Monday, May 10, 2010

best cocoa brownies: delightful temptations

It’s funny how sometimes the simplest things in life can bring you the most joy. A simple hello from a friend, getting a postcard in the mail or discovering some old trinkets from your childhood.

As I was slowly getting ready for the move a few days ago, I decided to start going through my things and sorted out whatever I wouldn’t be taking along with me. That’s when I discovered how much stuff I had kept over the years. The thing about me is that, on the one hand, I love simplicity and order, but on the other hand, I can’t seem to let go of things. At the time, that object feels sentimental but usually over time, I won’t even remember where I had gotten it from so I’ll throw it out. But in most cases, I’ll just feel bad about throwing out something that I had kept for so long. All those rocks or tiny little toys that I had collected as a child were kept in my closet but they were in a sense, completely useless. Why did I decide to keep those piles of magazines from over a decade ago? Am I really going to look over them again? Or maybe it’s just a reminder as to who I was back then and who I’ve become now (although I usually prefer to not look back on those extremely awkward teen years).

I think we all have difficulty letting go of things that were once important to us. But there’s something to be said about clearing out clutter. It makes me feel like I’ve shed so many pounds and gotten rid of things that are no longer of use to me. It may seem hard at first to let go, but you’ll realise that the memories will always remain. That’s why I like to keep things simple, that way you can really appreciate the things you have for what they are. (That, or just put everything in a box and stuff it in your parents’ basement :p )

These brownies are pretty much as simple as they come, but the taste and texture are incredible. Using no actual chocolate, they are made with cocoa powder. When I first saw them on foodbeam, I was also skeptical that they wouldn't be chocolatey enough, but the result is a wonderfully fudgy and chewy delight!

Cocoa Brownies

Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet (discovered on Foodbeam)
Yields 16 big or 25 small slices


1 1/4 sticks (140 g) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (280 g) sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (80 g) cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup (65 g) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)


Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and line an 8x8” pan with parchment paper and leave overhangs for easy removal. Melt the butter in a heat-proof bowl over a simmering bain-marie and add the sugar, cocoa and salt, and cook, stirring until it forms a smooth mixture and feels hot to the touch when you stick your finger in it.

Leave aside to cool down slightly (until it’s only warm, not hot) then mix in the eggs one at a time, using a whisk and stir vigorously for a good minute after each one so the eggs don’t curdle. Fold in the flour (and add vanilla if you want, but it’s not a must, and any nuts if desired) and spread the batter evenly into the prepared tin.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until barely set and a toothpick comes out slightly moist with batter (the top should have formed a shiny crust). Cool on a wire rack about 30 minutes and cut into slices (you can also put them in the fridge or freezer for a bit to cool down and cut clean lines). I don’t know how long these last for because frankly, they’ll get eaten up faster than you can say Yo-Yo Ma!


  1. Hey Lisa!
    quick question.. do you think I could substitute a muffin pan instead of the pan? I unfortunately don't have a proper one but would love to try this recipe!!

  2. I baked them as bite sized brownies instead. These were very tasty, thank you.

  3. Délicieux!! Merci pour cette recette!


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