I’ll tell you a secret- I am not actually the biggest fan of brownies made with cocoa powder.
When I make brownies I want something so dark and chocolatey that some of my family can barely handle them! (To be kind I add white chocolate chips and pecans to make them a little lighter) Usually this means using at least 70% dark chocolate bars, anything less just never felt indulgent enough. However this means that I save brownies for more special occasions where buying good quality dark chocolate seems acceptable (or wait for a good deal on dark chocolate in the shops!)
These on the other hand are made with cocoa. And are delicious.
They are rich, intensely chocolatey and fudgy.
I tried this recipe for a couple of reasons, number one that I had no chocolate and did not want to go the shops, and number two that my dad was coming to visit and I wanted a nice treat for us to have with a coffee!
Although I do not usually have a big stash of dark chocolate (certainly not big enough in my mind…) I usually do have good quality cocoa powder.
The source for this recipe was one of my favourite cooking blogs- Smitten Kitchen. I have made several of her recipes and all of them were fantastic, Deb is usually my first port of call for birthday cakes etc! Check out her recipe here
250g Caster Sugar
65g Cocoa Powder
¼ tsp Salt (I used a good grind of salt as I had no table salt)
½ tsp vanilla extract (I used a dash of vanilla paste instead.)
2 cold large eggs
65g Plain Flour
To begin with preheat your oven to 160°C (I have a fan oven but kept the temperature about the same as usual with no negative results). Line the bottom and sides of a brownie tin (mine is about 11×7 inches) with baking parchment leaving an overhang on two opposite sides that you can use to remove the brownies from the tin later.
Place the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt into a medium heatproof bowl (I used a large mason cash bowl) over a pan of simmering water (make sure it doesn’t have a pouring spout on the pan as I was losing a lot of steam from the pan this way, meaning that it took a long time to melt the butter). Stir periodically until the butter has melted and the mixture is well combined. It should be hot enough that you do not want to leave your finger in the mixture for long when testing it.
Remove the bowl from the pan and the heat and leave to cool until the mixture is warm instead of hot. It will look gritty but never fear! The subsequent ingredients will smooth it right out.
Stir the vanilla in and then add the eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the batter looks thick, glossy and fully mixed add the flour and still until it is well incorporated. Then stir vigorously approximately 40 times (I will admit to losing count!) Spread into the lined brownie tin. I used an offset spatula to smooth out the top.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until a cake tester or wooden skewer emerges just slightly moist with batter. Let cool completely on the rack in the tin. Following Deb’s advice I then let them sit for in the freezer for a short while to ensure that they would cut cleanly.
Use the ends of the parchment paper to remove the brownies from the tin, and then cut them into small squares (I used a dough cutter to make it easier.)