One of the easiest things to bake are brownies. I’ve always used the recipe from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home since it always provides seriously awesome results. In fact, it’s actually foolproof – I know because I’ve totally goofed the recipe and even with insane screw-ups, they’ve always turned out delicious.
A few weeks ago, I started seeing Smitten Kitchen’s cocoa brownies floating around and decided to take a peek. The recipe itself is very similar to the Moosewood version, so I decided that I’d pass by the SK version (since it required extra steps including the use of a bain marie) and just tweak my old standby to push the chocolate-intensity to the max. Not only did I add in cocoa (actually a half and half blend of some regular cocoa and some fancy extra-black cocoa from France) but I also threw in some cocoa nibs to boot.
The results were amazing! Dark, fudgy and rich and, like the old standby, so easy to put everything together. One pot and one baking dish. No need to dirty up a bowl. I did add a heaping amount of salt because I knew the salt would help to up the complexity of the flavours – but it you don’t like your salt with your sweets, just level your measurement instead. These are perfect to people who are allergic to nuts since the crunch factor comes from the cocoa nibs. Forget about frosting them as they are pretty rich on their own….but they do go well with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. You know, just saying.
seriously intense cocoa nib brownies
1/2 c unsalted butter
1 c sugar
1/3 c cocoa powder
2 squares (56 g) of unsweetened baking chocolate
1/4 t (heaping) kosher salt
1/2 t vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c cocoa nibs
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8×8 glass baking dish with parchment paper (bottom and sides), leaving an overhang of paper to help lift the brownies out when they’re done baking.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt together the butter, sugar, cocoa, unsweetened baker’s chocolate and salt. Stir often to make sure that everything is melting properly. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes.
3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs together. Quickly pour the eggs into the chocolate mixture and start beating the eggs vigorously so they don’t end up scrambled. After your arm starts fatiguing, stir in the flour until it’s just mixed. Gently stir in the cocoa nibs. Pour the mixture into your lined baking dish, smoothing out the top.
4. Bake for about 25-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out relatively clean from the center. Let cool on a wire rack. When cool, lift the brownies onto a cutting board and cut into squares.