina February 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm

And why do we live so far away from each other???? Man, those look good. How did you cut them so perfectly?

Robin February 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm

What size pan did you use?

Becky February 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Robin – Oops, thanks for pointing that out! I used an 8×8 pan. Off to add that to the post…

Becky February 1, 2011 at 4:01 pm

I don’t know…why do we:-) ? I just used a cookie cutter to make the heart shapes.

Marianne February 2, 2011 at 3:32 pm

These might need to get made at our house this weekend! Love the pictures of your helper ;) B. was very happy to see him on the screen!

Lori @ RecipeGirl February 4, 2011 at 8:40 am

omg, that picture of the bite… with that thick layer of ganache! Wow! These look absolutely mouthwatering (and cute too!)

Becky February 4, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Thanks Lori!

Sarah February 5, 2011 at 8:05 pm

I couldn’t resist. I made these yesterday. They are To Die For!!! I love baking, but I’ve always just used the boxed version for brownies. After tasting these, I’m not sure I can ever go back!
Oh, and I didn’t have time to cut into heart shapes…they got eaten by my family too fast :)

Becky February 6, 2011 at 9:37 am

I’m so glad you and your family liked them Sarah! They really aren’t much harder than a boxed brownie and they taste so much better! Thanks for the feedback:-)

Jessica February 7, 2011 at 12:07 am

These are so adorable! Perfect for Valentines day!

DebbyDeath February 11, 2011 at 7:05 pm

The initial step when you heat the cocoa, butter, sugar and salt mixture on the stove did not work at all for me. The whole mix just stayed a grainy, dull lump no matter how long I waited, or stirred. I even added some vegetable oil to get things started but that didn’t work, either! How long does it normally take for the mixture to become smooth? I guess I’m just going to use this lumpy mess I have, and hope it turns out for the best… I hope I can make these again without a hitch, though!

Becky February 11, 2011 at 7:30 pm

So sorry you’re having trouble with these Debby. If I recall correctly the mixture in the first step took several minutes to smooth out (it was lumpy and gritty) but once the butter melted I was pretty much good to go. The mixture will be thick but there should not be lumps. I hope that they end up working for you and that they are as delicious for you as they were for me! Thanks for the comment!

DebbyDeath February 12, 2011 at 5:18 pm

I went ahead with the gritty cocoa mix and it ended up making some very good brownies. Perhaps part of the problem is that I subbed two tablespoons of butter with bacon grease (I was making bacon brownies and wanted a bit of that flavor throughout the brownie). It was my first time making chocolate from scratch and I’m not very learned in that area but am too impatient not to begin experimenting–college doesn’t let me bake as much as I would like.

If you’re wondering how the bacon worked with the brownies, I think it was quite good! I sprinkled the bacon over half of the batter before topping off. It wasn’t really better or worse than normal brownies, but different in a pleasing way. The only thing I would change is using only two strips of bacon–it’s incredible how far that flavor goes!

Becky February 12, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Bacon brownies…whoa! I’m so glad they ended up working out for you!

KM May 28, 2011 at 1:14 am

A tiny bit too good a recipe- irresistable and it’s a bit too tempting to make more…

Jennefer Nary May 29, 2013 at 2:04 am

Yours look so amazing! I made them but had to make some adjustments because of what I had on hand and considering it’s 2 am I can’t just run to the store. I used vegetable oil instead of butter and baker’s chocolate and chocolate chips instead of cocoa. These were delicious! Unfortunately I ran out of chocolate so I couldn’t make the ganache but they’re still amazing as is. As soon as I get more ingredients I’ll try out your exact recipe. Ooh, I forgot to mention I also added a teaspoon of ground hazelnut coffee. I love that hazelnut flavor and the coffee intensified the chocolate. So really, there’s no need for any type of frosting for mine. Thanks for the recipe!!!

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