Monday, February 8, 2016

Best Cocoa Brownies

 Do you love brownies as much as I do?? Unless you're someone who doesn't like chocolate (which just makes no sense to me), you'll agree that brownies are one of life's simple pleasures. So even though I already have several brownie recipes, I figured More is More!!!
 I made these brownies for my friend Luis. He went WAY far out of his way for me, and this was just a little something to show my appreciation. It was really no trouble, and I already had all the ingredients on hand. It's amazing how something as simple as a little pan of homemade brownies can be so appreciated. I found this recipe on and it's now one of my go to brownie recipes. So delicious and fudgy! Luis enjoyed them and I'm sure you will too! My favorite way to enjoy them is with a nice cold glass of milk. For a special occasion, serve them warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup or ganache. Just doesn't get any better!

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
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Line the bottom and sides of an 8" 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. 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 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 9 or 16 squares.

To be honest, I'm not sure what the purpose is of heating everything over simmering water instead of just melting the butter in a microwave and then stirring it into the other ingredients. I'll have to give it a try next time and see how they turn out.
Instead of adding nuts, I chose to sprinkle a handful or two of semisweet chocolate chips over the batter just before baking. Do whichever you like! Or do both! More is more!
For perfectly clean knife cuts, chill the entire batch before cutting with a very sharp knife.

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