seriously intense cocoa nib brownies

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 โ€“ 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.

36 comments to “seriously intense cocoa nib brownies”

  1. 1
    Bijoux   March 3, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    I have been craving chocolate lately. These brownies would definitely hit the spot! I've eaten chocolate bars with added cocoa nibs inside and LOVED them! They're like little crunchy pods of intense cocoa flavour. I wish I knew where I could buy some though. Alas, these brownies will have to wait until an event or potluck, so I can sample a piece and then share the rest ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. 2
    thedelishdish   March 3, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    i just devoured an unimaginable amount of chocolate but seeing this post makes me want to have more! i remember seeing this on smitten kitchen but didn't realize it was a one pot one baking dish type of dessert! sounds like an easy recipe that will surely pack that chocolate punch!

  3. 3
    Caviar and Codfish   March 3, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I also have a couple of baking recipes that I go back to again and again for their fool-proofiness. Have always made Alice Medrich's but last time I tried Thomas Keller's brownies from Ad Hoc At Home. Oh my god they were delicious. He melts half the butter then whips it with the other half and other wet ingredients for a long time.

    I think, now that I've successfully baked from two recipes, it's time to try my luck at a third! And I love me some salt in baked goods. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. 4
    jacqui   March 3, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    You are speaking my language with these brownies! One bowl, one baking dish and the fact that they seem kind of fancy with the cocoa nibs, without trying any harder than those who open a brownie mix. Seriously, pure brownie love.

  5. 5
    Three Owls   March 3, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    I just did a pan of brownies yesterday and it was of the urgent kind, and now here is another fantastic recipe to try…not sure what to do, I usually read blogs at night after the kids go to bed, but these food photos of yours are killing me….but like the pan of brownies I cannot resist…hee hee

  6. 6
    Augusta B.   March 3, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Do you mind sharing where you buy your cocoa nibs? (I'm in Vancouver, too.)

  7. 7
    celine   March 4, 2010 at 2:54 am

    I can't resist brownies, they have powers over me and they know it. those b…rats.

  8. 8
    przepisy   March 4, 2010 at 3:00 am

    Love brownies!!! In every shape, taste and look!!!

  9. 9
    Joanne   March 4, 2010 at 3:14 am

    I'm not the biggest chocolate fan but when I want it…I WANT it. THese intense brownies seem like they would definitely do the trick!

  10. 10
    Cake   March 4, 2010 at 6:50 am

    I made it with white chocolate inside, it was amazing.

  11. 11
    Cookie baker Lynn   March 4, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Wow, those are some seriously chocolatey brownies. With ice cream? Definitely!

  12. 12
    Lo   March 4, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Brownies have been on my brain for WEEKS now. And these are totally making me drool. Cocoa nibs are one of the best things ever.

  13. 13
    Rosiecat   March 4, 2010 at 10:41 am

    I can't even count how many times I've thought about making Moosewood's brownie recipe, yet I still haven't done it! Your version here sounds amazing–I love the idea of the crunch from cocoa nibs. It sounds unusual and delicious.

  14. 14
    Liz   March 4, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Cocoa nibs seem to be all over the place. I've never used them before but I'm going to have to; though I'm not sure if my silly little supermarket even carries them. The brownies look wonderful and decadent. And I LOVE the easy minimum-clean-up thing. Whenever I bake I feel like there's always a mountain of dishes to be done. Maybe I just don't bake efficiently.

  15. 15
    lyndsay   March 4, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I LOVE BROWNIES SO HARD. and cocoa nibs… yes, yes…

    so stoked to make this…


  16. 16
    stephchows   March 4, 2010 at 11:16 am

    wowo those look so intense and good!

  17. 17
    kickpleat   March 4, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Bijoux, cocoa nibs are totally crunchy intense pods of cocoa! Check your local health store or fancy gourmet shop, they should have them there. A little bit packs a powerful punch….and they're uber-healthy (but not low fat!)

    Delishdish, I didn't use SK's recipe but modified my own standby from Moosewood, so this one is definitely a one-pot wonder.

    Caviar, sounds perfect with the 2 methods of butter. I must try his recipe with such a glowing rec!

    Jacqui, yup, you nailed it. Pure brownie love.

    Three Owls, I hope you love these ones! And I'm glad I can inspire late-night cravings ๐Ÿ™‚

    Augusta, I got mine at a vegan tradeshow but they are available at the Gourmet Warehouse, Whole Foods and even (I think I saw them) at Drive Organics. The brand is Navitas Naturals which is a local Vancouver company.

