I used to joke about stress baking… but I just learned that it’s a somewhat legitimate form of therapy. (LOL there’s pie therapy, guys)
In any event, I was stress baking earlier this week. Common symptoms before a stress baking attack include getting home from work late, eating cold pizza for dinner, and a serious craving for chocolate.
The most satisfying part of stress baking, however, is when you end up making something glorious without going to the store for extra ingredients. Enter brownies!!!
I got this recipe from Alice Medrich, whose Wikipedia page refers to her as “the First Lady of Chocolate”. (Excuse me. What does that even mean? Who’s the president then? Can I do that? I have many questions.)
I have tried many, many brownie recipes — and these are, in short, my absolute favorite recipe. You should try them, or really, give me any excuse to make them and I’ll bring some over.
best cocoa brownies ever
adapted from Food52
- 10 tablespoons (140 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (80 grams) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cold large eggs
- 1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup (65 grams) walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
**When making brownies, I prefer going by weight for accuracy. Cocoa powder weights vary widely, but 80 grams worked great for Hershey’s stuff.
- 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″ square pan with parchment, leave an overhang on all sides for easy lifting. (I used round because I still don’t have an 8″ square pan!)
- Combine butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water.
- Stir occasionally until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot to touch.
- Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside until the mixture is 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 and shiny, add the flour and stir well, 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 for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with just a little batter.
- 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 16 pieces (or really like 4).