    I think we're all vulnerable to the damn brownies, Celine. Resistance is futile.

    Indeed przepisy!

    Really Joanne? Wow that's restrait I don't have. But these are intense so maybe they have special powers to call out to non-chocolate fans too!

    Cake, sounds perfect!

    Lynn, these are serious. No playtime here.

    I agree about the cocoa nibs, Lo!

    Rosiecat, it's really the perfect recipe but I think this version tweaks it out of the park.

    Liz, I'm sure you can order them online or just visit a local health food shop or fancy gourmet shop if you've gone one in your town.

    Lyndsay, how about some brownie cocoa nib soft ice cream to make with your new ice cream maker? Yum!

    Thanks steph, they are!

  18. 18
    Mrs. L   March 4, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Were they roasted or raw cocoa nibs? I found some raw ones at Whole Foods and roasted them myself. also sells them. I have some cocoa nibs leftover from some cookies I made at Christmas so I'll have to try to make these brownies!

  19. 19
    kickpleat   March 4, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Mrs L, they are raw cocoa nibs. I didn't need to roast them or anything.

  20. 20
    Christina   March 6, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    i have ONE egg, but not two. what could i reasonably substitute in for the extra egg? i don't have flax seeds…

  21. 21
    kickpleat   March 6, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Christina, you could throw in a mashed banana or a teaspoon or two of cornstarch. Or leave it out entirely.

  22. 22
    Dana   March 7, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Thank you! I'm always amazed by brownie recipes that get all complicated. The beauty of the brownie is that it is simple to make and totally delicious. And no million pots and pans to wash. And hooray for salt!

  23. 23
    Cooking Foodie   March 8, 2010 at 1:59 am

    This is like brownie heaven… love the color of the brownies… i can almost taste the chocolate
    Lovely new home for the blog!

  24. 24
    Michelle   March 8, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Why did I make these at 10 in the morning? I think I ate half the pan before dinner….these were awesome! I wasn’t sure what cocoa nibs were, so I just used chocolate chips, which was great, but now I’m curious to look for cocoa nibs to try next time. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe….and SO easy!

  25. 25
    kickpleat   March 8, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Dana, there is perfection in simplicity and this brownie recipe nails it. Thanks!

    Thank you, Cooking Foodie!

    Michelle, cocoa nibs aren’t sweet – they’re actually the cocoa beans broken up into bits, so they aren’t sweet but very intense. Glad you enjoyed them!

  26. 26
    Cara   March 31, 2010 at 9:48 am

    I just made these yesterday, and I think they’ll be my standard recipe from now on! Usually it’s Alice Medrich for me, but I’m now a total convert. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

  27. 27
    Siri   April 13, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Oh great, now I’m going to drag my son all over town in search of cocoa nibs.

  28. 28
    Brownie Love   October 25, 2010 at 7:39 am

    Good lord, these are delish! My husband made a late night run for ingredients and made them after I put our 1-year-old to bed. It is the sweetest (literally) thing he has done for a date night. These brownies are so yummy!!! We will share these around and have to make more this weekend for visiting family.
    Thank you for this WONDERFUL choco delight! With the salt these brownies remind me of a brownie we had recently at a local restaurant where they put bacon in their brownies.
    Only I think these are healthier because no pork fat.
    Thanks again!

  29. 29
    art and lemons   November 5, 2010 at 10:49 am

    My go to brownies are Moosewood’s Fudge version as well, which I make extra chocolaty with chips. I just bough some cocoa nibs to give these go.

  30. 30
    sky   December 27, 2011 at 7:23 am

    2 squares of unsweetened baking chocolate = grams?

  31. 31
    kickpleat   December 27, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Sky, I’ve edited the recipe. 1 square is 28 grams.

  32. 32
    Olivia   December 1, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    Will these work out with buttering the pan instead of using parchment? I want to make them tomorrow!

  33. 33
    kickpleat   December 1, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    Hi Oliva, yes these will work by just buttering the pan. Enjoy!

  34. 34
    Jodie Lynn   May 18, 2020 at 11:38 am

    I’ve made these twice now and my family loves them! Personally, I think that they are the very best brownies I’ve ever eaten. Thank you so very much…I’m going to share them with my friends and family members and maybe even with my readers on my site: — unless that’s not acceptable with you. Just let me know.

    Of course, you would get credit as well as link to your site.

  35. 35
    kickpleat   May 18, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    Of course, Jodie Lynn! So glad you enjoy them. Please just add a link back, thanks!

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